This 1957 film starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire is as gorgeously romantic as it is a loving tribute to the world of fashion.
From capturing the sights of Paris to the timeless songs of George and Ira Gershwin, this gorgeous sounding and looking musical is a wistful and classic Hollywood musical with a high quality cast.
Directed by Stanley Donen, Funny Face follows the story of shy book seller Jo Stockton who suddenly finds herself at the centre of attention when photographer Dick Avery decides she would make for a great model for an upcoming trip to Paris. Filled with glamorous outfits, classy choreography and overall dreamy atmosphere this is an elegant and enjoyable film.
At the centre of the film are some brilliant dance sequences and Director Stanley Donen (who was also a choreographer) frames and films them to perfection as Audrey Hepburn dances to ‘Basal Metabolism’ in a Parisian cafe and Fred Astaire’s solo sequence during ‘Let’s Kiss and Make Up’. The quality of the choreography is of course down to Fred Astaire and Eugene Loring, whose sequences add to the quality of the film.
There is a dreamy and romantic quality throughout this film, that is captured beautifully in the scenes by the church and river. The softness in the colours actually really enhance the tenderness that grows between Dick and Jo and feels somehow natural. The only segment that perhaps doesn’t work is the scene at Emile Floster’s (the philosopher who Jo admires) home and the song ‘Clap Yo’ Hands’ which feels a bit clunky.
On the other hand, this is certainly a film to watch if you have a love of fashion. While the majority costumes were by Edith Head, the Paris collection worn by Audrey Hepburn’s character Jo was of course designed by Hubert de Givenchy, whose stunning outfits highlight and capture the fashion elements to the highest quality – making the scenes in which Dick is taking her photographs a real highlight.
Audrey Hepburn as Jo is wonderful watch as she allows her character to gently bloom and increase in confidence. Vocally perhaps she isn’t the strongest (something that she admitted herself) but actually there is a quiet wistfulness and yearning in her voice that really works well for ‘How Long Has This Been Going On’ . Meanwhile, Fred Astaire is his charming and somewhat playful self as photographer Dick Avery. Kay Thompson also makes a great impression as fashion magazine editor straight laced and honest, yet also warm and funny in all the right places.
Overall, funny Face is a charming and classy Hollywood musical that is thoroughly enjoyable to watch from start to finish.
By Emma Clarendon
To buy Funny Face on DVD, visit Amazon.