“Take the picture, take the picture!” Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face – with a little help from Richard Avedon

Funny Face 1957 Audrey Hepburn

18 comments

    • I’ve been going through a pile of photographs and the thing that strikes me about her expressions is that they are so vital – really beautiful. Thanks for dropping by, Christina 🙂

  1. Now let me show you how boring I really am! The statue is La Victoire de Samothrace (aka Nike of Samothrace)- it dates from the 2nd century 😀 It’s housed at the Louvre at the top of the Daru staircase where I imagine this picture was taken (long before they installed the bronze handrails)

    • Hardly! That old Nike is thrilling — it’s been a very, very, long time since I’ve been to Paris, and I don’t remember much about what’s IN the Louvre, I remember the building and the grounds, and I remember standing at the bottom of those stairs and seeing that statue and feeling my heart leap, and I wanted to yell, but I didn’t. The only other piece of art that got a rise out of me like that was a Monet at the Art Institute in Chicago. Thank you for helping me recall that.

  2. George Kaplan

    Audrey. Luminous. Unmatchable.
    Splendid choreography, design, direction, and cast aside, Funny Face is problematic for me because of Fred Astaire. Yet another May-December romance in the Audrey Hepburn filmography this one seems obscene because Fred just isn’t right for her. It gives me the creeps. Yet I can happily watch My Fair Lady even though the idea of Eliza being with that monstrous Higgins is at least as obscene (throw those slippers at the old wretch, Miss Dolittle) and Lady is arguably clunky. But Audrey. Jeremy Brett. “I Could Have Danced All Night” etc. I can’t resist.

    • I agree – at the start of her career there were a number of improbable screen pairings. It leaves me to wonder if her casting in these roles was a little reflective of Hollywood. This town is full, and was full, of older powerful men trading in their age appropriate wives and starting second families with significantly younger women…
      I think in “Funny Face” Mr. Astaire was some 35 years older than Miss Hepburn. Very creepy, indeed!

  3. Hal

    *35 years?!* That’s just one year younger than me! I knew it was a lot but not that many.
    I agree with your observation regarding the familiar Hollywood age-gap. Of course there’s nothing wrong with a relationship with partners of differing ages if its really love (after all, there’s many appealling more “mature” women!) but that doesn’t seem to be what’s behind this familiar movie trope. I’m inclined to your view and to the thought of the double standard.
    The other thing that creeps me out about Funny Face is the Astaire character’s attitude to Ms Hepburn, which is made even worse by the age thing. It reminds me of Jimmy Stewart’s character’s awful very ’50s condescending & paternalistic attitude toward his much younger co-star (Kim Novak) in Bell, Book, and Candle. Compare that with Vertigo, in which the older Stewart’s attempt to control his younger “dream” woman (Novak again!) and its disasterous result is the whole point of the movie. Or Rear Window in which L. B. Jeffries’s ridiculous resistance to the charms of Lisa. Carol. Freemont. is cast as implicitly crippling. And Lisa, though presented in part as a sexy fantasy figure, is lively, witty, and has power over him that he tries to reject (her youth certainly doesn’t make her subservient and what kind of fool would the old fellah have to be to spurn her?). Uhm, in my opinion, at least…

    • On Broadway the leads in “Bell, Book, and Candle” were played by Lilli Palmer and Rex Harrison… and the play suddenly made a whole lot more sense. Imagine if Jean Arthur or Katharine Hepburn had been cast opposite James Stewart in the film, a much more dynamic drama just by virtue of the fact they were peers.
      Now that you point it out – I can’t think of a single movie in which Grace Kelly didn’t have a ridiculously older love interest. (Okay, maybe William Holden.)
      “Rear Window”, ach, a Hitchcock film! Inherently perverse!
      Here’s my unbidden romantic advice. Never get involved in a relationship where either partner (age-wise) could be the parent of the other – a fourteen year gap is about the limit.
      Hugs to you, George aka Hal 😉

  4. George Kaplan

    Jean Arthur. Yes! Curiously, I thinking of her in relation to something else yesterday (“lost” actresses, Kathleen Byron, Madeleine Carroll. Not that Ms Arthur had a bad career but she seems not to linger in the popular memory). She’d have been great.
    You are, of course, right about Grace. It only goes to prove your theory. As for your advice, you are indeed wise, tho the ways of the heart are treacherous! Not that I’m talking about myself you understand. 😉
    I hope you don’t mind me saying that I love your web log, it brought cheer when I was feeling gloomy and is full of marvellousness. Um, if that doesn’t sound too Clifton Webb ie camp. It’s daunting (but fun) trying to respond to someone so sharp, witty, and knowledgeable but I’m trying… 🙂
    Yours, with affection, George (otherwise Hal…)

    • Glad your gloom has lifted.

      Carroll – unforgettable in “The 39 Steps, Byron – didn’t she debut in a Powell and Pressburger film – I think it was “A Matter of Life and Death” – still one of the most compelling opening sequences of film ever made.

      Now, George… George Kaplan… Hm… Watch out, darling. Pretty soon I’ll be mistaking you for Cary Grant.

  5. George Kaplan

    Yes, Madeleine is great there isn’t she, she’s good in Topper too of course with some English fellow named Grant, whatever happened to him?
    Kathleen Byron was indeed in the magnificent Matter, and as you say is so memorable (I think Dickie Attenborough appeared then as well, in yet another uniform). She’s matchless in Black Narcissus, acting Deborah Kerr off the screen, as Sister Ruth. She’s supposed to be driven mad by desire but I always sympathized with her! It was the hairy-legged object of her affections I couldn’t understand. Yes, she tries to kill him but hey! everyone makes mistakes… She’s great and photographed ravishingly by Jack Cardiff. Sadly she was in a relationship with Powell that went sour, and she was branded as “difficult”. A great shame. Seeing her in those roles H was so disappointed that she didn’t have the career she deserved. Sorry, I *do* go on I know… It’s an affliction.
    Cheri, I have no idea what you mean… Although, wasn’t Cary as Roger O Thornhill only mistaken for George Kaplan, a man who did not exist? 🙂 If I only had the panache, charm and wit of Cary (tho’ Cary was Archie)! If I were to admit anything and I admit nothing, I might say that my real name could be R… But then things would get confusing! (and these exclamation marks are out of control)
    Have a delightful weekend. R. (or G or H)

  6. I like Audrey Hepburn fine, but if I had to choose between Hepburns it would be Katherine all the way. Stubborn, strong, obnoxious in a great way, not afraid to wear the pants (literally), and more interesting than beautiful.

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