Sunday, October 21, 2012

1957 - FUNNY FACE, 50's musical with a lot of style probably too much style.

Fred Astaire is the fashion photographer based on Richard Avedon.  Audrey Hepburn is the intellectual book seller who Astaire discovers and turns into a top fashion model.  The songs are by George and Ira Gershwin, Stanley Donen directed and the film was shot in Vista Vision so it looks great.

However MGM was the studio of origin for this musical but ended up selling the whole package to Paramount, apparently they had little faith in the film.

Astaire is almost 60 years old but still has a lot of grace when he dances.  Hepburn was not a trained dancer but had studied ballet and appeared in some stage musicals so she was able to fake it pretty well.  The film also stars Kay Thompson who was a vocal coach and arranger for MGM during it's musical hey day.  Kay Thompson was a big deal at MGM since she was involved in a lot of their musicals and probably was as influential behind the scenes as a Vincent Minnelli, Roger Edens or Arthur Freed.

Funny Face has a lot of good things about it, but like almost every musical from the 1950's it's always one too many songs and one too many dance numbers.  Stanley Donen's skill as a director keeps it watchable but it finally wears out it's welcome about halfway through the film

103 minutes.

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