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 Posted:   Dec 13, 2013 - 5:48 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of director Stanley Donen's Funny Face, starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson, Michel Auclair and Robert Flemyng. The 1957 classic musical is being released as part of Warner's distribution deal with Paramount, and arrives on Blu-ray on April 8, 2014.

The Gershwin tunes include the title song, "S'wonderful", "How Long Has This Been Going On" and "He Loves and She Loves", among the newer numbers is Kay Thompson's energetic opener "Think Pink". For years available only in washed-out, flat prints, Funny Face was eventually restored to its full Technicolor and VistaVision glory.

The Blu-ray release of Funny Face is presented in 1080p with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio track. Special features include:

•Kay Thompson: Think Pink!
•This is VistaVision
•Fashion Photographers Exposed
•The Fashion Designer and His Muse
•Parisian Dreams
•Theatrical Trailer

http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=12794

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2013 - 6:16 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I have no connection to the movie, but John Williams played piano on this (one of his first piano assignments on film scores), and possibly also scored a few minutes. I wonder if the extras include some mention of that.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2013 - 7:47 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

The only MGM musical that wasn't made at MGM! Paramount wouldn't loan Audrey out, so Stanley Donen moved the production from Culver City to Hollywood.

I've also read that Donen had problems with the Paramount bosses with regard to VistaVision. Paramount was touting the clarity of VistaVision images, but Donen had many sequences that called for a dreamy like soft focus. As you can see, Donen prevailed.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2013 - 11:33 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

Something else: during the shoot in Paris, they were drenched in rain practically every day. Look carefully at the sky in the background; it's always cloudy. There are even shots when they have to use umbrellas... Fortunately, none of this put a damper on what they created, one of the best musicals, ever: funny, charming, stylish, heartfelt. (It only drags a tad in the middle section, when Audrey get caught up in "Empathicalism...."

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2013 - 2:08 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

this was released in September in the UK - an all codes release too - only 8.50 pounds - so you dont have to wait if you really want it

 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2013 - 3:39 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

One of two Audrey Hepburn films I loathe.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2013 - 4:47 PM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

One of two Audrey Hepburn films I loathe.

You know, you remind me of a famous song performed by Peggy Lee.

 
 Posted:   Dec 13, 2013 - 5:20 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

Did Peggy Lee loathe two of Audrey's films, as well?

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 12:12 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

At ease, Erik. PhiladelphiaSon's antipathy to FUNNY FACE is old news on this Board. (I can't remember what the second film was.)

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 4:04 AM   
 By:   Stefan Huber   (Member)

At ease, Erik. PhiladelphiaSon's antipathy to FUNNY FACE is old news on this Board. (I can't remember what the second film was.)

My Fair Lady frown I love it...

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 11:53 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The only MGM musical that wasn't made at MGM! Paramount wouldn't loan Audrey out, so Stanley Donen moved the production from Culver City to Hollywood.



Some sources claim that M-G-M executives were happy to sell "Funny Face" to Paramount, as they had become disenchanted with the musical genre due to the lackluster box office performance of such films as their 1955 production "It's Always Fair Weather."

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 1:55 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Sources such as . . . ?

If MGM was happy to let FUNNY FACE go, they were certainly playing their cards close to the vest. Negotiations dragged on for months, according to Astaire's autobiography STEPS IN TIME, and the film-makers were often in despair that an agreement would ever finally be reached between Paramount and MGM (and Warner Bros., which owned the rights to the Gershwin catalog) which would somehow allow the film to be made.

(FWIW, it would not be too much of a stretch to infer that MGM had no reluctance or antipathy toward musical movies starring Fred Astaire and set in Paris: The very next film Astaire made after FUNNY FACE was SILK STOCKINGS.)

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 3:17 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Sources such as . . . ?

If MGM was happy to let FUNNY FACE go, they were certainly playing their cards close to the vest. Negotiations dragged on for months, according to Astaire's autobiography STEPS IN TIME, and the film-makers were often in despair that an agreement would ever finally be reached between Paramount and MGM (and Warner Bros., which owned the rights to the Gershwin catalog) which would somehow allow the film to be made.

(FWIW, it would not be too much of a stretch to infer that MGM had no reluctance or antipathy toward musical movies starring Fred Astaire and set in Paris: The very next film Astaire made after FUNNY FACE was SILK STOCKINGS.)



Rather than just ceding the project to Paramount, I suspect that M-G-M did indeed engage in some tough negotiations. Stanley Donen and Roger Edens had done considerable prep work at M-G-M for the picture, and M-G-M would certainly want to get some kind of return on their investment. When M-G-M was unable to get the services of Hepburn, they put out a press release on 27 October 1955 announcing that contract dancer Carol Haney had been selected to play the female lead in the film, with the studio's Dolores Gray cast in the role of the fashion editor (eventually played by Kay Thompson). Whether M-G-M actually had any intentions of making the film with Haney is anyone's guess. After those months of negotiations, however, on 31 January 1956, Daily Variety announced that Paramount had acquired the film rights from M-G-M, and had cast Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire as the romantic leads. As part of this deal, Paramount also acquired the temporary services of Edens and Donen, who were still under contract to M-G-M. Paramount began shooting less than 3 months later, on 9 April 1956, obviously benefiting from all the pre-production work that M-G-M had done.

 
 Posted:   Dec 14, 2013 - 4:27 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

Fascinating stuff.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2013 - 12:35 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Indeed.

And the source(s)? Some of us may wish to pursue the matter with further research. Thanks.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2013 - 10:47 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

And the source(s)? Some of us may wish to pursue the matter with further research. Thanks.

The American Film Institute Catalog
Daily Variety
The book Puttin' On the Ritz: Fred Astaire and the Fine Art of Panache by Peter J. Levinson

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2013 - 10:54 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

And the source(s)? Some of us may wish to pursue the matter with further research. Thanks.

Silverman SM: Dancing on the Ceiling: Stanley Donen and His Movies, Knopf (1996)

 
 Posted:   Dec 15, 2013 - 7:03 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

MGM was in the business of musicals (either actually made or planned), long after FUNNY FACE.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 16, 2013 - 2:03 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

MGM was in the business of musicals (either actually made or planned), long after FUNNY FACE.


Studios change their personnel and their philosophies. In early November 1956, months before FUNNY FACE opened, M-G-M studio head Dore Schary put SILK STOCKINGS into production. Later that same month, Schary was summoned to New York by new M-G-M president Joseph Vogel and given his walking papers, along with $100,000 in cash and another $900,000 in deferred salary to come later. 1957's SILK STOCKINGS was a success, and M-G-M would continue to make musicals (most notably, Arthur Freed's biggest success, 1958's GIGI), but SILK STOCKINGS would be the last M-G-M appearance for Fred Astaire, and 1957's LES GIRLS (which Schary's replacement greenlighted, and which was not a big success) would be the last M-G-M appearance for Gene Kelly.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 17, 2013 - 1:56 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

Until, of course, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT and its sequels.

Thanks, gang, for the references. (Although the PANACHE book, the last effort of a gifted but dying author, occasionally suffers from factual errors which one likes to think would have been spotted and corrected had only the writer had world enough and time.)

 
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