Audrey Hepburn stars in her first screen musical (and did all her own singing) alongside the doyen of dance, 57-year-old Fred Astaire, who is still spry, graceful and charming.
Directed by Stanley Donen, the ‘Cinderella’ story tells of Jo Stockton (Hepburn) – a Greenwich Village bluestocking who is transformed into a top model by Quality magazine fashion photographer Dick Avery (Astaire), in the face of opposition from his editor, Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson).
Around this – and a subplot that takes a side-swipe at phony intellectuals – a spell is woven of song, dance, Paris locations and a spectacular Givenchy wardrobe for Hepburn.
The film was made under the supervisory eye of photographer Richard Avedon, on whom Astaire’s character is said to be based.
From the first Paris number, Bonjour Paree, where Astaire, Thompson and Hepburn run into each other atop the Eiffel Tower in triple split-screen, through the outdoor photo sessions, to the romantic finale (S’Wonderful) in a churchyard, the film lovingly captures Paris – and the magic essence of Audrey.
And it does so in a swirl of energy and high spirits, wonderfully orchestrated by Donen, a former dancer, choreographer and an integral member of MGM’s famous Freed unit.