Funny Face Stanley Donen

Funny Face Stanley Donen
This 50th Anniversary re-release doesn’t look a day over 21. Maybe it’s the fashion world plotline that’s still so popular (Ugly Betty, The Devil Wears Prada, most chick-lit), maybe it’s the film’s anti-intellectual slant, which is now so ingrained in, well, everything. Or maybe it’s just that skinny pants and stripy French shirts are back in style. In fact, it was Hepburn’s beatnik dance sequence from the movie that re-launched skinny pants into malls across America, with the Gap’s brilliant "Back in Black’ mash-up last fall. Whatever the reason, the story of intellectual Jo Stockton (Hepburn), who is discovered in a Greenwich Village bookstore by fashion photographer Dick Avery (Astaire) and whisked off to a modelling career and love in Paris, still feels fresh and totally delightful. There is nothing weighty here, just a feast of art direction, fashion, Parisian scenery and clever cinematography inspired by fashion photographer Richard Avedon. And the Gershwin songs are all great: "S Wonderful,” "Think Pink!” and "Bonjour Paris!” are highlights. Hepburn’s first musical role shows off her chops as a dancer, as well as her charming, naïve singing voice, particularly in her solo during "How Long Has This Been Going On?” Her almost androgynous gamine quality is well matched with Astaire’s (almost androgynous) suaveness for a love story that’s more style than chemistry, and Kay Thomson as dynamic magazine editor Maggie Prescott is unforgettable. The extras on this release are disappointing, limited to three short featurettes on Paris (boring), Paramount in the ’50s (really boring) and fashion designer Givenchy (worthwhile). However, there’s no commentary and little information on the making of the film. (Paramount)