1957 Movie Review: FUNNY FACE, 1957

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FUNNY FACE, 1957
Movie Reviews

Directed by: Stanley Donen

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson, Michel Auclair
Review by Jayvibha Vaidya

SYNOPSIS:

Jo Stockton’s bookstore is invaded by the glamourous team at Quality Magazine for an impromptu photo shoot and is forced to be a subject in the photos. When photographer Dick Avery notices her ‘funny face’ and recommends her for ‘The Quality Woman,’ Jo’s life is changed as she is forced to choose between her intellectual life and the glitzy fashion world.

NOMINATED FOR 4 OSCARS – Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume and Writing

REVIEW:

“Your empathy is a little one-sided for me, baby.”

Opening with a camera tracking through a stark white room and into a world of pink, Funny Face begins with a mission: find the next ‘It’ woman; a woman who is so fashionable, she’s “not interested in clothes.” Editor of Quality Magazine, Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson), has an idea for a photo feature: plop a glamourous model in a Greenwich Village bookstore and watch the intelligence jump off the page. But the shop clerk at the bookstore is not impressed. Opinionated and appalled, Jo Stockton (the lovely Audrey Hepburn) refuses to allow the photo shoot to happen, but in a flurry of taffeta, shouting and flashbulbs, photos are taken – with her as an involuntary model. Noticing her beauty, photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) encourages Jo to be the “Quality Woman.’ Jo reluctantly accepts the magazine’s offer in order to fulfill her dream of traveling to Paris to meet her idol, the philosopher Emile Flostre (Michel Auclair).

Arriving in Paris, Jo is immediately caught up with the Beatnik culture, talking to fellow intellectuals about the philosophy of Empathicalism (putting oneself in another’s place, emotionally). But she’s reminded that she’s there to do a job – and she does so reluctantly. With Dick behind the camera, directing her through the gorgeous backdrop of Parisian architecture and culture, Jo’s pictures turn out stunning. As Jo and Dick spend more time together, arguing about principles, values and materialism, they naturally begin to fall in love. But on the big night, when Jo is required to appear and unveil a new fashion line, she hears of Professor’s Flostre’s presence at a local café. Running to meet him, she loses track of time until Dick arrives and drags her away. In an amusing scene, Jo and Dick get into a heated argument and she pushes him into the stage set, destroying all the props and sets just as the curtain is pulled back in front of international press.

Utilizing two of the 50’s biggest stars, the film succeeds in showing the skill and talent of Astaire and Hepburn. While Hepburn’s singing is not as perfect as her contemporaries, her voice is clear and sweet. Her modern dance number in the café has become one of the most famous scenes in the film. Hepburn dancing is remarkable, displaying control, grace and fluidity. Astaire’s voice is simply lovely and his dancing is laid-back and loose; a pleasure to watch. And while the romance between Jo and Dick is believable, the chemistry between them seems more like old dear friends, than two people who find themselves in love despite their vastly different lifestyles. But there is a kindness between them that makes the audience root for their union; both actors are incredibly charming.

Written and arranged by George and Ira Gershwin, the songs in the film are sweet but not entirely catchy. The performers do well in each song, with “Funny Face,” “Bonjour, Paris!” and “He Loves and She Loves” as highlights. The musical numbers mostly work because of the locations in which the characters traipse through. Gorgeous parks, streams, Paris landmarks and stylized sets serve as back-drop to their musical moments. The look of the film is quite beautiful as the filmmakers choose to play with colours; using negatives, sepia tones and freeze frames to heighten certain images. Costumes are by the famously talented Edith Head with Ms. Hepburn’s high-fashion outfits by Givenchy (a designer to whom she was extremely loyal). The dresses drape beautifully around Hepburn and each outfit compliments her beauty, making her character’s modeling career entirely believable.

The film jabs fun at philosophy, elite movements and phony intellectuals in a silly manner. Professor Flostre is a young charismatic man who recruits followers in a covert fashion, only allowing them access to him by making it on a list or idolizing him. When Dick and Maggie go ‘undercover’ as a spiritual band from Tallahassee, they encounter a depressed French singer, a weeping groupie and security around Professor Flostre. It takes a while for Jo to realize the foolishness of her idol and his followers. However, she does not falter in her belief in empathy, finally seeing a situation from Dick’s point of view. The film treats the world of fashion the same way, showing models who are unintelligent, fads as silly and people who take themselves way too seriously. The ending is slightly melodramatic and romanticized, but it fits with the conventions of a 1950s American musical. Fun and entertaining, the film wraps up with a happy ending in a gorgeously stylized last scene: the two lovers float by on a wooden raft trailed by swans.

Funny Face is a charming film made all the more charming by Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. In their only screen pairing, they bring a light, sweet performance. Both ooze class and poise and are simply lovely to watch. Kay Thompson as Maggie Prescott has some of the best lines “She put herself in your place…you put yourself in her place and the two of you are bound to run into each other in somebody’s place!” Funny Face is one of Paramount’s great musicals capturing the absurdity of fashion and silly intellectual movements while showcasing one of most beautiful cities in the world.

 

FUNNY FACE

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1967 Movie Review: WAIT UNTIL DARK, 1967

WAIT UNTIL DARK,  MOVIE POSTERWAIT UNTIL DARK, 1967
Movie Reviews

Directed by: Terence Young
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Julia Herrod, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Review by Jarred Thomas

SYNOPSIS:

A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment.

 

REVIEW:

A highly entertaining and suspenseful thriller that follows a tormented blind woman terrorized by three men, with one being considered by many critics as one of the scariest villains of all time played to perfection by Alan Arkin. Susy (Hepburn) suffered a terrible accident recently has been left blind. Her only aid comes from an unreliable younger neighbor, Gloria (Herrod), in which the two have a mother daughter relationship. Susy’s disability has been challenging, however, her greatest challenge comes in the form of three criminals.

The ruthless gang in led by the psychotic Roat (Arkin) who believes that Susy’s husband, Sam, has a doll with heroin inside after it was given to him on a plane by a woman trying to hide the doll from custom officials. Unknowingly, Sam brought the doll to the couple’s apartment and unfortunately Roat is determined to gain the doll despite Susy’s innocence.

The tension builds as Roat tries to manipulate the situation through cunning plans including pretending to be a police officer and using Sam’s friends to gain the trust of Susy, gaining access to the apartment. Roat is a freat villain. There are layers to the characters that unfold over the course of the film. He appears calm, collected and calculated. But as his desperation and Susy’s resistance continues, his raw emotions get the better of him and he begins to unravel.

The suspense is captivating, particularly during the final confrontation between Audrey and Alan. The cinematography is helps to create a dark and haunting atmosphere that heightens the tension and suspense. Susy realizes that the men want access to her apartment, so, knowing the place better than they do, she darkens the room by taking out the lights, leaving the men blind.

The confrontation in the kitchen is the most memorable scene in the film and help to start a trend in which the villain, thought dead, turns out to be alive and appears out of nowhere for one last kill. Other films, most notably Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street uses this trend in every one of their films. Unfortunately, those moments pale in comparison to how it was effectively done in Terence Young’s film.

Audrey was nominated for her fifth and last Oscar for her excellent performance as the vulnerable blind woman with enough resourcefulness to outsmart her pursuers. Alan created a monster that was listed in Bravo Channel’s 100 Scariest Movie of All Time coming in at number 10. Along with their great performances, Young succeeds in providing thrills and scares with the building tension and effectively taking a rather simple premise and turning it into a unique and compelling thriller.

Wait Until Dark is a remarkable and superb film that keeps you captivated throughout and never lets up. The strong performances and excellent directing with great editing provide for some entertaining and engaging moments, as well as a sterling story. If you’re a fan of Audrey Hepburn, or great thrillers, Wait Until Dark is certainly worth your time. Enjoy.

Audrey Hepburn, Wait until dark (1967) starring Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna
Audrey Hepburn, Wait until dark (1967) starring Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna

Happy Birthday: Audrey Hepburn

audreyhepburn.jpgHappy Birthday Legendary Actor Audrey Hepburn

Born: Audrey Kathleen Ruston
May 4, 1929 in Ixelles, Belgium

Died: January 20, 1993 (age 63) in Tolochenaz, Switzerland

Married to:

Andrea Dotti (18 January 1969 – 21 September 1982) (divorced) (1 child)
Mel Ferrer (25 September 1954 – 5 December 1968) (divorced) (1 child)

Read reviews and pics of the best of the actor:

ROMAN HOLIDAYRoman Holiday
1953
dir. William Wyler
Cast
Gregory Peck
Hepburn

SABRINASabrina
1954
dir. Billy Wilder
starring
Humphrey Bogart
Hepburn
William Holden

FUNNY FACEFunny Face
1957
dir. Stanley Donen
Starring
Audrey Hepburn
Fred Astaire

THE UNFORGIVENThe Unforgiven
1960
dir. John Huston
Cast
Burt Lancaster
Audrey Hepburn

Breakfast at Tiffany's, dir. Blake Edwards, starring Audrey HepburnBreakfast at Tiffany’s
1961
dir. Blake Edwards
starring
Hepburn
George Peppard
Mickey Rooney

CharadeCharade
1963
dir. by Stanely Donen
starring
Cary Grant
Hepburn

PARIS - WHEN IT SIZZLESParis – When it Sizzles
1964
dir. Richard Quine
starring
Hepburn
William Holden

MY FAIR LADYMy Fair Lady
1964
dir. George Cukor
starring
Hepburn
Rex Harri

HOW TO STEAL A MILLIONHow to Steal a Million
1966
dir. William Wyler
Starring
Audrey Hepburn
Peter O’Toole

WAIT UNTIL DARKWait Until Dark
1967
dir. Terence Young
Cast
Hepburn
Alan Arkin

THEY ALL LAUGHEDThey All Laughed
1981
dir. Peter Bogdanovich
Cast
Audrey Hepburn
Ben Gazzara</a

MOVIE POSTERALWAYS
1989
dir. Steven Spielberg
Stars:
Holly Hunter
Richard Dreyfuss

SEE TOP 100 AUDREY HEPBURN PHOTOS

1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
Aged
and Albert Finney
and Andrea Dotti
and Anthony Perkins
and Audrey Tautou
and Cary Grant
and Cat
and Children
and Deer Pippin
and Dog
and Elizabeth Taylor
and Family
and Fawn
and Fred Astaire
and George Peppard
and Givenchy
and Grace Kelly
and Gregory Peck
and Howard Hughes
and Humphrey Bogart
and Husband
and James Dean
and James Hanson
and Julie Andrews
and Louis Vuitton
and Marilyn Monroe
and Mel Ferrer
and Natalie Portman
and Peter O’Toole
and Rex Harrison
and Robert Wolders
and Sean Connery
and Shirley Maclaine
and Son
and William Holden
Andy Warhol
Anorexia
Art
as a Child
as a Nun
as Eliza Doolittle
as Gigi
as Hap
as Holly Golightly
and Sabrina
Ascot Dress

Background
Ballet
Bangs
Barbie
Bathing Suit
Beehive
Before and After
Black and White
Black Dress
Bob
Buriel Site
Clothes
Costume
Dancing
Eyebrows
Eyes
Face
Fashion Icon
Gallery
Gloves
Graffiti
Halloween Costume
Hot
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Jewelry
Legs
Lips
Lipstick
Makeup
Mask
Neck
Nose
on Bicycle
Pants
Poster
Sabrina Dress
Smile
Smoking
Stencil
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Tattoo
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Tiara
Unicef
Vogue
Wallpaper
Wedding
with Oscar