The always-resplendent Audrey Hepburn headlines the latest releases on DVD from the Paramount Centennial Collection timed in conjunction with her 80th birthday anniversary. Both films will be available in a two-disc set including an eight-page memorabilia booklet and additional all-new bonus features, in numbered series packaging. A selection of the most treasured films from Paramount’s nearly 100-year history, the Paramount Centennial Collection ensures that these digitally remastered classic motion pictures will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire Star in This Movie Classic as Part of the Paramount Centennial Collection
One of Hollywood’s all-time favorite leading ladies can now appear in your home asBreakfast at Tiffany’s and Funny Face (1957) just arrived on DVD this week from Paramount Home Entertainment. Audrey Hepburn stars alongside Fred Astaire as Jo Stockton, a shy, modern-thinking, bookish salesgirl whose bookstore “Embryo Concepts” becomes the impromptu setting of a photo shoot. When she catches the eye of the photographer (Fred Astaire), she reluctantly allows him and “Quality Magazine” to transform her into an international supermodel on a French photo shoot. Her ulterior motive is to get to Paris and attend the famous philosopher and professor Emile Flostre’s lectures about empathicalism.
If you are an Audrey Hepburn fan (and really, who isn’t?) or a fan of Gap commercials, or the wonderful fashions of the late 1950s, you will want this film. It should relate to modern viewers if for nothing else than the sequence in the Paris cafe that made it into the Gap “Skinny Black Pants” commercials where Audrey is shown stepping from the film into the ad saying, “I rather feel like expressing myself now. And I could certainly use the release. If a girl wants to dance, a girl wants to dance. It’s a form of expression.”
Directed by Stanley Donen, Funny Face also stars Kay Thompson, Michael Auclair and Robert Fleming and features the music of George and Ira Gershwin through Paris. The film was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Writing, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costumes.
The inimitable Edith Head designed the sumptuous dresses and gowns, and both the fashions and scenes of Paris are classic eye-candy. However, there is absolutely no romance or chemistry between Hepburn and Astaire, and I cringed the three times he kissed her. He is still light on his feet in this film… but there is too much dancing and singing, and it makes the movie, which is only 103 minutes, seem much, much longer.
Some of the songs are familiar and pleasant to hear, however, and it is nice to hear Hepburn actually do her own singing, in her sweet, somewhat breathy voice. There is a lot to love in Funny Face. It blends the best of old Hollywood with a world that is changing into more modern times.
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
In honor of her 80th birthday (Hepburn was born on May 4, 1929), Audrey Hepburn returns to the screen in two movies which released on January 13, 2009, for Paramount Home Entertainment’s Centennial Collection: Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hepburn stars as Holly Golightly, a New York City socialite who is seeking to discover who she is in the big city. As she flits from both one relationship to the next and from one party to the next, her sad story of a life of poverty and marriage at age 14 comes to light. Holly is utterly charming and completely manipulative as she breezily charms men into giving her money. But the viewer discovers that flighty Holly wants the money so she can provide a home for her slow brother, who is in the Army but getting out soon.
Holly’s one friend is Paul Varjak, the new guy next door (gigolo to none other than Patricia Neal), played by a breathtakingly handsome George Peppard. If you remember George Peppard as Col. John “Hannibal” Smith from “The A-Team,” this is him 30 years younger in arguably his greatest acting role and the high point of his career.
This movie is being billed as a “comedic adventure,” but I found little humor in this tale of two lost souls trying desperately to find love and security. The first time I saw this movie about a decade ago, I found it tedious as Holly moved from one mistake to the next. However, this time through, although I still found the plot about two young people who use sex for money disturbing, I also found it touching in places, especially when Paul Varjak finally rips the blinders off Holly’s eyes.
Hepburn and Peppard are both believable as two lonely, unhappy young people who use others to get what they want, who think money will solve their problems, and who ultimately fall somewhat neurotically in love.
My favorite thing about Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the beautiful and timeless theme song, “Moon River.” Hepburn’s singing of “Moon River” (as Holly on her brownstone landing) helped earn an Oscar for Best Song for composer Henry Mancini and lyricist Johnny Mercer. This song has been one of my favorites since I was a child.
Directed by Academy AwardÂ®-nominee Blake Edwards, the film also stars Buddy Ebsen and Mickey Rooney. The film not only won an OscarÂ® for Best Song (“Moon River”), it also won for Best Score, and was nominated for Best Actress, Best Writing and Best Art Direction.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is 114 minutes long and is not rated. I would date it a PG-13 for adult situations.
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