Stephen Speicher

Funny Face (1957)

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10 posts in this topic

I love this movie. It is sweet, innocent, and beautiful. Just like Audrey Hepburn. And Fred Astaire is ... well, Fred Astaire. In a class of his own.

It happens to be playing tonight at the New Beverly theater in Los Angeles, along with Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I like Funny Face, but I'm not crazy about it. It's a lot of fun, and Audrey is just so pleasing to watch, but I can't stand that beatnik dance scene, the one that the latest GAP ads stole. I also like Kay Thomson, who's really funny, and Astaire is incomparable, as usual.

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I love Funny Face! B)

If you want to watch a great song and dance Fred Astaire movie, this isn't the one to watch. I love Fred, but I can't say I'm a fan of any of the dance numbers in this movie. And I actually have to fast forward through the bizarre modern dance scene in the cafe (the beatnik one Joel just mentioned).

What I do enjoy about the movie is the story of Jo (Audrey Hepburn) - and her "empathicalist" philosophy. I love watching the transformation she goes through from being a repressed little philosopher to falling in love and becoming a beautiful woman.

What I generally love about Fred and Ginger movies is the song and dance - and the story line is just incidental. Interestingly, with this movie, that is reversed for me.

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Just came back from seeing Funny Face at the New Beverly here in LA and I have to say that I liked the movie a lot more than my memory of it.

It's the old Ugly Duckling story, sort of a 1950's version of The Devil Wears Prada. And of course, Audrey Hepburn is so good as the duckling who becomes a swan (even though she's fairly swan-like before her transformation).

What I had forgotten is that it was directed by Stanley Donen, who directed Audrey Hepburn in Charade and Two for the Road, but more famously was the director of Singin' in the Rain, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Every time I see one of Donen's movies, I'm always struck by how thoroughly American he is, in the best way. He's optimistic and down to earth, full of vibrant, vivacious life. He's wise and cheerful and loves to mock phoniness.

And what I had really forgotten about Funny Face is how, while it was a movie that loved Paris, the city, it was also a movie that loved to mock the French. Seriously. Some of the anti-french zingers in this movie had me laughing out loud in the middle of the theater.

The Astaire/Hepburn romance was still a little awkward (he could have been her grandfather), but it was still a sweet, surprisingly witty movie, and a lot better than I remembered.

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Just came back from seeing Funny Face at the New Beverly here in LA and I have to say that I liked the movie a lot more than my memory of it.

A 1950s movie in an art theater late on a Saturday night -- a definite sign of a true film-lover! B)

One thing not mentioned about about Funny Face is that it was based on a 1920s broadway musical by George and Ira Gershwin. The film culled music from the original version as well as other Gershwin works.

Regarding SCS's comment of Fred Astaire, he had made so many of his movies in the 1930s and 1940s, and he was 60 years old at the time of this film. His grace and his poise continued for two more decades, but he had peaked as far as his most active dancing was concerned. Yet, I do remember him dancing as late as 1968 on a TV show along with Barrie Chase, and I remained enthralled with him even then.

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Regarding SCS's comment of Fred Astaire, he had made so many of his movies in the 1930s and 1940s, and he was 60 years old at the time of this film. His grace and his poise continued for two more decades, but he had peaked as far as his most active dancing was concerned. Yet, I do remember him dancing as late as 1968 on a TV show along with Barrie Chase, and I remained enthralled with him even then.

While it's true that Fred Astaire was past his prime by the time Funny Face came around, there were a few numbers that still take your breathe away. That mock bullfight he stages in the courtyard of Audrey Hepburn's hotel reminded me a little of Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain. It still had Astaire's elegant style but was also athletic and masculine, like a Gene Kelly dance. Of course, the number wasn't continuous and had to be broken up into four or five cuts. In the old days, he would have shot the whole thing without a break. Pretty good for a 60 year old guy, though.

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Regarding SCS's comment of Fred Astaire, he had made so many of his movies in the 1930s and 1940s, and he was 60 years old at the time of this film. His grace and his poise continued for two more decades, but he had peaked as far as his most active dancing was concerned. Yet, I do remember him dancing as late as 1968 on a TV show along with Barrie Chase, and I remained enthralled with him even then.

While it's true that Fred Astaire was past his prime by the time Funny Face came around, there were a few numbers that still take your breathe away. That mock bullfight he stages in the courtyard of Audrey Hepburn's hotel reminded me a little of Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain. It still had Astaire's elegant style but was also athletic and masculine, like a Gene Kelly dance. Of course, the number wasn't continuous and had to be broken up into four or five cuts. In the old days, he would have shot the whole thing without a break. Pretty good for a 60 year old guy, though.

Pretty good, indeed. I hope what I wrote up above was not taken to put down Fred Astaire's dancing in any way. He has always been one of my great favorites in life, and I have never ever seen a bad performance from him. I was just pointing out that at 60 his "active dancing," that deriving from strength and flexibility, had peaked. But even a decade later, when he was 71, he was still magnificent dancing with Barrie Chase.

I also recall seeing Fred Astaire in television shows in his later years, not dancing but just acting, and he still projected the same grace and poise that he had when he was younger. He even showed up on a Battlestar Galactica episode!

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Although I have not seen this movie I would like to comment on Fred Astaire's toughness and heroism. Why toughness and heroism? Because, in the face of physical discomfort that is bound to come from a life lived to one's fullest potential he still kept going. I applaud this type of heroism as I think he must have known what it was he valued and then accepted the price/cost and achieved his values even through the discomfort.

I lalso ove watching Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly not only for their dance, which is great, but also their enjoyment of life.

Thank you reviewers for your comments and I anxiously await finding the movie and viewing it.

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Not surprisingly, I find myself in agreement with almost everybody else. I loved this movie for the beauty and innocence it brings to life. It's amazing how much more fun falling in love seems in old movies versus new ones.

I got bored with some of the songs, and especially disliked that modern dance scene that Sarah and Joel mentioned. (Though I think it's kind of cool set to AC/DC). However, if I remember right, that song and dance when Fred Astaire is developing Audrey Hepburn's photographs (from which the movie was named) is quite charming.

Interestingly enough, I enjoyed it much more than My Fair Lady.

Overall, I gave it a 9.

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