Friday, May 29, 2009

Funny Face (1957)

Funny Face (1957) is one of those movie musicals that recycled a bunch of George and Ira Gershwin songs from various shows, adding a few written for the movie by other songwriters. Fred Astaire plays a Richard Avedon-like fashion photographer and Audrey Hepburn is the shy bookstore clerk and philosophy student whom Astaire "discovers," proposes as the new fashion icon for his magazine employers, and then falls in love with, of course in Paris. Neither the fashion world nor the existential discussions in Left Bank cafes are taken too seriously in this enjoyable movie. Great dancing, of course, and Parisian scenery as well. The most serious plot hole is -- how could anyone fail to recognize Audrey Hepburn's beauty for even a moment, no matter how dowdily she is dressed? An intriguing plus is Kay Thompson's rare on-screen appearance as the magazine editor -- you probably know her better as the author of the Eloise books. Funny Face is a fine light entertainment with good music and a gentle message about looking beyond externals.

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