Photo by Paramount
In February 13 1957, was released one classic movie of all time, ‘Funny Face’. The movie is about the fashion photographer Dick Avery, who is in search for an intellectual backdrop for an air-headed model, expropriates a Greenwich Village bookstore. When the photo session is over the store is left in a shambles, much to salesgirl Jo Stockton’s dismay. Avery stays behind to help her clean up. Later, he examines the photos taken there and sees Jo in the background of one shot. He is intrigued by her unique appearance, as is Maggie Prescott, the editor of a leading fashion magazine. They offer Jo a modeling contract, which she reluctantly accepts only because it includes a trip to Paris. Eventually, her snobbish attitude toward the job softens, and Jo begins to enjoy the work and the company of her handsome photographer.
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson
Director: Stanley Donen
To celebrate the 60th anniversary, here are some of the curiosities about this movie.
- In order to secure Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on the cast, producers told each the other was already signed, figuring they would not pass up the opportunity to work together.
- Fred Astaire’s character is based on photographer Richard Avedon. In fact, it is Avedon who set up most of the photography for this film, including the famous face portrait of Audrey Hepburn unveiled during the dark room sequence.
- The Audrey Hepburn character was inspired by Suzy Parker, who made a fashionable cameo appearance in the film (her first film) in the “Think Pink” sequence.
- Many of the production staff usually associated with MGM musicals went to Paramount especially to work on this film, so it is, essentially, an MGM musical made at Paramount.
- The soggy weather played havoc with the shooting of the wedding dress dance scene. Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn were continually slipping in the muddy and slippery grass. Hepburn sings several songs. Her next full musical, ‘My Fair Lady’ (1964), would see her voice overdubbed, much to her disappointment.
- Audrey Hepburn’s terrier Mr. Famous appears as the dog in the basket during the “Anna Karenina” train shot.
- Cyd Charisse was offered the lead role, but declined. Audrey Hepburn’s agent initially rejected the film, but Hepburn overrode the decision after reading the script.
- The little white car that Dick and Maggie drive to the beatnik club is called a VELAM Isetta. They were made between 1955 and 1958.
- Ditzy model Marion is played by Dovima, who was one of the top fashion models of the day and often worked with Richard Avedon.
The plot of this movie is actually that of Leonard Gershe’s unsuccessful Broadway musical “Wedding Bells” – apparently the studio bought the rights to the title just so they could use the song. The original plot of the musical was scrapped, and Gershwin songs from other musicals replaced several numbers originally written by Gershe himself for “Wedding Bells”. These numbers were tweaked so that they could fit into the main storyline, and one of them – of course – was “Funny Face”. The studio may have felt that the original plot of “Funny Face” could not be properly adapted into a movie as it was an “ensemble” musical with people dropping out and parts changing all the time.