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Breakfast at Tiffany’s Tag

When I was a kid my favorite movie directors were Alfred Hitchcock and Blake Edwards. No, I’m not that old, but the likes of Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese were far from standard bearers then. Hitchcock I knew primarily from TV screenings of his best pictures and reruns of the hit show that bore his name; the only film of his that I saw first run in a theater was his last, the slender Family Plot (1976).

But we never missed The Pink Panther movies. I didn’t quite know what they were, as there hadn’t been a new one since A Shot in the Dark in 1964. (Or, I should say, one that reunited star Peter Sellers with Edwards; no one remembers Alan Arkin in Bud Yorkin’s laughless Inspector Clouseau in 1968, and no one will remember the grim Steve Martin reboots in a few years.) But dad assured me that I would like The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) and since he was driving the car, what could I say?

Dad was right. We all loved it. He still laughs over the

Paramount Pictures has begun re-releasing many of their classic films as two-disc Centennial editions featuring remastered pictures enhanced for 16.9 TVs and Dolby digital sound. Two of the latest releases are couple of Audrey Hepburn’s most well-loved films: Funny Face, from 1957, and perhaps her most famous film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, from 1961. If you are a film lover and have seen neither before, you should consider taking a look at both of these. If you have seen them, these new editions present a wonderful opportunity to get reacquainted with them with the picture formatted to fit televisions of the 21st century.

funny-faceIn Funny Face, Hepburn portrays Jo, a bohemian bookstore clerk in Greenwich Village sucked into the world of high fashion by a photographer played by Fred Astaire (whose character was based on Richard Avedon). When Astaire’s Dick Avery storms into Jo’s bookstore for a spur-of-the-moment fashion shoot, he discovers that Jo has a unique and new look that would best represent the “woman who doesn’t have time for clothes.” Avery convinces Maggie Prescot, the president of a Vogue-like magazine called Quality, to hire Jo and take her to Paris to model a new collection. Jo wants nothing to do with the fashion world as it goes against her principles, but when she hears there is an opportunity to meet the professor of the philosophical movement she a part of, Jo goes along. Once in Paris, Jo discovers that Avery is not what she thought (and neither is that philosophy professor), and she has to search her heart for guidance when her principles and emotions are challenged.

Directed by the legendary Stanley Donen, Funny Face is a sendup of the fashion industry, much like Donen’s Singin’ in the Rain was a sendup of Hollywood. In the film, Donen does what he always did best, which is set up a scene for the musical numbers and film the choreography perfectly to showcase the dancers. Donen was also very stylistic in his editing, and utilized the widescreen format to use Paris locations for some of the big dance numbers. The songs are all Gershwin standards, so you can’t go wrong on that front. And Astaire, even though he was considerably older than Hepburn, still comes off as suave and debonair. Moreover, the man was so smooth in his dance steps that you understand why he inspired millions of kids to become hoofers back in the ’30s and ’40s. Kay Thompson, the renowned author of the Eloise books, is the third lead. She portrays Maggie with a cool mixture of confidence and bombast. The woman is a hoot.