Funny Face (1957)

Funncy face poster

 

Genre: Musical

Description:
Fashion photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) is on a quest to find a new model, when he runs into bookstore clerk Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn). He takes her to Paris and transforms her into the newest supermodel. But it does not take long for Dick to fall in love with his new discovery.

Cast:
Audrey Hepburn                       –                     Jo Stockton
Fred Astaire                          –                     Dick Avery
Kay Thompson                           –                     Maggie Prescott
Michel Auclair                         –                     Prof. Emile Flostre
Robert Flemyng                        –                     Paul Duval
Dovima                                 –                     Marion

The original trailer:

 Facts:    

–          Although the title and some of the songs are taken from the 1927 Broadway musical Funny Face, the plot is completely different. Actually, the plot was taken from yet another Broadway musical: Wedding Bells.

–          Dancer/actress Cyd Charisse was offered the part of Jo Stockton first, but she declined.

–          The character of Dick Avery is based on famous fashion photographer Richard Avedon. Avedon even did most of the photography for the film, including the famous face portrait of Audrey Hepburn that is unveiled in the dark room sequence.

–          The character of Jo Stockton is inspired by Suzy Parker. She has a small cameo in the film in the Think Pink sequence.

–          Audrey Hepburn would not take this role, unless Fred Astaire was cast as her co-star. When this happened, she turned down the lead in Gigi to star in Funny Face.

–          Audrey Hepburn had had extensive dance training when she was younger and had always wanted to be a ballerina. This was the first and only film of hers where she could finally use her dancing skills.

–          Ditzy model Marion is actually played by real-life model Dovima, one of the top models at the time who often worked with Richard Avedon.

–          Shooting Funny Face was a family affair for Audrey Hepburn. Her mother had a walk on part, her dog is also seen in the film and her husband Mel Ferrer was shooting a film in Paris at the same time as well.

–          At 58, Fred Astaire was three decades older then co-star Audrey Hepburn.

–          Funny Face was reportedly Audrey Hepburn’s favorite of all her films.

Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face

 

Awards:

Nominations:

Best Writing – Leonard Gershe – 1958 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Costume Design – Ediths Head and Hubert de Givenchy – 1958 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Cinematography – Ray June – 1958 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Art Direction – Hal Pereira, George W. Davis a.o – 1958 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Outstanding Directorial Achievement – Stanley Donen – 1958 Directors Guild of America
Best Written American Musical – Leonard Gershe – 1958 Writers Guild of America

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face

 

Influence:

Although Funny Face was initially a box-office disappointment, the studio reissued it in theatres in 1964 to follow the success of My Fair Lady. Crowds of Audrey Hepburn fans went to see it and it finally made a huge profit. Today it is most famous for being one of the most fashionable films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Since Funny Face is loosely based on the real fashion industry, had the cooperation of big names like Richard Avedon and was filled with clothes by Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy, it truly deserves its fashionable reputation. Some of Audrey Hepburn’s most famous pictures and looks are from Funny Face.
The storyline may be lighthearted, but it’s the casting of two of Hollywood’s greatest stars, Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire, that brings the film to another level. These two beloved icons loved working together and it shows. Plus: Audrey Hepburn finally gets to show off her dancing skills in this musical. But, most notably, the feel-good factor of Funny Face is undeniable.




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