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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Stanley Donen
USA 1957

 

The musical that dares to rhyme Sartre with Montmartre, Funny Face - surprisingly from Paramount rather than MGM - knocks most other musicals off the screen for its visual beauty, its witty panache, and its totally uncalculating charm. The beauty is most irresistible in the sylvan scene, shimmering through gauze, when Astaire and Hepburn find they 'empathise', to use the film's joke. The panache is most sustained in the 'Clap Yo' Hands' number, in which Astaire and Thompson shuffle on as a couple of beats and develop a dazzlingly inventive send-up. The charm is everywhere. Love triumphs over capitalist exploitation, joyless intellectualisation, and all things phony; and the thesis persuades because of the commitment and skill of the team and the lightness of the underrated Donen's touch.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 13th, 1957

Reviews                                                More Reviews                                         DVD Reviews

Comparison: 

Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC vs. Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the DVD Review!

1) Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC LEFT

2) Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

Also available in Europe:

 

The 50th Anniversary is also available in an Audrey Hepburn 5-DVD-Pack (Funny Face - SCE, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Roman Holiday, Sabrina and Paris When it Sizzles) available here:

      

Distribution

Paramount

Region 1, 4 - NTSC

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC

Paramount

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:43:12 1:43:08 1:43:18.609
Video

1.78:1 2001 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.47 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 2001 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 33,261,505,766 bytes

Feature: 24,233,785,344 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 25.47 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: 50th Anniversary

Bitrate: 2001 Release

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio DD 5.1 English, DD 2.0 mono English, DD 2.0 mono French, DD 2.0 mono Spanish, DD 2.0 mono Portuguese DD 5.1 English, DD 2.0 mono English DTS-HD Master Audio English 3399 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3399 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles Optional English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, none English (CC), none English (CC), French, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• The Fashion Designer and His Muse
• Parisian Dreams
• Paramount in the 1950s
• photo gallery
• original theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: October 2nd, 2007
Double-lock Keepcase

Chapters 19

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Paramount in the 1950s
• photo gallery
• original theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: April 10th, 2001
Keepcase

Chapters 19

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 33,261,505,766 bytes

Feature: 24,233,785,344 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 25.47 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Kay Thompson: Think Pink (26:38)
• This is VistaVision (24:42)
• Fashion Photographers Exposed (17:55)
• The Fashion Designer and His Muse (8:08)
• Parisian Dreams (7:40)
• Theatrical trailer (2:23)

Blu-ray Release Date: April 8th, 2014
Standard Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 19

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray - April 14': To me this seems like quite a solid 1080P upgrade in all areas, so for a change, I asked our ListServ for comments and, thankfully, David H. gave us this:

"Sorry to be the first patsy on this but it only happens to be my favourite musical of all time, the apex of Donen's amazing career in the fifties in which he made not a single wrong move, and of course the simple fact this is literally the very last great Arthur Freed MGM musical in fact shot at Paramount (with Roger Edens standing in for Freed) because Paramount wouldn't release Audrey from her contract so the whole movie, all planned for shooting at MGM was simply transferred intact (including Astaire who had a more flexible contract with MGM) and the entire production team for Paramount. It's a desert island movie for me. SO I am perhaps too sensitive about its treatment.

I have the French BD from 2012 ago which I am assuming is the same master and encode (movie only) as this Warner US disc. It's good, in fact it's very good, but why do I feel disappointed? When you compare this BD rendition of an 8 perf Vistavision/Technicolor production to some of Paramount's earlier releases, notably Ten Commandments, White Christmas and My Geisha there are two words that spring to mind: Ron Smith. Ron was working at Paramount as VP Archives for a few years and personally supervised the remastering and Blu-ray transfers of these titles through his time there with meticulous, (and probably very expensive) care. They are startlingly close to original Vistavision to 35mm IB reduction prints, in fact they possibly look even better than first release. The "High Fidelity" video aspects are all here - tight ultra refined grain, apparent razor sharp detail, deep inky black levels, massive contrast range and eye popping color which can really be shown off these days with Blu-ray standard .709 wide color spacing.

Sadly, Ron left (was sacked by) Paramount before being able to start on Funny Face for BD and before he had run final encode tune ups for Samson and Delilah. The DeMille was finished by Andrea Kalas who took over as VP Archive and Funny Face as far as I know was based on the earlier master (presumably 2k rather than 4k) which was done for the excellent SD Centenary version DVD. What we get from Kalas' team in the Blu-ray now is very good, but I cannot help thinking it should have been ramping up the quality - sharper, more control over the two or three fog filter scenes for depth, much more poppy color, and that incredible sense of depth and stability that Ron Smith brought to his own mastering of the VV titles (and the standard 1.85 Breakfast at Tiffanys.) There are only a handful of people doing mastering like Ron - James White, Dave Mackenzie and Lee Kline and Maria Palazzola at Criterion. They have the "magic touch" that the others can only envy and learn from.

I seem to be a lone voice on this, and of all the things to complain about these days it hardly seems like a major let down.
" (Thanks David!)

The Blu-ray looks, sounds and advances on the supplements over the past SDs and for those keen on the film make it an easy purchase!

***

ADDITION: We've added the release from 2001 for comparison. I think some of Eddie's points below hold true for the new 50th Anniversary but I'd like to specifically embellish upon this:

'...it looks like Funny Face was given some sort of clean-up work...' -  this may be vastly understating it. With the captures below it is quite obvious the healthy degree of improvement the new 50th Anniversary DVD has over the older 2001 release. Colors and detail are remarkably superior and artifacts are significantly removed from the image. The new DVD is smoother and better in every visual area. The older had some reddish skin tones and plenty of marks and damage (usually in the last frames of each scene). In a few scenes the new transfer shows less information in the frame - surprising.  The new may be one of the better looking discs, and most advanced improvements in SD (over older editions), for the year 2007.

The older release offered no DUBs but the same 2.0 and 5.1 channel tracks. The new, it should be noted, was also region 4 - and is set to sell in South America as well (hence it offers Portuguese and Spanish subtitles - as well as French).

As Eddie noted the old edition included the, hardly relative, Paramount in the 1950s” featurette where the new has those featurettes.

The bottom line is that the Anniversary SD improves in all areas and quite dramatically in the image. Certainly for only $4 more (and less than $15 total) it is a ridiculous bargain.

Gary Tooze

***

EDDIE ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY: Video: I no longer have the first R1 DVD since I gave it to my sister, but looking at a review that I wrote, it seems that the video quality left much to be desired. I wrote that the previous DVD had a lot of white spackles and that the colors of certain objects (such as the doors at the offices of “Quality” magazine) seem to change for no reason. Some objects can’t make up their minds as to whether or not they want to be pink or orange during the “Think Pink” scene. The soft-focus lenses used for outdoor scenes create gelatinous bubbles enveloping the dancing Hepburn and Astaire. I couldn’t help but laugh as the actors resemble floating Jell-O packets sometimes.

As with To Catch a Thief, another VistaVision title from Paramount’s 1950s run, it looks like Funny Face was given some sort of clean-up work, including color correction. I don’t know if a restoration of the film elements took place, but the movie looks surprisingly clean and detailed. The new DVD (also 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen) solves most of the color problems, though shots with extreme soft focus probably could not be saved from looking like Vaseline sculptures.

Audio:
A newly-created Dolby Digital 5.1 English track is available, but purists might opt for the restored DD 2.0 English original mono track (single channel doubled to the left and right front speakers). Surround use is virtually non-existent; the audio is very front-heavy. The bass makes an appearance only during some of the song-and-dance numbers, though most of the aggressive effects are flat or even muffled due to the limited dynamic range of the movie’s production period. The DD 5.1 track does open up the sound field of the film, but given the age of the original elements, Funny Face will not test your audio system’s limits.

You can also watch the movie with DD 2.0 mono French, Spanish, and Portuguese dubs. Optional English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles as well as optional English closed captions support the audio.

Extras:
Funny Face receives two new extras for its second DVD bow in Region 1. First up is “The Fashion Designer and His Muse”, which details Audrey Hepburn’s professional collaboration with Hubert Givenchy. “Parisian Dreams” is a sort of “making of” featurette that is fairly different from what I’m used to seeing. A couple of talking heads talk about the themes and the use of Paris as a mythical place for romance.

The remaining extras were ported from the previous DVD edition. The “Paramount in the 1950s” featurette has little to do with Funny Face itself aside from the fact that the film was made by the studio during the stated time period. You also get a photo gallery and the movie’s original theatrical trailer.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng  

 


Menus

 

(Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC LEFT vs. Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)
 

 

 

 

 

Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM


Subtitle sample - NOTE: Not exact frame!

 

 


 

1) Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Paramount (50th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1, 4 - NTSC TOP

2) Paramount (2001 release) - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

 

Also available in Europe:

 

The 50th Anniversary is also available in an Audrey Hepburn 5-Pack (Funny Face - SCE, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Roman Holiday, Sabrina and Paris When it Sizzles) available here:

      

Distribution

Paramount

Region 1, 4 - NTSC

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC

Paramount

Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

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