Funny Face

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This dazzlingly vibrant film version of the George Gershwin Broadway musical pairs the fresh-faced Audrey Hepburn with the play’s original star, Fred Astaire, in a toe-tapping celebration of love, fashion and sheer musical bliss. In Funny Face, Astaire plays fashion photographer Dick Avery (a character based on Richard Avedon, the film’s “visual consultant”), who is sent out by his female boss Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) to find a “new face”. It doesn’t take Dick long to discover Jo (Hepburn, who does her own singing), an owlish Greenwich Village bookstore clerk. Acting as Pygmalion to Jo’s Galatea, Dick whisks the wide-eyed girl off to Paris and transforms her into the fashion world’s hottest model. Along the way, he falls in love with Jo, and works overtime to wean her away from such phony-baloney intellectuals as Professor Emile Flostre (Michel Auclair). The glorious Gershwin tunes include the title song, “S’wonderful”, “How Long Has This Been Going On” and “He Loves and She Loves”; among the original numbers is Kay Thompson’s energetically campy “Think Pink”. Featuring such delights as Astaire creating a courtyard bullfight with only a red-line raincoat and an umbrella, Hepburnā€™s famous jazzy beatnik dance in a smoky bohemian nightclub and an eye-popping parade of fabulous fashions (including the knockout scarlet Givenchy gown worn by Hepburn in the electrifying finale), Funny Face is one of the most visually striking of all movie musicals, and this new DCP restoration brings the film back to its original and dazzling Technicolor and VistaVision glory. (Dir. by Stanley Donan, 1957, USA, 103 mins., Not Rated) Digital