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.
Official Synopsis: Donen and screenwriter Leonard Gershe's adaptation of George Gershwin's 1927 Broadway musical of the same name utilizes the play's original star, Fred Astaire, and several of the original tunes, then goes merrily off on its own. Astaire is cast as as fashion photographer Dick Avery (a character based on Richard Avedon, the film's "visual consultant"), who is sent out by his female boss Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) to find a "new face". It doesn't take Dick long to discover Jo (Audrey Hepburn, who does her own singing), an owlish Greenwich Village bookstore clerk. Acting as Pygmalion to Jo's Galatea, Dick whisks the wide-eyed girl off to Paris and transforms her into the fashion world's hottest model.
Along the way, he falls in love with Jo, and works overtime to wean her away from such phony-baloney intellectuals as Professor Emile Flostre (Michel Auclair). 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:
So: five extra items and the original trailer included in this US release. The UK one - the same as the European release generally - has nothing at all. Like Chinatown. Like Terms of Endearment. Like Marathon Man. Like Rosemary's Baby. Like any number of other Paramount releases that go out of their way to insult non-US markets
It may be due to three different causes:
- the European disc has to make some room for the added dubs and subtitles (not likely)
- Paramount doesn't want to handle licensing for the extras, as the situation might be slightly different with every European country (not likely)
- Paramount doesn't want to pay for the translation of the extras. (most likely)
Rosemary's Baby is a different situation, as it is handled by Criterion in the US.
I hope Paramount is doing a full restoration like they did with "the ten commandments" so I think the movie could looks beautiful. But I was already disappointed by "War and Peace".
Big shame about Paramount that they don't add for the European Market the extras anymore. Was already disappointed with "The Ten Commandments", "Chinatown", "Sunset Boulevard", "To Catch a Thief" etc.
What about "War and Peace"? It didn't had any extras too.
"Funny Face" was an elegant movie that helped to establish the "skinny look" in fashion modeling that persists to this day (happily, Audrey doesn't "prance" the way today's models do). The movie was shot in hi-def VistaVision with many eye-popping photographic effects, so it has the potential to be a dazzler of a Blu-ray release. Unfortunately, it is being released by Warner, instead of Paramount, so it may not receive the additional TLC it would need to achieve that potential.
BTW, the extras, all of which are from the previous DVD versions, aren't very impressive and aren't worth the griping that has been going on here. The movie is the most important thing.
This is unique to Paramount. No other major studio so regularly removes all extras for their European releases. I don't think Fox has ever removed anything here that was on a US transfer (when we get them at all, that is). Why wouldn't technical considerations of space usage apply to them, since they have exactly the same line-up of subtitle languages? It seems to be nothing more than meanness and commercial discrimination, and it must make Warners - who've never removed anything from their own or MGM releases either and who handle any amount of the Paramount back-catalogue's distribution for them - wonder what the hell's going on in Sunset Boulevard...