Funny Face: Centennial Collection — 2-Disc Directed by: Stanley Donen Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson Time: 1 hr 30 min Rating: Not Rated
Plot: While looking for the new, fresh face of Quality Magazine, a photographer (Astaire) and the magazine’s publisher (Thompson) discover a hidden beauty in a reticent bookstore clerk (Hepburn).
Who’s It For? Anyone who loves Gershwin musicals and Audrey Hepburn fanatics.
Movie: It’s Audrey Hepburn, folks—you could roll her in grime and dip her in dirty feathers and she’d still be an unrivaled phenomenon. And if that wasn’t enough, her charisma in this film is off the charts. She is daring and sweet and absolutely fearless: watching Hepburn contort and boogie her way through a strange, modern dance routine in a smoky Parisian café is absolutely astounding; I cannot picture any movie star today who would be willing to be so unfettered on camera. And she’s still one of the most gorgeous butterflies that ever flitted across the screen.
The songs are catchy and wonderful and the dancing is great fun. A duet between Thompson and Hepburn is especially quirky and winsome and makes you wish you could actually befriend these people. Of course, it’s maddening that Hepburn is supposedly this awkward girl who is then magically transformed into a Parisian model (sorry, people—a scruffy sweater-vest doesn’t morph Hepburn into a frump), but if you can stop rolling your eyes at that, the movie is a joy.
Movie Score: 9/10
Kay Thompson “Think Pink”: A look into the eccentric life of the brilliant and talented Kay Thompson. It’s unfortunate that Thompson is largely unknown by most people.
This is VistaVision: This was the most enjoyable extra on Disc 2, because it’s amazing to see how far film has come. VistaVision was the answer to combat TV’s draw away from theaters and it was this incredible and awesome new technology. Obviously, nowadays it’s much more quaint than anything else, but the history of improving cinematic technology is always enjoyable.
The Other Extras:
The Fashion Designer and his Muse Fashion Photographers Exposed Parisian Dreams Paramount in the ‘50s—Retrospective Featurette Original Theatrical Trailer Photo Galleries
Extras Score: 7/10
Nevermind that it’s a wee bit pervy that Fred Astaire is kissing Audrey Hepburn when he’s substantially older; and just shake off the scene where a French couple is arguing outside a restaurant before the man just hauls off and whacks her (she collapses gratefully into his arms). If you watch this movie from the perspective of the time, you can easily forgive any social antiquities (at the beginning, the original Quality model is complaining because she’ll be late to pick up her husband’s laundry—eek).
You'll forgive, especially since the movie actually manages to create a character that is far more enlightened than is even remotely possible: Jo only wants to go to Paris to meet a famous philosopher and is incredibly reluctant to go along with the whole goofy, frivolous modeling thing. It’s so hard to believe, it borders on impossible in this day and age of rampant insecurity and the need to be “discovered.” You there! You are the new face of this hugely successful magazine! You’ll be famous in no time!…Thanks, but I’d rather not. I prefer to delve into the intellectual pool of existentialism and experimental thought. Save us Audrey Hepburn! Save us from our less attractive, insecure, and shallow selves!
Final Score: 8/10