FUNNY FACE (1957) C 103m widescreen dir: Stanley Donen
w/Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson, Michel Auclair, Robert Flemyng, Dovima, Virginia Gibson, Suzy Parker, Sunny Harnett, Don Powell
From The Movie Guide: "A film crucial to understanding Hepburn's glorious gamine appeal and one of Astaire's best musicals of the 1950s. A satire of both the fashion world and the fashionable pretensions of beatnik life and existentialism, FUNNY FACE concerns the May-December romance between Greenwich Village bookseller Jo Stockton (Hepburn) and Madison Avenue fashion photographer Dick Avery (Astaire). Dick discovers the sweet, young Jo and plays Henry Higgins to her Eliza, turning her into a top model in Paris.
"That's all that need be said about the story, since the film exists only for its glamorous visuals, gorgeous Gershwin music, and the dancing choreographed by Astaire and Eugene Loring. Thompson, in a fabulous turn as a fashion editor, commands her underlings to 'Think Pink' and the screen bursts with pink furniture, pink toothpaste and pink pets. 'Bonjour Paris' is a whirlwind tour of the city, and 'He Loves and She Loves' is a soft-focus fairy tale romance. Hepburn, who does remarkably well singing 'How Long Has This Been Going On?' in her own voice, is exquisitely appealing and the byplay between her and the mellow, supple Astaire is enchanting.
"As a dancer, Hepburn manages quite well in a satiric cafe number with two fellow mods, but shows her limitations in a climactic duet with Astaire set in the woods. (Maybe she had trouble with her heels in all that grass.) [This last supposition is nearly correct. FilmFrog was present in Berkeley, California, in the late 1970s when Donen was honored by the Pacific Film Archive. From the stage of the Wheeler Auditorium, Donen commented on Hepburn's dancing in that number. Hepburn was indeed struggling during the dance because of the mud into which her high heels sank with every step she took. This is quite evident in the finished film, at least when it's viewed on a theatrical-sized screen.] Astaire, meanwhile, displays his uncanny way with a song and enjoys one angular solo dance with his raincoat and umbrella. Real-life model superstars Suzy Parker and Dovima appear, but the most unforgettable fashion moment features Hepburn at her most 'Givenchy' descending a flight of stairs in a stunning red gown. Beautifully helmed by Donen."
The film was nominated for Oscars for Best Original Screenplay (Leonard Gershe), Cinematography (Ray June), Art Direction (Hal Pereira, George W. Davis & Ray Moyer), and Costume Design (Edith Head & Hubert DeGivenchy).