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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For worlds I'd not replace
Audrey Hepburn as a dowdy, shy little bookworm obsessed with philosophy to the point of excluding all else? Say it's not so.

But such is the legendary actress' role at the start of "Funny Face," an endearingly frothy little musical that spends equal time exploring the nightlife of 1950s Paris and a sparkly, sunny version of the fashion industry. Hepburn and...
Published on 10 Oct 2008 by E. A Solinas

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars funny Movie?
For me the Gershwin score is what makes this film and the magnetic performance by Fred Astair as a photographer. Audrey Hepburn looks great even when she is made to look dowdy!

The story is a bit thin but entertaining. One for the fans.
Published on 6 Aug 2012 by Sammy Spink-Bottle


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For worlds I'd not replace, 10 Oct 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funny Face [DVD] (DVD)
Audrey Hepburn as a dowdy, shy little bookworm obsessed with philosophy to the point of excluding all else? Say it's not so.

But such is the legendary actress' role at the start of "Funny Face," an endearingly frothy little musical that spends equal time exploring the nightlife of 1950s Paris and a sparkly, sunny version of the fashion industry. Hepburn and Fred Astaire are the ones who really make the story shine, with plenty of song-and-dance numbers and a quirky, slightly sardonic little romance. It's never a deep story, but it's always a charming one.

Dissatisfied with the latest edition of Quality fashion magazine, publisher/editor Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) decides to splash the world with the Next Big Trend: think pink. Cue musical number.

She also decides to add an intellectual bent to the fashion world ("Marion, dear, what are you reading?" "Minute Men from Mars!"), and temporarily takes over a boho bookstore for a suitable backdrop, much to the dismay of the owner Jo (Hepburn). Photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) is struck by Jo's earnestness and unique "funny face," and convinces Maggie to make her their new star model -- supposedly a woman who embodies intellect as well as chic fashion.

Jo doesn't like fashion ("It is chichi, and an unrealistic approach to self-impressions as well as economics!") agrees because she wants to meet her favorite philosopher in Paris, and immerse herself into the bohemian nightlife. But she's slowly growing to love her modeling career -- and Dick as well. But when Jo encounters the eminent Professor Flostre, her budding relationship with Dick is disrupted -- can fashion and philosophy find true love, or are their differences too much?

"Funny Face" is loosely based on an old stage musical -- and by "loosely based," I mean they borrowed a few songs from it and crafted a whole new plot. Fortunately this doesn't keep the movie from being vastly entertaining -- it's a big frothy creampuff of a musical, where you can guess the ending and all the plot twists far in advance, but somehow it just doesn't matter because it's such fun, and the romance is so sweet despite Astaire and Hepburn's chasmic age gap.

Part of the movie's charm is the glamourized views of Paris -- it's all romantic hotels, dramatic photo shoots ("Take the picture, TAKE THE PICTURE!"), idyllic wedding chapels and quirky little nightclubs. And it has a lot of dry humour ("Every girl on every page of Quality has grace, elegance, and pizzazz. Now what's wrong with bringing out a girl who has character, spirit, and intelligence?" "That certainly would be novel in a fashion magazine") and not-so-subtle spoofery of the pretentions both of bohemians and of the fashion elite. And boy is that fun.

It's also graced with a bunch of delightful musical numbers -- the over-the-top "Think Pink," the sweet "'s Wonderful," the adorably quirky titular song, and the exuberant "Bonjour Paris!" Hepburn in particular shines in two of these numbers -- she sings a fragile little ballad called "How Long Has This Been Going On?" in the ruined bookshop, and does a wildly kooky "Basal Metabolism" dance number in a bohemian bistro -- it's incredibly different from everything else in the movie.

In fact, Hepburn shines in pretty much every part of this movie, and while playing a character that could have easily been annoying -- earnest, naive, rather snobbish, and idealiastically devoted to any and all "isms" -- while Astaire serves as a counterbalance, playing a photographer who is just jaded enough to see the absurdity all around him. And Thompson is a real scene-stealer as the fashion queen who seems to think that Quality Magazine keeps the whole modern world afloat.

"Funny Face" is indeed funny. It's also sweet, charming, romantic, and "'s wonderful" -- a cute little musical filled with stunningly gorgeous clothes and a bit of wicked satire. Definitely worth checking out.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars S'Wonderful, 15 Aug 2005
This review is from: Funny Face [VHS] (1957) (VHS Tape)
Audrey Hepburn does indeed fill the air with smiles in Stanley Donen's exquisite and happy film about a shy book clerk in New York who is transformed into the toast of the Paris fashion world. George and Ira Gershwin wrote some of their best songs for the film and a few additional numbers were contributed by Roger Edens and Leonard Gershe, who also wrote the delightful story. The premise is quite frivilous but the execution glorious and joyful and it is easy to see why this was Audrey's favorite among all her films.
Fred Astaire is winning as fashion photographer Dick Avery and Kay Thompson is marvelous as Miss Prescott, the one-track mind owner of Quality Magazine he works for. Hepburn is adorable as the shy New York bookstore clerk, Jo Stockton. They bully her into letting them do a photo shoot, making a mess off things for her to clean up. From the moment Donen's camera catches her sliding on the ladder in panic we are in love and we know it won't be long before Jo and Dick are also.
Jo is a shy intellectual, mad about empathicalism, a screwy philosophy endorsed by Professor Emile Flustre (Michel Auclair) who, of course, lives in Paris. Once Dick displays his own brand of empathy by kissing Jo while they are cleaning up, he gets an idea for a new layout and the seed of love is planted in Jo's heart. Donen captures Hepburn's child-like yet feminine grace like no one else ever has and her wistful and waif-like beauty has never been seen to better advantage than in Funny Face.
Making Jo the face for Quality magazine may not be such an easy task, however, as it goes against everything she believes. Being chased by Miss Prescott's minions, Jo ducks into Dick's darkroom, where she and Dick share a lovely song and dance moment to the title-tune, Funny Face. Once Jo discovers it will all lead to Paris, where she can meet the great empathicalist, Emile, she gives the green light and the fun really begins.
Stanley Donen staged every song himself, and it shows. That moment that nearly always exists in every musical, even the great ones, when we are tempted to fast-forward and get on with the story, simply does not exist here. Every number is lively and imaginative, easily holding our interest. None of the numbers is more joyful or fun than the one when they first arrive in Paris and become typical tourists. Ray June's photography shows off the beautiful City of Lights and the funny and happy face of Audrey Hepburn in wonderful fashion.
It is like watching a great chef make the sweetest and most delicious of pastries as Dick takes Jo through one great shoot after another all over Paris, transforming the cocoon into a butterfly. The two share a lovely song sequence in a garden with a brook outside a church, when Jo finally tells Dick she is in love with him. Hepburn in a white wedding gown is as elegant and graceful as the doves and swans surrounding them.
There are some fun complications involving Jo's idol Emile, of course, who Dick knows is more man than philosopher. A fun and frantic ending caps a film that is a sheer delight from beginning to end. Astaire was somewhat older than Hepburn and it seems to work in the film's favor, as you could see where the innocent Jo would need a more worldly man to appreciate her charms rather than take advantage of them.
This is a wonderful confection from Stanley Donen, who would work with Audrey once again in another classic, Charade. The little girl from Holland who aided the Dutch resistence during WWII grew into one of the most lovely and luminous stars ever to grace a movie screen. She is gone now and Funny Face is a wonderful way to remember her......
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny Face, 7 July 2009
By 
Mr. A. V. Buchan "A Buchan" (Devon UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funny Face [DVD] (DVD)
This film is based on the life and work of Richard Avedon, (Dick Avery) famous fashion photographer, who's work graced the pages of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue in the fifties. He advised on the film and supplied the photographs used in the film.
The character of Miss Prescott is believed to be based on Diana Vreeland who was fashion editor for Harper's Bazaar in the fifties.
Fifties fashion icon Dovima has a small part in the film. (Marion) The bit in the film were she is reading a comic book is based on fact, when she went to Egypt with Richard Avedon on a photo shoot, she took with her a suitcase full of comics.
Fifties supermodels Suzy Parker and Sunny Harnett also have small parts in the film. Dovima, Suzy Parker and Sunny Harnett were constantly on the pages of Harper's and Vogue in the fifties.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the most part, a charming excursion into the world of high style with Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson, 7 Jan 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funny Face [1957] [DVD] (DVD)
For the first not-quite-half of Stanley Donen's Funny Face we are in the midst of a stylish, high-fashion fairy tale, populated by the likes of Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn and Kay Thompson, and transported along by some fine George and Ira Gershwin songs. For the second half, some of the effervescence loses its fizz...all that boy-loses-girl, boy-wins-girl-back stuff, combined with some unfunny, dated riffs on beatniks and Hollywood's version of Sartre. Still, Funny Face has much in its favor, and to my way of thinking is the best of the Astaire movies he made following The Band Wagon.

Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson), relentless force of nature and editor of the high fashion magazine Quality, is determined to find a new look. Her top fashion photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) thinks he's found just the person, a mousy little bookseller they encountered during a fashion shoot in Greenwich Village. But Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn) is having none of it. Jo is a devotee of empathecalism, thinks fashion is ridiculous and wants nothing more than to read books, dress sensibly and go to Paris to meet her guru. It's not long before they're all in Paris...Maggie with her expansive ideas for the magazine with Jo as the new woman, Jo reluctantly agreeing to model so she can get to Paris, and Dick photographing Jo in some stunning creations (designed for Hepburn by Givenchy). After some songs, some dances, some arguments and some kisses, a reasonably believable Autumn/Spring romance between Astaire and Hepburn sends them dancing into the countryside to S'Wonderful. We exit smiling.

Funny Face glows with style. The Avery character was based on high-fashion photographer Richard Avedon (who also is noted for serious photo collections). Avedon was a consultant on the movie, and his sense of color and composition, and how to present high fashion permeates the place. Style was also one of Astaire's noted gifts, as it was with Kay Thompson. And Hepburn isn't far behind. The three of them give a fine gloss to a simple story. Their skills as performers and personalities make the musical numbers, for the most part, special. Among the high points:

--Think Pink, a specialty number for Thompson by Roger Edens and Leonard Gershe. It's bright and funny, and introduces us to Maggie Prescott, the magazine and the world of high fashion. It sets the tone of the movie.

--How Long Has This Been Going On is sung without ornamentation by Hepburn. She's a competent singer.

--Funny Face, perhaps the highlight of the movie. Even though we've had to wait almost 30 minutes to get to Astaire doing his stuff, it's worth it. Astaire sings to Hepburn in a darkroom while he takes her picture, blows it up and develops it. Hepburn thinks her face is "funny;" Astaire thinks it's extraordinary.

"I love your funny face,

Your sunny, funny face.

For you're a cutie

With more than beautie.

You've got a lot of

per-son-a-li-ty N.T.

You fill the air with smiles

For miles and miles and miles.

Though you're no Mona Lisa,

For worlds I'd not replace

Your sunny, funny face."

After we see the print, a tight, soft close-up of her features, we know Astaire's right. The song and its delivery has everything we expect of Astaire and includes a nice, not-too-demanding dance with Hepburn that's light and graceful.

--Lets Kiss and Make Up. This clever Gershwin song sung by Astaire to Hepburn moves into an extended dance routine where he once again demonstrates he can make excellent dance partners of inanimate objects, in this case his umbrella and his topcoat.

--He Loves and She Loves. A sweet and graceful declaration of love sung by Astaire and danced by the two of them outside a country church. It's filmed with a soft focus which some may appreciate and others find irritating.

The only real stinker is a humorless send-up of beatniks sung and danced by Astaire and Thompson to the Gershwin's Clap Yo' Hands. The routine probably was dated when it was filmed.

And even if you don't much care for high fashion (I'm one of those) and even if your heart doesn't beat all that faster for Audrey Hepburn (mine doesn't skip too many beats), the combination of Hepburn's face, Givenchy's gowns and Avedon's photography are in a different kind of reality. Hepburn taking a pose in a green silk gown with her hair pulled back and that neck as long and graceful as a swan's is stunning. Hepburn in a red gown with a long red scarf flowing behind her as she lightly runs down the stone steps in the Louvre with the Winged Victory of Samothrace framing her descent is unforgettable.

And here's to Kay Thompson, one of the most vivid and stylish of creatures. She only made two or three movies but had a long career as vocal arranger, voice coach, singer, nightclub entertainer, songwriter and author (all those books about Eloise and the Plaza). She was a great and true friend of Judy Garland's and was Liza Minnelli's godmother. In Thompson's last years when she was frail and ill, Minnelli moved her into Minnelli's New York apartment and oversaw her care until Thompson died.

The DVD transfer looks good. There are no extras to speak of, just a photo gallery, a movie trailer and a puff-piece featurette called Paramount in the 1950's, largely a collection of brief snips from Paramount movies.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Look musical, 22 Nov 2003
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This review is from: Funny Face [1957] [DVD] (DVD)
Although first impressions may suggest this is a slight offering, "Funny Face" holds up as one of the best fifties musicals on repeated viewing. Inspired by the chic fashion world of renowned photographer Richard Avedon and Dior's new look, Audrey Hepburn plays Jo, a drab Greenwich Village bookshop assistant and philosophy student who is spotted by Astaire's photographer as the ideal new face for the cover of "Quality" magazine. Before she knows it, Hepburn has been whisked off to Paris for fashion fittings and photos, with the proviso that she can also attend some philosophy lectures with a renowned exponent of "Empathicalism".
The Parisian scenes are pure tourist chocolate box and none the worse for it - especially when Astaire gets to dance an impromptu Spanish routine under Hepburn's balcony. Thanks to the DVD release, we're now able to see all three leads in the split screen sequence where they explore Paris. Kay Thompson is a vital force as Maggie, the editor of Quality magazine, who commands "Think Pink" at the start of the show. Hepburn can't really sing but boy does she dance well in a Parisian beatnik bar! Other excellent Gershwin songs such as the title song, "S'Wonderful" and "Ring dem Bells" (the latter a great comic routine for Dick and Maggie as they infiltrate the philosopher's salon disguised as Florida spiritualists) all conspire to make this as effervescent as pink champagne. I think it eclipses Astaire's "The Bandwagon" from the same period, which was largely based around two songs, "Thats Entertainment" and "Triplets". Sure, its hard to believe Hepburn would fall for Astaire, given the age gap, but I thought musicals were all about suspension of disbelief anyway! Treat yourself and check this little gem out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite 50s Film!, 16 Dec 2009
By 
A. Luker "Fashion_ista" (Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funny Face [Special Edition] [DVD] [1957] (DVD)
OR possibly my favourite film ever! Audrey Hepburn is one of the most talented actresses in history and you can certainly see this shine through in this amazing film! She can sing and express unique charisma as well as being a true fashion icon in this era. I can understand this film is not for everyone however if you are interested in Audrey Hepburn, fashion and the 50s era then im sure you will love it! Funny Face really is a true projection of the passion which was so prevailant in the 1950s.

One final word...If your not sure if you will like it then just watch it for the clothes!! They are amazing-Especially the Givenchy dresses. I feel so uplifted every time I watch this film :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fashion on Blu Ray, 7 Dec 2013
By 
Peter Andronas "Petros" (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review focuses on the blu ray version of Funny Face. I've owned Funny Face on VHS for years and then on DVD which was a disappointment. The quality of the DVD was awful, especially the scene at the small church in France where Astaire dances with Audrey in her wedding dress. On Blu Ray that scene looks way better and sharper but suffers from a lack of better source material. But there are so many other scenes that look tremendous! The New York bookstore fashion shoot is a masterfully lit scene with amazing depth of field, which I never noticed before in other versions. Also the first scene in an office with the fashion magazine editor are outstanding as well; the colours pop like cotton candy! Other fantastic scenes which show great depth, colour and sharpness on Blu Ray are the Paris exteriors, the club scene when Audrey Hepburn dances like Michael Jackson in white socks or vice-versa; I would think. And of course the fashion sequences throughout, look amazing!. Funny Face doesn't seem just funny anymore, it's also serious film making.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars S' Wonderful, S' Marvellous, 10 July 2012
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This review is from: Funny Face [DVD] (DVD)
A very enjoyable family film very entertaining to watch Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire team up and bring their luminous starpower to this exquisit musical featuring songs by George and Ira Gershwin.
wayne
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Love Your Sunny, Funny Face..., 3 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Funny Face [Special Edition] [DVD] [1957] (DVD)
Done in typical Hollywood 50's style, Funny Face is the story of a bookshop clerk (Audrey Hepburn) with a love for all things philosophical who happens to have a 'funny face'. She is discovered by a world-famous fashion photographer (wonderful Fred Astaire) who loves her 'sunny funny face' and thinks that she could be the biggest thing in fashion. He convinces his magazine editor (Kay Thompson) to take a chance on the girl, and bribing Hepburn with the chance to meet her philosophy lecturer idol, they whisk her off to the most fashionable city in the world - Paris!!

It was called by one reviewer 'a delightful mixture of intelligence and froth' which is exactly what it is. It's sheer entertainment like we don't have in today's cinema, with no pretence, just fun.

Audrey Hepburn is lovely as usual, and really gets to show off her dancing talent in the classic 'Basal Metabollism' sequence. She looks amazing in the Givenchy/Edith Head fashion of the day, the entire movie plays like a huge fashion show for her (which is always a plus).
Fred Astaire is charming and proves that he can still dance up a storm and croon a song even if the age difference between him and Hepburn is slightly unbelievable. But he charms you into forgetting all that.
Kay Thompson was really great as the magazine editor, loud and brassy and very funny.

The songs are Gershwin classics and are performed excellently by the entire cast. Audrey Hepburn charms her way through 'How Long Has This Been Going On?', Fred Astaire sings 'He Loves, She Loves' and dances another of his classic routines to the title song 'Funny Face'. And Kay Thompson gets to belt out 'Think Pink'.

But the most stunning aspect of this film really is the picture quality and technicolour. I have honestly never seen a better looking technicolour film. It's utterly beautiful and hasn't aged a single bit, from the dance to Funny Face in the developing room with only red lighting, to the underground cafe' in Paris lit by multicoloured lights.

A really nice, entertaining movie that is a rightful classic.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu Ray Review!, 11 Sep 2013
By 
Chinatown Blue "cthulhoid" (S-O-T, UK) - See all my reviews
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I don't need to comment about the actual film much here - it's a lightweight musical, not one of Fred's best films (or Audrey's, for that matter), but it has some fun numbers and Audrey gets to show off her ballet skills here and there. If you like traditional, romantic musicals this is a pretty enjoyable one. What I will focus on is the blu ray edition as released in the UK. It is open region, played fine on my European blu ray player. It is a really basic release, absolutely no extras or frills of any kind. The picture transfer is excellent; the colours are vibrant, the detail in each scene outstanding. The sound is not so impressive, though, I had to crank the volume up much higher than normal to get the dialogue and the quality was decidedly fuzzy here and there. Which is a shame, since you would have thought that for a musical they would have made more effort to clean up the sound. Still, it's a pleasant watch and the visuals are vastly improved on previous dvd releases.
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Funny Face [Special Edition] [DVD] [1957]
Funny Face [Special Edition] [DVD] [1957] by Stanley Donen (DVD - 2009)
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