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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fashion and Fancy
Here we have a story of fashion and romance. Givenchy provides the fashionable clothes. George and Ira Gershwin provide the music to set the scene for romance. Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire provide the romantic intrigue, costarring Kay Thompson for added comic relief. The story takes place in New York City and in Paris on the Seine River in France. These choice...
Published on April 22 2003 by Claude Prevots

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3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars.This Funny Face is still high hat!
The editorial review for this movie states that it was ..."an unproduced play".

This is very misleading.

If memory serves this movie was based on what was to be a Broadway play originally entitled "Wedding Day" but MGM came a calling and bought the rights before it ever reached the stage.When MGM had second thoughts it got passed on to Paramount...
Published on May 8 2007 by Robert Badgley


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fashion and Fancy, April 22 2003
By 
Claude Prevots "An eclectic eye" (Warwick, New York United States) - See all my reviews
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Here we have a story of fashion and romance. Givenchy provides the fashionable clothes. George and Ira Gershwin provide the music to set the scene for romance. Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire provide the romantic intrigue, costarring Kay Thompson for added comic relief. The story takes place in New York City and in Paris on the Seine River in France. These choice ingredients mix well to give the viewer an inviting slice of life in the fashion world, seen as songs, dances and splendid fashion shows. There is even a spoof of French philosophy. With excellent timing and camera work, and the consultancy of Richard Avedon, this film and its story present a happy moment to be revisited by an engaged film fan. Director Stanley Donen has made it happen with a screenplay by Leonard Gershe, and choreography by Eugene Loring and Fred Astaire.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Fashion Musical!, June 14 2004
Anyone who loves Breakfast at Tiffany's and Roman Holiday knows that Audrey Hepburn is one of the most magical women ever captured on film. But there is something special about Funny Face. It captured a part of the real Audrey -- part book worm, part great dancer, part reluctant star. The "On How to be Lovely" scene with Patricia Neal is one of the most glorious moments in film. You just cannot help but smile when they start singing that song. It will make you fall in love with Audrey over and over again!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Audrey Hepburn certainly wasn't anything to laugh at, May 15 2003
By 
Carl P. Rychlik (Monroe, Ct United States) - See all my reviews
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Audrey Hepburn had a unique quality that she could sing(yes,sing)dance and act.She has a most touching scene where she is a bookstore librarian that is very distraught after having the bookstore she works for turned upside down.She sings an old Gershwin tune "How long has been going on" which coming from Audrey,is from her heart and soul. She then dances two numbers with Fred Astaire with sheer perfection. Words cannot describe what a beautiful actress she was-Audrey,you were truly amazing and lovely to look at.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny Face [1956] [Blu-ray] [UK Release], July 29 2014
By 
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Funny Face [1956] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] S’WONDEFUL, S’MARVELOUS!

In the Academy Award® nominated classic, Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire join forces in lending their song and dance talents to the timeless and classic film musical. When fashion magazine mogul Maggie Prescott [Kay Thompson] and her head photographer Dick Avery [Fred Astaire] (based on real-life cameraman Richard Avedon was both a visual consultant on Funny Face) scout out a bookstore for their next photo shoot. Dick discovers the unique face of bookseller and amateur philosopher Jo Stockton [Audrey Hepburn] and is soon whisked off to Paris. Jo is soon transformed into a global supermodel . . . and finds herself falling for the photographer, who first noticed her sunny, funny face.

FILM FACT: The National Board of Review gave the film Special Citation award for the photographic innovations. Leonard Gershe was nominated for "Best Written American Musical" by the Writers Guild of America. Stanley Donen was nominated by the Directors Guild of America for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures" and for a "Golden Palm" at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival. Fred Astaire received a Golden Laurel nomination for "Top Male Musical Performance". The film received four Academy Award "Oscar" nominations: Leonard Gershe for "Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen"; Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy (Hepburn's costume designer) for "Best Costume Design"; Ray June for "Best Cinematography"; and Hal Pereira, George W. Davis, Sam Comer, and Ray Moyer for "Best Art Direction-Set Decoration".

Actors: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson, Michel Auclair, Robert Flemyng, Dovima, Suzy Parker, Sunny Harnett, Jean Del Val, Virginia Gibson, Sue England, Ruta Lee, Alex Gerry and Iphigenie Castiglioni

Director: Stanley Donen

Producer: Roger Edens

Screenwriter: Leonard Gershe

Music and Lyrics: George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin and Adolph Deutsch (main score)

Cinematography: Ray June

Audio: English: 5.1 TrueHD Dolby, French: 1.0 Mono, German: 1.0 Mono, Italian: 1.0 Mono, Japanese: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish: 1.0 Mono

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish

Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 [VistaVison]

Running Time: 103 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment

Andrew's Blu-ray Review – Pizzazz! The very word came into being with Funny Face in 1957. Stylish and energetic, Funny Face is a collaboration extraordinaire involving some of the great talents of the era: Producer Roger Edens and director Stanley Donen, screenwriter Leonard Gershe, cinematographer Ray June, costumer Edith Head, couture designer Hubert de Givenchy, photographer Richard Avedon and the film's matchless stars Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson. Sprinkled with an assortment of Gershwin tunes, this is a movie of considerable pizzazz...

‘Funny Face’ had been a work in progress for years, but the vital element that finally brought the project together was Audrey Hepburn. Then under contract to Paramount, Hepburn was a white-hot star at the time and any picture with her name attached had a very good chance of being made. She loved both the script and the opportunity to dance with Fred Astaire and quickly agreed to do the picture. Astaire, then nearing 60, was coming to the end of his career in musical films. Funny Face and Silk Stockings were released within months of each other in 1957 and were his last popular movie musicals.

Kay Thompson, ace vocal coach, arranger and cabaret star, had worked with Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Lena Horne and many others during her years in MGM's music department. Gershe had her in mind from the start for the role of Maggie Prescott, a character closely modelled on powerhouse fashion editor and style doyenne of the era, Diana Vreeland. According to Leonard Gershe, it was Vreeland who coined the word `bizzazz' that mutated into `pizzazz.' Thompson as Prescott is an invigorating presence and she steals just about every scene she's in; early on, her "Think Pink!" number kicks Funny Face into high gear...

Ultimately, the success of ‘Funny Face’ belongs just as much to Thompson as it does her two co-stars; the ebullient and ever dapper Fred Astaire and translucently glamorous gamin Audrey Hepburn. To voyage with these three into the unbar chic byways and street cafes of Paris is to be magically teleported on a grand holiday through Parisian haute couture. And Stanley Donen's direction makes Funny Face so much more than mere sumptuous entertainment. It is a wry musical comedy taking a deadly sly poke at the fashionista guru. Under Stanley Donen's expertise and Leonard Gershe's capably crafted screenplay the exclusivity of haute couture evolves from haughty parade into a surreal exploitation of that impressionist and elegant lifestyle. This is a world created by human hands and ego, and, about as far removed from the one we find ourselves a part of at the beginning of our story. But that is precisely why Funny Face succeeds; because it parallels the mundane with the superficially sacred, and elevates the escapism to a most rarefied art form.

‘Funny Face’ is a Cinderella tale, the kind of story that was Audrey Hepburn's bread and butter. The film begins in the offices of Quality magazine where editor Maggie Prescott [KayeThompson] decrees that the world of fashion shall think and wear pink (though she does not)! Soon after, she and photographer Dick Avery [Fred Astaire] venture to bohemian Greenwich Village on a shoot...where bookstore clerk Jo Stockton [Audrey Hepburn], an ugly duckling with swan potential, is unearthed. The plot takes off from here. Cut to Paris where newly made-over model Jo wears exquisite Givenchy haute couture and is gorgeously photographed by Dick everywhere in the City of Light. Songs are sung. Dances are danced. Love blooms. A fairy-tale ending eventually comes to pass. The basic storyline is nothing new, but watching Hepburn, Astaire and Thompson cut loose in New York and Paris (and in song) is so easy on the eyes and ears that in so many ways...'s wonderful.

Ultimately, the success of ‘Funny Face’ belongs just as much to Thompson as it does her two co-stars; the ebullient and ever dapper Fred Astaire and translucently glamorous gamin Audrey Hepburn. To voyage with these three into the unbar chic byways and street cafes of Paris is to be magically teleported on a grand holiday through Parisian haute couture. And Stanley Donen's direction makes ‘Funny Face’ so much more than mere sumptuous entertainment. It is a wry musical comedy taking a deadly sly poke at the fashionista guru. This is a world created by human hands and ego, and, about as far removed from the one we find ourselves a part of at the beginning of our story. But that is precisely why Funny Face succeeds; because it parallels the mundane with the superficially sacred, and elevates the escapism to a most rarefied art form.

Musically, ‘Funny Face’ achieves many high water marks with Audrey singing in her own voice the poignant, `How Long Has This Been Going On.' Astaire taps the exuberant `Let's Kiss and Make Up.' Astaire and Audrey do an elegant pas deux to Gershwin's immortal, `S'Wonderful' and the entire cast gets into the act with `Bonjour Paris!' Arguably, the song which lingers the longest in our collective memory remains Kay Thompson's acidic and comical `Think Pink' - an ode to fashion for fashion's sake. As Thompson croons - "Red is dead. Blue is through. Green's obscene. Brown's to boo...and there is not the slightest excuse for plum or puce...or chartreuse."

Finally, ‘Funny Face’ is a lightweight and cheerful little musical immeasurably aided by Paramount's patented high fidelity widescreen process VistaVision, and the sumptuous backdrop of Paris at its most photogenic (despite reoccurring inclement weather throughout the shoot), ‘Funny Face’ emerges with a genuine sparkle and heart; an ultra-gorgeous musical with much to appreciate and admire throughout. `On how to be lovely', ‘Funny Face’ rates a perfect ten! So all in all, this was well worth the wait for Paramount to release this sumptuous Blu-ray release, but sadly this UK Release has no Extras, like on the USA Blu-ray Release, but despite this I am still proud to have this Hollywood Classic in my Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller - Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Troumph for all Concerned, Oct. 7 2010
By 
Ian C. Jarvie (Toronto, ON) - See all my reviews
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This is the very best of the Audrey Hepburn-as-Cinderella movies. For one thing she is in her prime as a beauty and is still in shape for dancing. Her sophisticated charm meshes well with the worldliness of Astaire who plays the stand-in for production designer Richard Avedon. Shot on locations all over Paris and environs the film bubbles with American pep. It is a satire on the fashion magazine as well as on existentialism. It never falters or loses the right tone. All this must be put down to Stanley Donen, whose movies show him as witty and inventive. The songs are standards, the glimpses of Paris in 1956 are mouth watering, and this digital remastering is about as good as it gets short of an original VistaVision print. Many of the great MGM musicals came out of the collaborations of the Freed Unit. Donen, a graduate of that unit, singlehandedly transplants all of its dazzling skills to this movie, made under the auspices of Paramount and partially shot in France. A source of inexhaustible pleasure.
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4.0 out of 5 stars For worlds I'd not replace..., Oct. 9 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
Audrey Hepburn as a dowdy, shy little bookworm obsessed with philosophy to the point of excluding all else? Say it's not so.

But such is the legendary actress' role at the start of "Funny Face," an endearingly frothy little musical that spends equal time exploring the nightlife of 1950s Paris and a sparkly, sunny version of the fashion industry. Hepburn and Fred Astaire are the ones who really make the story shine, with plenty of song-and-dance numbers and a quirky, slightly sardonic little romance. It's never a deep story, but it's always a charming one.

Dissatisfied with the latest edition of Quality fashion magazine, publisher/editor Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) decides to splash the world with the Next Big Trend: think pink. Cue musical number.

She also decides to add an intellectual bent to the fashion world ("Marion, dear, what are you reading?" "Minute Men from Mars!"), and temporarily takes over a boho bookstore for a suitable backdrop, much to the dismay of the owner Jo (Hepburn). Photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) is struck by Jo's earnestness and unique "funny face," and convinces Maggie to make her their new star model -- supposedly a woman who embodies intellect as well as chic fashion.

Jo doesn't like fashion ("It is chichi, and an unrealistic approach to self-impressions as well as economics!") agrees because she wants to meet her favorite philosopher in Paris, and immerse herself into the bohemian nightlife. But she's slowly growing to love her modeling career -- and Dick as well. But when Jo encounters the eminent Professor Flostre, her budding relationship with Dick is disrupted -- can fashion and philosophy find true love, or are their differences too much?

"Funny Face" is loosely based on an old stage musical -- and by "loosely based," I mean they borrowed a few songs from it and crafted a whole new plot. Fortunately this doesn't keep the movie from being vastly entertaining -- it's a big frothy creampuff of a musical, where you can guess the ending and all the plot twists far in advance, but somehow it just doesn't matter because it's such fun, and the romance is so sweet despite Astaire and Hepburn's chasmic age gap.

Part of the movie's charm is the glamourized views of Paris -- it's all romantic hotels, dramatic photo shoots ("Take the picture, TAKE THE PICTURE!"), idyllic wedding chapels and quirky little nightclubs. And it has a lot of dry humour ("Every girl on every page of Quality has grace, elegance, and pizzazz. Now what's wrong with bringing out a girl who has character, spirit, and intelligence?" "That certainly would be novel in a fashion magazine") and not-so-subtle spoofery of the pretentions both of bohemians and of the fashion elite. And boy is that fun.

It's also graced with a bunch of delightful musical numbers -- the over-the-top "Think Pink," the sweet "'s Wonderful," the adorably quirky titular song, and the exuberant "Bonjour Paris!" Hepburn in particular shines in two of these numbers -- she sings a fragile little ballad called "How Long Has This Been Going On?" in the ruined bookshop, and does a wildly kooky "Basal Metabolism" dance number in a bohemian bistro -- it's incredibly different from everything else in the movie.

In fact, Hepburn shines in pretty much every part of this movie, and while playing a character that could have easily been annoying -- earnest, naive, rather snobbish, and idealiastically devoted to any and all "isms" -- while Astaire serves as a counterbalance, playing a photographer who is just jaded enough to see the absurdity all around him. And Thompson is a real scene-stealer as the fashion queen who seems to think that Quality Magazine keeps the whole modern world afloat.

"Funny Face" is indeed funny. It's also sweet, charming, romantic, and "'s wonderful" -- a cute little musical filled with stunningly gorgeous clothes and a bit of wicked satire. Definitely worth checking out.
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3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars.This Funny Face is still high hat!, May 8 2007
By 
Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada) - See all my reviews
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The editorial review for this movie states that it was ..."an unproduced play".

This is very misleading.

If memory serves this movie was based on what was to be a Broadway play originally entitled "Wedding Day" but MGM came a calling and bought the rights before it ever reached the stage.When MGM had second thoughts it got passed on to Paramount where they finally turned it into the movie we now have.

However Fred and his wonderful and talented sister Adele first introduced Funny Face(the PLAY-similar score but totally different plot) to the world back in 1927.It hit Broadway and had an extensive and fabulously long run into mid 1928.From there Fred and Adele took it to the London stage and repeated its' wild success there well into 1929.

Upon its' arrival on the screen in 1957 Paramount lifted four songs from the original 1927 George and Ira Gershwin songbook and added two more by Leonard Gershe and Roger Edens.

It is certainly a movie influenced by its' times with its' central theme based around the late 50s coffee house/beatnik/philosophic phenom of the day.These were the days of Sartre,Kerouac,Ginsberg and cool jazz.

Director Stanley Donen almost paints this film with his heavy use of colouring from beginning to end.

Audrey Hepburn was also a kind of phenom of her own during this period.One of the most popular actresses of the day and one of the most emulated from her hair style and clothing to her petite figure.She gives a pleasing performance and is quite good overall and the director gives her many a camera-loving close up.

However her co-star is the real rock and foundation of this film-the inimitable Mr.Fred Astaire.

His first dance number is 'Funny Face' with Audrey in of all places a dark room (he could dance on top of a garbage dump and make it seem like a cloud!).But you soon forget where they are as Fred takes the movie to a different and wonderous level.As in any Astaire routine he speaks volumes without a single word telling his partner and us what it is exactly he's trying to say.And through it all one word says more about him than any other....class!!To say he was without peer is absolutely no exaggeration whatsoever.I never will cease to marvel at his virtuosity and style.

His next number is a solo effort "Let's Kiss and Makeup".Watch for his tossing of an umbrella into a stand many feet away(no trick photgraphy either!).

Both Fred and Audrey are ably backed by the irrepressable Kay Thompson.This was a good part for Kay because there was nothing subtle in Kays acting or vocals as she played everything "big".Kay was quite the club maven and was well known among other things as having the Williams Brothers as part of her act at one period.When they broke up one of the brothers,young Andy, went on to have more than a little success as a solo singer.

All in all this is good movie musical and a feather in the cap for all concerned.It's not one of Fred or Audreys' best films but it still certainly manages to entertain and hit the mark today in both the music and the dance routines.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Where Was MArni NIxon?, July 14 2004
By 
David Marshall (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Funny Face has just about everything going for it. Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Stanley Donen, great Gershwin tunes, a terrific rare glimpse of the incomparable Kay Thompson and above all some of the most exciting visuals and overall art direction ever caught on film. So what happened? The sad decision to let Hepburn do her own singing. That's not to say her voice is bad. It's very... nice. But for a full blown musical of this scale, the audience is yearning for Hepburn's character to really give out with a great set of pipes. Perhaps not quite to the extent of Kay Thompson, an actress perhaps better suited for the stage than the intimacy of the screen. Yet while the movie does not fulfill its promise, it's still well worth seeing. The transformation of Hepburn from mousy bookstore clerk to haute couture model is as wonderful as her similar transformation in "Sabrina". The modeling sessions with Astaire directing Hepburn are delightful and above all the VistaVision presentation of late 50s gloss can not be matched, (the opening credits nearly make up for the entire movie). With Richard Avedon and Suzy Parker's influence the movie almost makes you forgive its failings. Still by the last frame the audience is left with only one thought: "Where's Marni Nixon when you need her?".
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, not funny face., May 7 2004
By 
Daniel J. Hamlow (Narita, Japan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funny Face (VHS Tape)
Well, funny isn't how I'd describe Audrey Hepburn's face. Dazzling, luminescent, one-of-a-kind... but funny? I'm not laughing. I more side with Fred Astaire's character Dick Avery, who says "What you call funny, I call interesting."
Seriously though, how does a shy, introverted, intellectual bluestocking who is a firm believer in empathicalism became a fashion model for Quality magazine? Part of it has to do with photographer Dick Avery blowing up some snaps of her after an uninvited photo session in her Greenwich Village bookstore, and selling her to Maggie Prescott, editor of Quality. Another has to do with a photo shoot in Paris for the new layout of Quality, in exchange for which she'll get to meet Professor Flostre, the philosophical founder of empathicalism and her hero.
The best scenes in the movie are the photo shoots, which shows Jo doing poses in the rain, holding balloons, and tearfully standing at a departing railway station. But the standout has to be her running down the steps of the Louvre in a sleeveless red Givenchy gown, the statue of the Winged Victory behind her, emulating the famed statute. Another is Jo's dance in the nightclub, expressing herself after Avery pokes fun at her empathicalist beliefs. It's a spontaneous number set to a upbeat jazz rhythms, with Jo wearing a black body stocking, and it would be the last time Audrey would use her dancing talents in a movie.
The movie's attitude to the French beatnik and intellectual culture that began in the 1950's is clearly and unfortunately contemptuous, not surprising, considering that America in the 50's was in the growth-oriented prosperity, which had no room for intellectual thought. The concept of empathicalism, the philosophy of putting one in another person's shoes via emotion and manner of speech. That is kind of sabotaged by Avery, who speaks in a charming manner to two Frenchman while using insulting words.
The only sympathetic and likeable character here is Jo Stockton, played by Audrey, of course, but the motivations of her character selling out by working for a fashion magazine, which is so phony, materialistic, and shallow, is questionable. Still, Audrey is a breathe of fresh air, whatever she wears.
As for the characters played by Fred Astaire and nightclub performer Kay Thompson (Maggie), they're not exactly laudable. Fred Astaire's Avery is nice but shallow, and the chemistry between him and Audrey isn't credible. At least he could still dance. His character is based on famed fashion photographer Richard Avedon, as indeed is some of the story, where Avedon trained and married one of his models. As for Thompson, her brusque, bossy, brash, and downright aggressive attitude does not endear her well. Not content with having her crew make a mess of the Embryo Bookstore in the beginning, she then has the nerve to push her outside until the photo shoot is finished! Her character is a cariacature of either Diana Vreeland of Vogue or Carmel Snow of Harper's Bazaar.
The costumes by Givenchy are great, as are the musical numbers by Gershwin, especially the "He Loves and She Loves" and "S'wonderful" numbers, both of which feature Fred and Audrey dancing together. BTW, Astaire and his sister Adele had already danced to this in the Broadway show of the same name back in 1927. And this is the first of three movies with director Stanley Donen for Audrey, the others being Charade and Two For The Road. Donen of course made Fred Astaire dance on the ceiling in Royal Wedding years before Lionel Richie did for MTV.
So, "what's wrong with bringing out a girl who has character, spirit, and intelligence?" Well, nothing if she's allowed to stay true to her beliefs. Dated by today's standards, due to its endorsement of shallow materialistic values as opposed to something more genuine and intellectual, redeemed by Audrey and some of the songs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing less than chic., March 4 2003
By 
Chris Aldridge (Washington, DC USA) - See all my reviews
I just saw this the other day, and forgot how wonderful it was! The wry commentary on the fashion industry (and the fashion models themselves), the use of locale (Paris), song (Gershwin), and color (Donen) is wonderful. The color is especially superb in the fashion photo shoot (which is brilliantly illustrated betwixt Astaire and Hepburn), and gives marvelous detail behind each camera set-up (with a scenario, a motivation, a series of props, and finally an end result beautifully shown in a trick montage of film separation and negative process). This has always been my favorite scene in the film (being a former photographer myself), and I was further surprised to learn years later that the Astaire character was modeled on real photographer Richard Avedon. Color is further exploited in other scenes: the red darkroom light used as sole illumination in the "Funny Face" dance, the soft-focus green grass in "He Loves and She Loves," and even the drab monotone of the NY bookstore where Hepburn sings "How Long Has This Been Going On?" But I must give special mention to Kay Thompson's magazine editor: smart, witty, hilarious, nearly stealing every scene she's in. (Astaire: "They've been in there for hours. Thompson: "There was a LOT to do.") One of the best things done by director Stanley Donen.
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