Funny Face (50th Anniversary Edition) (1957)

Funny Face DVD“Banish the black, burn the blue, and bury the beige.” – Maggie Prescott, Quality Magazine editor

I thought I would have to wait long for the reason why the color pink is so dominant on the DVD cover. The film’s opening track and dance sequence cleared that up very quickly. You know what else is quick? Editor Maggie Prescott’s (Kay Thompson) ability to make decisions.

In the span of two seconds, Maggie comes up with the idea that the women of America should all wear pink, and that the next magazine issue should be pink as well. In the span of another two seconds, Maggie ships her main photographer Dick (Fred Astaire) and her “yes” women outside of the building for some on-location shots. And once outside, Maggie storms into a random book shop and asserts control over the sole employee, Jo (Audrey Hepburn).

Immediately Hepburn is the right shoe to Maggie’s left. Jo’s black outfit drastically clashes with the colorful and bright Maggie and her assistants. To Jo’s credit, she does try to fight back with philosophical rhymes and democratic reasons, but Maggie is too cold to notice.

But Dick notices Jo, and convinces Maggie to use Jo as the new magazine’s cover girl. Maggie calls the new cover girl “dreadful” while Dick claims she has “character, spirit, and intelligence.” And anyone who knows and recites the theory of empathicalism has to at least be somewhat intelligent.

Funny Face is as much an ode to Paris as it is about the importance of individuality and integrity. Do you think that crazy and weird dance sequence that Jo does in the nightclub could be seen anywhere else but Paris? There are many locales, like the Eiffel Tower, that are showcased throughout the movie, especially during the photo shoots. And it is during a wedding day shoot that the two finally declare their love for each other.

Funny FaceWhile that love story is touching, the real heart of Funny Face — the real heart of all musicals — are the song and dance sequences. Every one is unique. The most amusing is the monkey-see-monkey-do number with Jo mimicking Maggie as a means of answering all the countless meaningless questions that the invited reporters will ask the new cover girl. And in that scene you can see why Hepburn was so beloved as she has this incredible carefree can-do-anything presence that makes her irresistibly cute. And Astaire is no slouch either, being his usual charming and suave self.

Special Features

There’s an eight-minute featurette on the relationships between Audrey Hepburn and her favorite fashion designers like Hubert de Givenchy.

There’s also a featurette called “Parisian Dreams” about the impact that the city of Paris had on the movie. The city’s famous monuments are not just buildings, but actual characters in Funny Face. The extra also examines the film’s experimental use of color. On one photo shoot in the movie, Jo is carrying some balloons on a dreary and rainy day. Everything else is gray, except the balloons and Jo and Dick. The color was added in post-production to highlight the excitement that the ordinary person would have in Paris.

The last two extras are a Paramount Pictures promotional retrospective on the studio’s films in the '50s, from classics such as Sunset Boulevard to The Ten Commandments, and a photo gallery with many pictures from the set and film of Funny Face.

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