Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
In 1930, in Belgium, Gabrielle van der Mal is the stubborn daughter of the prominent surgeon Dr. Pascin Van Der Mal that decides to leave her the upper-class family to enter to a convent, ... See full summary »
Fashion photographer Dick Avery, in search for an intellectual backdrop for an air-headed model, expropriates a Greenwich Village bookstore. When the photo session is over the store is left in a shambles, much to salesgirl Jo Stockton's dismay. Avery stays behind to help her clean up. Later, he examines the photos taken there and sees Jo in the background of one shot. He is intrigued by her unique appearance, as is Maggie Prescott, the editor of a leading fashion magazine. They offer Jo a modeling contract, which she reluctantly accepts only because it includes a trip to Paris. Eventually, her snobbish attitude toward the job softens, and Jo begins to enjoy the work and the company of her handsome photographer. Written by
Stanley Donen's "Funny Face" was one of the best musicals that came out of Paramount, a studio not known for that genre. The DVD format we watched recently seems to have been transferred with great care as the colors have a vibrant look, something that wasn't the case with the technique used during that era that made colors fade.
The film owes its appeal to Audrey Hepburn, an actress not known for being a singer, or a dancer, but who had enough charm to make the movie her own. The pairing with the great Fred Astaire pays off well because Mr. Astaire was always an actor who had enough chemistry with his leading ladies. Ms. Hepburn's costumes by Givenchy and the way she carries herself in them is one of the best assets about "Funny Face".
The other surprise of the movie is Kay Thompson, who plays the magazine editor Maggie Prescott. Ms. Thompson makes an excellent contribution to the film as the no nonsense woman who ruled what the fashions of the day should be as shown in the pages of the magazine.
The songs of George Gershwin are complimented by the original music composed for the musical by Roger Edens, Adolph Deutsch and Leonard Gershe. The great cinematography of Ray June shows Paris at its best. Thanks to Stanley Donen all the elements feel into place and we were left with this musical that will delight audiences forever.
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