Musical Monday: Funny Face. Think Pink!

Posted on May 07, 2007

Yes, it’s Funny Face! The fabulously glamorous musical that exposes the seamy underbelly of the world of fashion! Starring KAY THOMPSON and DOVIMA! Also starring the clothes of Hubert de Givenchy! With special guest appearances by Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.

Our movie opens with Kay as Maggie Prescott, Vreeland-esque Editor-in-Chief of Vogue-esque Quality magazine as she marches into her office and already we are awash in envy. We can’t decide if we want to be her or one of the fembot receptionists.

She quickly orders her gaggle of fashionistas into her office for some berating (it’s official: we want to be her). The latest issue is a dreary disaster and none of you bitches know what the hell you’re doing. Then she fires them all. Haha. No, of course not. This is a musical, so she sings to them instead. By the way, what are the green pills for?

Divine, kittens! This is what gay men see when they close their eyes and fall asleep.

Meanwhile, Fred, as Avedon-esque photographer Dick Avery is struggling mightily to get the fabulous-on-a-level-that-we can’t-even-articulate Dovima to strike just the right pose.

Kay shows up with the Vaginettes and decides that the shoot isn’t working and just like in the real fashion industry, the photographer, the model, and the entire editorial staff decide to just hop in a couple cabs and look for a place to shoot pictures.

They settle on a dreary philosophy bookstore in the village where Audrey Hepburn works. She is principled and wears no makeup so naturally these people pay absolutely no attention to her when she demands that they leave.

In fact, they try to get her in the shot just to shut her up.

Dovima. Fabulosity incarnate. For some inexplicable reason, this is her last scene in the film. We could have watched 2 hours of her posing and changing outfits but sadly, no one asked us.

When that doesn’t work, Kay, ever the fashion editor, strong arms her right outside and locks her out for a couple hours.

They leave the store in a shambles and Dick, ever the fashion photographer, stays behind to pretend to help clean up, but really just wants to make a move on her. As we said, she is principled and wears no makeup so that means she throws him out.

But that’s the thing with principled girls who wear no makeup. One kiss is all they need to question their principles and wardrobe choices. She sings. Badly.

The next day, Kay has a brainstorm. Screw these vapid overpaid models! We need a real girl to become the Quality woman! She decides to initiate a search, when Fred comes in and tells her that the principled girl who wears no makeup would be perfect. She is appalled, but agrees to take a second look at her.

She orders some books from the store just to get her to come in and then, ever the fashion editor, cruelly assesses her flaws in front of the Vaginettes, who apparently aren’t thinking pink anymore.

Her precious principles threatened, she runs off to escape these insane women with incredible posture and because this is a movie, hides out in a dark room where – what a coincidence! – Fred is developing pictures of her. He of course sings and dances a little bit to get her to change her mind.

It must have worked, because suddenly her eyelashes are curled and about an inch longer and makeup has blossomed on her face.

Now that she’s wearing makeup, her principles have vanished and she agrees to travel to Paris for a fashion shoot and runway show. She kids herself by telling everyone that it’s because she wants to hang out with French philosophers. Kay laughs and tells her she doesn’t give a shit what she does so long as she does what she’s told.

The three of them travel to Paris and Kay sings her lungs out. The other two sing but we barely noticed them.

Seriously, most of the musical numbers (including this one) are more than a little lame, but Kay sells the hell out of every number and every scene she’s in. Aside from the gorgeous couture, she is the only reason to watch this film.

The next day, at the salon of prissy French designer Paul Duvall, Kay is simply BESIDE HERSELF. That DREADFUL GIRL never showed up for her fitting!

This movie is unfortunately lacking in the man meat, but Duvall’s actually kinda cute, weak chin notwithstanding.

Fred decides to go look for her and when he sees a stereotypical beatnik BEATING HIS GIRLFRIEND decides that this must be the place.

Sure enough, Audrey’s inside blabbing away about her pet philosophy, Empathicalism. She must say that word 200 times in this film.

The film takes a somewhat annoyingly snotty view of beatnik culture and in fact, it’s one of the aspects that dates it so badly because with the hindsight of a half century behind it, it’s clear just how wrong and off base they were about a subculture that literally wound up changing the world.

But at least we got an adorable dance sequence out of it:


Fred drags her outside and berates her and she petulantly agrees to show up for her fitting the next day.

Now, we normally don’t include clips of non-musical scenes, but this is probably the most iconic scene in the movie and damn if she doesn’t look absolutely breathtaking in those clothes (although we can’t help wanting to get a pair of tweezers and work on those eyebrows).

Is there a gay man alive who hasn’t breathlessly uttered “Take the pictchah! Take the pictchah!” whenever someone has a camera on them?

Anyway, the shoot ends with Audrey in a wedding dress outside a church and a lightbulb finally goes off over Fred’s head. “Say…this gal likes me! I better make my move.” Fashion photographers: sleazy principle destroyers.

But, this is a musical and instead of slapping him, she sits primly while he sings and dances for her. This is enough for her to declare her love and start calling him “Darling.”

Later, for no discernible reason, Kay and Audrey dress up like Eastern Europeans as Kay uses her man hands to demonstrate “How to be Lovely.” Even Kay couldn’t sell this number.

The night of the big unveiling, Audrey is nowhere to be found but Fred suspects she caught a case of principles again and knows where to find her.

Sure enough, she’s smoking weed and discussing Empathicalism with its founder while wearing couture. Models. What can you do?

Fred drags her out of there and tells her to wake up, baby. That Empathicalist guy just wanted to get into your Givenchy.

Their argument continues as they wait onstage for the curtain to rise on the new Quality girl and because there is both running water and a fan in the background, we know what happens next, don’t we kittens?

Oh!

COMEDY! Quel horreurs!

Audrey is humiliated and runs off.

The next day, as Kay and Fred read the press reports that make them out to be laughing stocks of the fashion industry, they decide to track Audrey down because they know she’s not going to show up that night for her runway show. This is when we know we’re in a musical, because Diana Vreeland would have spent the next day figuring out ways to destroy Audrey.

Anyway, they find out that she’s been invited to M. Empathicalist’s salon that night for some marijuana and sex. Just like Diana Vreeland and Richard Avedon would, they decide to dress up like beatniks and sneak her out of there. But first, Kay has to bring the house down:

That bitch is a FORCE OF NATURE, y’all. We said the same thing about Judy Garland: it’s really something when you don’t even notice Fred Astaire in a musical number. One thing we absolutely love about her here is she somehow manages to make her dancing look spontaneous, as if she’s just making it up on the spot, while at the same time hitting every mark dead perfect. Even Astaire doesn’t do that.


They find Audrey upstairs, empathicalizing with M. LeSleazy, so Fred knocks him out with a guitar. Seriously. Audrey scrunches up her widdle nose and tells them to get out. Fred is pissed and decides to take a flight home that very minute, because in musicals, there’s always a plane waiting to take you away from the girl in the third act.

After they leave, LeSleazy wakes up and Audrey realizes Fred was right all along, so she smashes a statue over his head. Congratulations, girl. You are now officially a self-absorbed fashionista. You may turn in your black turtleneck now.

Audrey shows up at Duvall’s salon looking for Fred but Kay commandeers her and says “Fuck that! You’ve got a runway show to do, bitch!”

Sigh. Unfortunately, they barely shot the runway sequence so you don’t get to see enough of the clothes. We’re not saying anything that hundreds of others haven’t said, but Audrey Hepburn was BORN to wear Givenchy.

At the airport, Fred runs into LeSleazy and finds out that Audrey knocked him out and left him. It’s funny because his bandages look like a turban! HAHA! Silly foreigners.

Fred heads back to the salon and learns that Audrey ran off looking for him. He runs off again to find her. Oh for Christ’s sake, stop dragging it out. And if you’re going to drag it out, have Kay sing or something.

Thankfully, they had some extra footage from the fashion shoot scene and Fred finds her there, in her wedding dress. How perfect. Sing, kiss, the end.

Next Week: It’s Too Darn Hot!

[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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  • K.

    thank GOODNESS it’s funny face, and not Grease as some people thought!

  • Annie

    Kiss Me, Kate! I hope it’s the 3D version where they throw stuff at the camera! I can’t wait!!

  • Jules

    Kay in Clap Yo Hands – the whole reason to watch the movie!

  • jinxy

    The clothes in this movie inspire me to this very day. I do so love this movie.

  • Anonymous

    The Vaginettes – you are too funny!
    Me2

  • marthachick

    Somewhere in my blue heaven, I’m hanging out with Kay and Rosalind Russell (as Mame, natch). And they’re teaching me to make cocktails.

  • KingRoper

    Not having seen this in awhile, I watched it this week so I could keep up with you… and you’ve said it all!
    Kay is a goddess (even with her man hands) – and you’re right: When the women in this flick dance with Astaire, you barely notice him! You’ve got to have some serious star presence to pull THAT off.

    Am I alone in thinking that the fashion shoot photos aren’t very good? And I never noticed that after the opening number, they all seem to have stopped thinking pink… well, that’s fashion! One day you’re in…

  • loyal kitten

    How French are the couple at the end of the ‘beatnik bar’ sequence? Gamine young women just flop down in their laps all the time!

    Thank you for making this most horrible week of finals have a bright spot. I’ll be quoting you all day!

  • Anonymous

    one of the gals i work with is in paris right now (lucky bitch)! she’s a doll though, and i certainly hope she’s running around channeling kay thompson and singing her guts out @ the top of the eiffel tower.
    marisha

  • thombeau

    THANK YOU, boys! You so got this picture right. Really it was made solely for KAY THOMPSON, who—as if she wasn’t fabulous enough—was also Liza’s godmother! Also DOVIMA, too divine, and let’s not forget SUZY PARKER, no slouch in the fabulosity department either.

    The plot and characters never really register in this flick, but the sheer fifties-ness of it all makes it worth repeated viewing.

    Can’t wait for “Kiss Me, Kate”! More ANN MILLER!

  • The Scarlett

    How much fun is it that Kay Thompson was Liza’s godmother?

    I adore this movie. I could do without all of the non-fabulous beatnik stuff but that iconic scene (without the singing) is to-die-for. And I have to say that I boycotted the Gap when they did their campaign using Audrey from this film.

    Admit it boys … you never wanted to be the fembots. Kay (or Dovima) all the way!

  • Bill

    “Kay shows up with the Vaginettes” – hysterical! I almost had to get up and leave my desk.

    The VHT (Vaginal Hat Theory) is now so deep in my consciousness that I let out an audible gasp when Audrey first put on the big, orange blossoming hat in the book store. I thought I was seeing her hoo-hoo.

    Two of the fashionistas working for Kay and featured in “Think Pink” are escapees from “7 Brides for 7 Brothers” – Babs (virginia Gibson) was Liza in 7B47B and Lettie (Ruta Lee) was Ruth in 7B47B. Glad to know they got away from those sexist Pontipee boys and made it to 1950′s NYC.

    Dovima’s given name was Dorothy Virginia Margaret Juba so you can see where the Do-Vi-Ma came from.

    One of the cafe patrons is Baroness Ella Van Heemstra who is better known as Audrey’s mama. Another cafe person is Roger Edens who was a composer/arranger/producer and one of the driving forces in the Freed Unit at MGM that turned out so many great musicals.

    Audrey’s character is based on model Suzy Parker. She was an early example of what would become known as ‘super models’. She has a cameo in the movie. And she is credited with this delicious quote about models, “I remember all the models eating raw hamburgers and living on codeine to keep up their energy. You never met a skinnier, meaner bunch of people.”

    I fell in love with Kay Thompson at an early age. She wrote the Eloise books which made me want to run off and live at the Plaza hotel (where both the fictional Eloise and the real live Kay lived). The character of Eloise was inspired by goddaughter Liza.

    I hate to admit this, but I actually put on a pink shirt this morning because I knew you guys were blogging Funny Face and I wanted to Think Pink all day.

  • frogboots

    musicals are such a perplexing genre to me. maybe if i watched one instead of just reading your version??

    and i’m glad you have the tweezers reaction to Audrey’s eyebrows too! I was afraid I was committing some sort of horrible faux-pas by wanting to do a little plucking.

    the Eloise books are to die for!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    bill, i always look forward to your take, and this week was not disappointed. k.

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant job this week!

  • Ash

    I love, love, love Audrey Hepburn and I hate, hate, hate this movie. I love fashion, too, but the idea that you can cure the “smart girl” by taking off her glasses and getting her some pretty dresses and a boyfriend really pisses me off.

  • Anonymous

    Why wasn’t Kay in everything? There just wasn’t enough Kay in this world…

  • Kristi

    Sigh….Givenchy….

  • ToddNY

    I LOVE this post, boys! FABULOUS!!

  • DivineQueen

    Kay Thompson, what a fabulous woman!
    I’ve always loved this movie. I just want to get on a plane and go to Pareeeh!

  • Anonymous

    A musical about fashion?!? How could you go wrong?

    (oops, forgot about “Coco”)

    Seriously, I LOVE this movie.

    Marty the Wizard

  • shiver72876

    Bill! I had never put two and two together! Now I have to go read all my Eloise books!

    Love you boys, Musical Mondays are my fave!

  • DanielDC

    Great post, guys!!

    You guys have to read this. It’s on Lypsinka’s site:

    “One day, when I was a kid, my mother brought home a book called “Eloise” by Kay Thompson with drawings by Hilary Knight. “Eloise” is the story of a precocious outrageous little girl who lived in a castle called The Plaza Hotel and she poured water down the mail chute. That always made sense to me, but I would never dare do it. And not only because there were no mail chutes in Hazlehurst, Mississippi.

    What I did do was pore over this book. Mr. Knight’s fold-out, diagramming Eloise’s rise and descent in the elevators and stairwells of The Plaza, appealed to the little engineer boy as well as the designing woman in me. But there was something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. A breeziness that transcended the everyday, permeated the book, and created a seminal influence that would never leave. It captured something inside me. It wasn’t just a children’s book. It was a way of life. [...]
    http://www.lypsinka.com/favorite/kay.html

    I love Lypsinka too!

  • Muse of Ire

    Audrey was 10,000 times more beautiful in her unmade-up, black-turtleneck-wearing phase than her Barbiefied, hair-pulled-back-to-Helsinki runway transformation.

    And why would one kiss from a bully 40 years older than you suddenly make you lose your principles, your fashion sense, and your common sense?

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    And why would one kiss from a bully 40 years older than you suddenly make you lose your principles, your fashion sense, and your common sense?

    True-Now I realized whyI’ve always shied away from Funny Face – the romance between Audrey and Astaire always gave off an odd vibe. Of course, the boys have now convinced me that I should see it because of Kay and Givenchy….

  • Anonymous

    Fred was only 20 years older than Audrey.

  • Anonymous

    No, he was 30 years older than her. He was born in 1899 and she was born in 1929. What’s really astounding is Fred is nine years older than Kay Thompson and she was in her late 40s here!

  • Marius

    Oh, I love Audrey and I really loved Funny Face. And Kay is also amazing; yeah, one could argue that Kay stole the show. The screen play was simple but effective. Great post!

  • Anonymous

    Sorry for the math error. Not my day today.

    If we’re willing to suspend belief for so many other reasons in movies, I’ve never understood why age difference is a problem. Especially since in real life there are so many couples with interesting age gaps.

  • ayla

    Kay looks something like Laura’s mom. Is that just me?

  • Anonymous

    yes, ayla, i think that’s just you. kay looks maybe a bit like a blonde laura. but lorraine has an oval face.

  • BrianB

    “This is what gay men see when they close their eyes and fall asleep.” Oh my freaking God, what you said!

    Looking at the screen captures I’m amazed at the art direction in this movie. The way a hit of color pops off the screen. Kay’s red suit in the runway disaster scene. Audrey’s blue wrap in the nightclub scene.

    I was always crazy about Fred’s raincoat and it’s always fun to see what color socks he’s wearing in his movies. Talk about knowing how to accessorize!

    I can’t say any more than what’s been already said about Kay and the heavenly Dovima.

    BrianB

  • littlekarnak

    Damn you, Boys! Another unseen musical to add to my Netflix list!!!! And BTW, I got to pull an Eloise and live in a hotel (a haunted one at that) for 6 months and even though it was nowhere near as fab as The Plaza, it was still pretty awesome!

  • macasism

    Vaginettes! bwahaha!

    Audrey is divine, even though she can’t sing. Where was Marni?

    If you two don’t stop dissing Fred, well I just don’t know what! Kay is fab and all, but I still watch Fred. Besides, he was like 60 when they made this film. Cut him some slack!

    We need a Fred & Ginger from the 30's. Gay Divorcee, maybe?

  • Anonymous

    Actually back then pairing Hepburn with someone Fred Astaire’s age was not so absurd.

    Many of Audrey Hepburn’s movies had her paired up with an older man- Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper. You cant blame them for falling for her-who wouldn’t?

  • Gorgeous Things

    I love it! I have to admit that I never cared for the movie, but your recaps are brilliant! Seeing the painters in “Think Pink”, all I could think of was the Oppma Loompas’ taller cousins!

  • jlp

    God, I love Givenchy! (I just wish I could afford Givenchy!)

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, it's a dorkfest of a movie, but the shot of Audrey in the Opera House in the gloves & red gown coming down the stairs, "Take the Picture" and I'm a puddle.
    Gorgeous!

    PS: Thanks, Bill, for the fantastic trivia bits (didn’t know FF was based on the life of Suzy Parker– what a fab dame! Who’s the photographer Fred’s based on? Avedon?).
    How’s the store coming?

  • Jeff

    Actually, isn’t that Audrey’s mother who gets smacked outside the cafe?

    I love the first half-hour or so of this film; up through the departure for Paris; after that, feh. Though I have frequently used Kay’s line about the magazine in my workplace: “D for Down, D for Dreary, Deeeee! for Dull and Dismal, Depressing and Deadly!”

    Hope you’ll someday get around to an equally nutty (though nowhere near as chic) model musical: “Cover Girl.”

  • brilliant

    And why would one kiss from a bully 40 years older than you suddenly make you lose your principles, your fashion sense, and your common sense?

    Um…cuz it’s been years since you’ve done the mattress mambo and you’re horny as hell???

  • lsaspacey

    Sadly none of those gay men are ever around when I’M yelling “Take the pictchah! Take the pictchah!” and everyone nearby looks at me like I’m a loony! LOL

    The real sad thing is even if I don’t say it, I ALWAYS think it.

  • K.

    I checke Baroness Ella Van Heemstra on IMDB, and her starmeter reading is up 245% !! thanks solely to this blog, i’m sure.

  • frogboots

    of course the much older man falls for the glam/gorgeous young thing.

    but i don’t know what audrey sees in fred. i mean, yeah, dude can dance – but he looks awfully gaunt and sinister in these pictures.

    we straight ladies want some sexy young MEN! to be ogling in the movies. not old fred. young fred, maybe. old guys – not so hot.

    (not to me, not yet, anyway. sorry: the old actor/very young actress thing is a pet peeve of mine. you so rarely see it the other way round…)

  • Anonymous

    Kay is FANTASTIC! I love Dovina, Kay and the Clothes –

    Fred Astaire creeps me out in this movie – poor Audrey, why is she always in movies with guys old enough to be her grandpa? “Sabrina” anyone?

    “Take the pictchah! Take the pictchah!” We say that at our house all of the time! My daughters’ prom pictures all have an “Audrey” shot or two as they sail down the stairs.

    Bill – can I be your friend? LOVE the connections you make. Thanks so much!

    PRGB’s – You make me wish Monday came more than once a week (well – you know what I mean!)

    Prof P

  • Vic

    I adore this movie. It’s so cheesy and over the top that its fabulosity factor skyrockets into space.

    Kay Thompson has to be my all time favorite “sidekick/shoulda been a star but she wasn’t pretty or young enough” actress. If she hadn’t been so tall or (ahem) mature, she would have been ancient Fred’s perfect leading lady.

    Fred and Audrey? Ha! Ha! Ha! Tee hee hee hee! It’s like watching daddy long legs romancing his daughter.

    See why this movie is so cheesily great? Once again your recap captures another wonderful musical. I’ll never have to see it again (except for the shoot sequence in Paris. Take the picture, Take the picture!)

  • The Scarlett

    I remember watching ‘The American Film Institue Salute to Fred Astaire.’ You had Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jimmy Stewart and James Cagney (among others) honoring the man. But when Audrey Hepburn stepped up to the microphone and talked about what it was like to dance with Astaire … well, I was a puddle. You see, Hepburn got that she was fulfilling the dream of so many women who just wanted to dance with him. It makes the odd May/September thing about Funny Face forgivable for me.

  • TheQuietOne

    After reading this highly entertaining treatment of Funny Face, I have realized that I’ve NEVER SEEN THE WHOLE MOVIE! I’ve only seen the beatnik parts! How can that be? I could have sworn… Must rectify this at once.

  • Red Seven

    I do the “take the pictchah” thing, but it’s the frozen smile homage to Funny Girl, not Funny Face. But who’s quibbling? I hated this movie, but love love love your retelling!!

  • Liz

    Great review! I’ve always loved the way Audrey Hepburn carried herself in this movie.

    PS I am still holding out for a Grease review, perhaps after all of the classic musicals have been exhausted. There are plenty of items to skewer in the movie (see: Travolta, John), but it still holds a special place in my heart. :)

  • bungle

    Just reading about the musicals is plenty for me every monday (or Tuesday in this case). But now I [i]have[/i] to see this particular flick because I wanna hear what they were going on about when using philosophy as a prop.

    Thanks again PRG’s!

  • Anonymous

    My favorite line from the movie?……..”It’s a VOOCHIE!!!”
    Love this movie,gentlemen…just love it!

  • Anonymous

    I am so in love with Audrey! This is a tad dated, but GOD! is this some romantic film!
    Kay’s only film ever!
    But…oh, Audrey!
    I am lucky enough to have an original vinyl LP of the soudntrack – cover is all hot pink, and only Audrey’s features.
    Sigh.

  • ChrisP

    OMG! Kay Thompson, also author of Eloise series!! Skipperdee, Weenie, Nannie, the Plaza. Hilary Knight’s illustrations are beyond compare.