FUNNY FACE (1957)
Dir. by Stanley Donen. Pleasant musical with good songs.
Written by Leonard Gershe. Photography, Ray June, John P. Fulton. Music and lyrics, George and Ira Gerswhin. Fred Astaire is fashion photographer , modeled somewhat after the famous Richard Avedon (a consultant on this film), who transforms bookish Audrey Hepburn into fashion model in Paris.
He is helped by Quality magazine editor Kay Thompson, on the lookout for a "quality woman." Astaire and especially Hepburn are not primarily singers, and their dancing is on the cute , very romantic yet stolid side. The crisis, such as it is, comes when Hepburn finally meets a guru, the surprisingly young French philosopher-professor Michel Auclair who peddles "empathycalism" and is revealed --very arbitrarily and sketchily -- to be a phoney and a wolf. The gratuitous anti-intellectualism of much cinema, especially Hollywood's , is deep-rooted, probably because of the nature of people who make movies and in order to pander to the suspicions and prejudices of the masses. The slogan in such cases should be "if you don't understand them, mock them." The movie has impressive color photography but its bucolic sequences in a country park are in needless, cheap soft-focus which, on the TV screen becomes plain fuzzy. Kay Thompson is a delight when this basic vulgarian drops her chic pretenses and does a funny, fast-talking and singing routine , mostly in Southernese and with a bit of dancing, along with Astaire, whom she eclipses.
This is preceded by a mild take-off of the singing style of Edith Piaf or Juliette Greco. The movie may suffer from excessive cuteness and is neither a classic musical nor Astaire's or Hepburn's shiniest hour. But it is overall fairly good and shown in its original widescreen ratio.
Copyright © Edwin Jahiel
Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel