Friday, 25 December 2015

Funny Face

1957 - Dir. Stanley Donen - 1 hr 32 mins

Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 27th December, 2015
 Audrey Hepburn loved fashion, and this is a film about fashion. Its supposedly based on the romance between photographer Richard Avedon and fashion editor Diana Vrieland. Mr Avedon maintained that this wasn’t the case but was involved in the making of the film - he produced the photographs for the chic title sequence, and the colourised stills from the photo-shoot sequence, which is all based on his signature poses and favoured moody locations.
Although the costume design credit goes to Hollywood’s Edith Head, many of the costumes in this film are by Givenchy. Audrey Hepburn insisted that her friend Hubert de Givenchy be allowed to design the most stylish creations - in fact she insisted that he alone would design for her in all subsequent movies. Here the familiar fantasy of the shop girl catapulted to fame is balanced by the films understanding of the mechanics, and the personalities, of the fashion world.
While Hepburn shimmers in Givenchy’s silk gown at the end of a Paris catwalk, Funny Face reminds us of the people behind the scenes (like Avedon) who put the girl in the frock in the first place. Think pink!
●    Audrey Hepburn’s Mum appears in Funny Face as a customer in a pavement cafe - and Audrey’s dog (Mr Famous) appears as “dog in basket” in a sequence on a train.
●    It rained constantly on location in Paris but the sun shone for the critical musical numbers - which makes the decision to use the rainy shots in the film’s trailers a little odd.
●    Fred Astaire’s real name was Frederick Austerlitz - his father was an Austrian brewer who had emigrated to Nebraska. He retired in 1946… but was persuaded to come back to the screen by a 10,000 signature petition produced by the patrons of a single cinema in New York.
●    Audrey Hepburn sings perfectly well in this film. She was understandably disappointed when an opera singer (Marnie Nixon) was brought in to dub the more demanding songs in “My Fair Lady”. Typically, she listened to both versions and readily admitted that the decision was justified.