Funny Face may have been released in 1957, but looking at the film today, it feels more like ’67. Like the later films of its director, Stanley Donen (Arabesque, Two for the Road), Funny Face has a post–New Wave grasp of formal inventiveness and splashy stylization. With a plot set in the milieu of the fashion industry, Donen has plenty of opportunities to flex his visual muscle. Audrey Hepburn plays a bohemian bookstore clerk with a penchant for philosophical isms who unwittingly becomes the spokesmodel for a leading fashion magazine. A too-old Fred Astaire is the fashion photographer who falls for her. There are bravura Gershwin song-and-dance numbers on “New York” sets and Paris locations, but the natural beauty of the scenery and costumes nearly dwarfs the story. Short, unexceptional extras include The Fashion Designer and His Muse, about the relationship between Hepburn and costume designer Hubert de Givenchy; Parisian Dreams explains how Donen shot the City of Love; and Paramount in the ’50s is a shill product better suited to a Paramount studio tour than a commercial DVD.
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