Funny Face (1957)

STANLEY DONEN

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5

USA, 1957.  Paramount Pictures.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1957.  Cannes Film Festival 1957.  

Audrey Hepburn rarely looked lovelier than in this gorgeous musical comedy, inspired loosely by the career of photographer Richard Avedon. One of the most beautifully photographed colour films ever made (and oddly enough not directed by Vincente Minnelli), this Stanley Donen charmer stars Fred Astaire as a magazine photographer (a la Avedon) who discovers a waifish Greenwich village bookseller (Hepburn) and turns her into a supermodel. He carts her to Paris as the new face of fashion, though for her the excitement is simply in having the chance to meet a philosopher she has long admired. Pretty soon her lofty ideals clash meanly with the low mental expectations and hard-working ethics of the modeling industry, but thankfully her managing editor (a delicious ) is there to keep her in line. The story isn’t much to admire, not to mention that the romance between a twenty-something Hepburn and a three hundred year-old Astaire is just a bit rich even by Hollywood’s standards, but anyone watching will be too enchanted by the visuals and the lovely music to mind very much. Songs include a whole spate of musical classics, including ”S Wonderful’, ‘How Long Has This Been Going On’ and ‘Bonjour Paris’, highlighted by an excellent dance number that Hepburn performs in a Parisian beatnik bar.

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