Showing posts with label classic movie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classic movie. Show all posts

28 February 2014

Film Review - Funny Face (1957)

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Genre:
Musical, Comedy, Romance
Distributor:
Park Circus
Rating: PG
Re-Release Date:
28th February 2014 (UK)
Director:
Stanley Donen
Cast:
Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson


Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn) happily works as an assistant in an obscure New York bookstore. One day a top fashion glossy takes over the shop as the setting for a photo shoot. During the shoot the magazine's editor Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) and her top photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) discover Jo whom they declare as the next 'big thing'! She is then whisked to Paris by the scheming duo, where she not only causes a sensation on the catwalks of the fashion capital but soon becomes the focus of Avery's attention on both sides of the camera.

For those who think cinema's fascination with fashion is a recent phenomena, with films like The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and The September Issue (2009) - think again. Funny Face (1957), the piece of cinematic whimsy directed by Stanley Donen - who made such Hollywood classics as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) - proves that as far back as the 1950s the public was obsessed with the beautiful world inhabited by stick thin models, demanding editors and temperamental photographers. The film shares endless similarities with the real world of fashion, and especially the refined echelons of couture: not surprising considering the character of Maggie Prescott was rumoured to be modelled on Diana Vreeland, the real-life Editrix of fashion bible American Vogue, whilst the inspiration for Astaire's photographer apparently derived from one of the most influential super snappers ever, Richard (Dick) Avedon.

As with the exclusive world of high fashion, Funny Face is one of those rare films which not only transcends fads and passing tastes, but stands out from the rest thanks to its effortless style, wit and sophistication. Hepburn simply fizzes in the role of Jo, the feisty young woman battling with the attentions of Astaire's older, more worldly-wise mentor - a role she would repeat a few years later in My Fair Lady (1964) alongside Rex Harrison.

Like the industry it so wittily sends up, the evergreen Funny Face is beguiling, tasteful and painfully chic. The film's timely rerelease coincides conveniently with the close of the bi-annual fashion circus which has been making its way around the clothing capitals of the world. Few of us will ever get the chance of a ringside seat at these events. However glossy magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar allow people to be a part of these fantasies, vicariously through their pages. Films such as the exquisite Funny Face - where all the ingredients came together in a picture perfect composition - also allow us to share, even if only for a brief time, in this land of adult make-believe.

★★★★★

Cleaver Patterson