My second DVD pick of the week for Valentine’s Day is the other new Audrey Hepburn release, “Funny Face,” a gorgeous musical set in Paris with Fred Astaire and songs by Gershwin. The title tune, and “How Long Has This Been Going On” and “S’Wonderful” have become standards, and the non-Gershwin numbers like “Think Pink” and “Bonjour Paris” are lively and well-staged.
It’s the story of a shy bookstore clerk with an interest in French philosophy who gets invited to Paris as a model and agrees to go only because it will give her a chance to meet the philosopher she most admires. She thinks that fashion is silly and superficial. But the photographer (Astaire, playing a character based on Richard Avedon) shows her the passion, dedication, professionalism, and artistry required and the philosopher shows her that he does not always practice what he preaches. The film is a delight. Be sure to watch for a rare screen appearance by Kay Thompson, the author of the “Eloise” books, as the magazine editor, and some real-life supermodels spoofing themselves.