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Posts Tagged ‘audrey hepburn’

Richard Benson (William Holden) is a screenwriter who is due to deliver his latest script in two days time, but hasn’t even started it yet.  He hires Gabrielle Simpson (Audrey Hepburn) to type the script, and she ends up helping him write it.  As they work, they imagine themselves as the characters in the screenplay, and envision each other acting the scenes out.

This was Audrey Hepburn’s least favourite of her films, and it’s fair to say that it probably is one of worst of both her films and William Holden’s films, but that is partly because they both made some truly wonderful films during their respective careers.  By all accounts, this was quite an ordeal to make, because Holden, who was in the grip of his alcoholism, tried to rekindle his previous relationship with Hepburn, but by this time she was married, and therefore not interested.  Holden was hospitalised for his drinking during filming, which probably didn’t help matters.  There’s a bittersweetness to watching this because the character Richard Benson also drinks too much alcohol; also, I think Paris When It Sizzles is the movie where you can start to see the damage that alcoholism has caused to Holden’s good looks.  He looks tired and drawn, and it’s sad to see.  Audrey, as ever, is beautiful and radiant, and just adorable.

However, the film itself is actually quite a lot of fun, despite being a flop when it was released, and being critically panned.  Hepburn and Holden were both fantastic actors (two of my favourites), and do a good job here.  The script is contrived in places, but I kind of thought that it was supposed to be – this is a hack screenwriter doing a rush job, after all.  There are quite a few in-jokes or references to other films, including some of Audrey’s, and plenty of familiar plot devices are used – but that’s kind of the point.  Tony Curtis has a very small role in the film – he agreed to do it when Holden went into  hospital, in order that the crew could keep working – and he certainly makes the most of it.  His scenes are actually some of the funniest in the film.  There is also a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Marlene Dietrich, as herself.  Additionally, when Benson says that the name of his screenplay is The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower, and Frank Sinatra could sing the theme song, Sinatra’s voice is actually heard singing a few lines, including the title itself.

I would say that the film is lightweight, but still enjoyable, and is also quite clever in parts, with a few digs at the Hollywood film industry.  I’d recommend it to fans of Hepburn and/or Holden.

Year of release: 1964

Director: Richard Quine

Producers: George Axelrod, Richard Quine, John R. Coonan, Carter De Haven Jr.

Writers: Julien Duvivier (story ‘La fete a Henriette’), Henri Jeanson (story ‘La fete a Henriette’), George Axelrod

Main cast: William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, Gregoire Aslan, Noel Coward, Tony Curtis

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Richard Dreyfuss is daredevil pilot Pete Sandich, who specialises in putting out forest fires, and Holly Hunter is his girlfriend Dorinda Durston, who loves him, but worries about his safety, particularly as he shows no real caution when flying.  Pete is killed in an accident, and in the afterlife he meets an angel (for want of a better word) named Hap, played by Audrey Hepburn in her last film role.  Following her advice, he tries to help his girlfriend through her grief, and mentor novice pilot Ted Baker(!), who falls for Dorinda.

I only really wanted to watch this film for Audrey Hepburn’s appearance.  She isn’t in the film for long, but her parts are lovely, and who better than Audrey to play a serene angel?  She had largely retired from acting at this point, and died four years after this film was made, but it is a fitting role for her swan song.

The film itself was hugely enjoyable, but you will DEFINITELY need tissues, because it is a real tearjerker.  Dreyfuss and Hunter are excellent, and the relationship between Pete and Dorinda is really believable.  John Goodman provides excellent support as Pete’s friend Al, who tries to look out for Dorinda after Pete’s death.  And Brad Johnson plays Ted Baker with sympathy.  Although Pete is hearthbroken to think of Dorinda being with someone else, Johnson makes Ted such a nice guy that it’s hard not to root for  him too.

This film is a remake of A Guy Named Joe (1943), and there are also similarities with Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore film Ghost, although Always preceded Ghost.  (I mean honestly, if Unchained Melody makes you cry because of Ghost, I’m sure that Smoke Gets In Your Eyes will have the same effect after watching Always!)

Overall, this is a beautifully acted, gentle and emotional film.  As mentioned earlier, I watched it purely because of Audrey Hepburn, but it is well worth seeing on its own merits.  I definitely recommend it.

Year of release: 1989

Director: Steven Spielberg

Producers: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Richard Vane

Writers: Jerry Belson, Dalton Trumbo (screenplay ‘A Guy Named Joe’), Frederick Hazlitt Brennan (screenplay adaptation ‘A Guy Named Joe’), Chandler Sprague (story ‘A Guy Named Joe’), David Boehm (story ‘A Guy Named Joe’)

Main cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Brad Johnson, Audrey Hepburn

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This book is a basically a lifestyle and looks guide, with Audrey Hepburn as inspiration (and really, who better?).  There are also several stories from Audrey’s life (although, as is stated in the introduction, this is not a biography).  Split into sections such as clothes, home, romance, etc., the book tells us what Audrey would do (hmm…) and gives advice on how readers can be more like Audrey.  At this point, it seems fair to point out that I am a big fan of Audrey Hepburn, both as an actress, and a person.

What I liked about it: This book is adorably pretty, if unashamedly girly (but it is aimed squarely at women); it’s about Audrey, who is so adored by many, including myself; there is quite a lot of biographical info in here; some of the tips are do-able.

What I didn’t like about it: You need money (lots) to do some of the things suggested, although by no means all of them; the book encourages people to find their own style while also telling readers how to adopt Audrey’s style (!?); there is quite a lot of ‘filler’ – for example, a list on how to tell the differences between Audrey and that other great actress named Hepburn, Kate.  It’s a fair bet that anyone reading this already knows which one is which, after all; it assumes a lot about what Audrey would have liked or things she would have done, were she still with us.

Overall, it’s a nice book for fans, if for no other reason than it will look lovely on a bookshelf.  However, I think the time spent reading it would be better spent on reading a good biography of Miss Hepburn, or watching some of her films.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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Audrey Hepburn is Nicole Bonnet, a young woman living in Paris, whose father is a successful art forger.  When the father lends a ‘priceless statue’ (which is in reality a forgery by his father) to a famous Parisian museum, Nicole has to steal it back before scientific tests prove that the piece is a forgery, and her father’s criminal activities are exposed.  Nicole enlists the help of suave ‘society burglar’ Simon Dermott, and together the two of them embark on a madcap adventure…

Well, this is a great little movie.  I love Audrey Hepburn, and as ever, she is truly beautiful and classy here (and wears some stunning outfits – look out for the black one with the face veil which she wears when she first meets Simon at The Ritz).  Although I wouldn’t put this film in the same class as Roman Holiday, Sabrina or Funny Face, it really is entertaining and a lot of fun – and Audrey acts her socks off.  Peter O’Toole, so young in this film, is lovely too.  He’s incorrigible, suave, cheeky, and very endearing.  O’Toole was perfect for this role, and made a perfect on screen partner for Audrey.

The plot itself is a lot of fun, and there are some genuinely funny moments, many courtesy of Hugh Griffith, who played Nicole’s father.  My favourite parts were the scene where Nicole and Simon first meet (it’s not revealing any spoilers to say that she catches him breaking into their house), and the closet at the museum (which I won’t say more about here).

The chemistry between the two leading characters is great – they bounce off each other and suit each other perfectly.  They certainly seem to be having the time of their life in Paris.

In short, this may not be a movie which will stay with me in the way that Roman Holiday or Sabrina has done, but it’s a very enjoyable couple of hours, which left me with a smile on my face.  Well worth watching!

Year of release: 1966

Director: William Wyler

Writers: George Bradshaw, Harry Kurnitz

Main cast: Audrey Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Eli Wallach

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This is Billy Wilder’s fabulous 1954 movie - based on the play ‘Sabrina Fair’ by Samuel A Taylor - starring the luminescent Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina Fairchild, a young girl who is in love with David Larrabee (William Holden), the younger son of the family her father is the chauffeur for.  David, who is irresponsible and a playboy, hardly knows Sabrina exists, but when she comes back from two years in France and is now a sophisticated young woman, he falls for her – despite being engaged to another woman with whose family, David’s older brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart) is hoping to secure a business proposition.  In order to keep David and Sabrina apart, and thus protect his business, Linus starts spending time with Sabrina to keep her away from his brother.  But then, he finds his own feelings towards her changing…

Okay I admit it – I am a little bit in love with Audrey Hepburn.  She has such an incredible charm, and she is perfect for this role.  She plays the part to perfection and it’s easy to see how not just one, but both brothers would fall in love with Sabrina.  William Holden (who fell in love with Audrey while they were making the film) is also excellent as the rascalish David; despite everything he’s hard to dislike, because while the character is selfish and irresponsible, he isn’t malicious – and he provides some great comedy.  Humphrey Bogart was a last minute replacement for the part of Linus – originally the role was supposed to be played by Cary Grant.  While I think Grant was a terrific actor, I actually think that Bogart might have been a better choice for the role.  Sabrina is supposed to be surprised by her growing feelings for Linus, because she has been in love with his younger brother for as long as she can remember.  Linus is an unusual choice of partner for her….but who could be surprised by anyone in a movie falling for the charming and handsome Cary Grant?  Linus was not supposed to be handsome and charming.  If Bogart seems a little cold in this role, I’d guess that that might be intentional.

This film is over 50 years old now, it’s black and white and all of the stars are sadly no longer with us (all dying relatively young).  Yet, it still has plenty of sparkle and feels fresh; it’s an absolute pleasure to watch.  There are moments of tenderness, but there are some very funny scenes as well, and an excellent supporting cast (most notably John Williams and Walter Hampden).  I loved watching Sabrina’s and Linus’ respective surprise as it dawned on them that they had feelings for each other.

Overall, this is a very sweet, humorous and clever romantic comedy, which deserves it’s status as a classic.  It’s probably more geared to a female audience, but I would certainly recommend it to anybody who likes good movies.

Year of release: 1954

Director: Billy Wilder

Writers: Samuel A Taylor (play), Billy Wilder, Ernest Lehman

Main cast: Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Humphrey Bogart

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Click here for my review of the 1995 adaptation.

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This film stars Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson, and is a wonderfully cheerful musical made in 1957.  Astaire is Dick Avery, photographer for fashion magazine Quality.  When he meets Jo Stockton (Hepburn) working in a bookshop specialising in titles about philosophy, he decides that she would make a perfect model.  But Jo is not interested in the world of fashion, believing it to be shallow and unimportant.  However, she is desperate to go to Paris and meet her hero, philosopher Emil Flostre, and when she learns that the modelling assignment Dick wants her for is in Paris, she agrees to go.  Inevitably they start to fall for one another, but Jo and Dick are from different worlds, and sometimes those world clash…

Even though I don’t often choose to watch musicals, I found this film enchanting, and great fun.  Audrey Hepburn is as beautiful as ever, and it’s impossible not to love her.  She is great as the idealistic Jo, who finds herself drawn into an unfamiliar world.  Fred Astaire is also great as Dick Avery, and showcases his fabulous dancing.  (However, my favourite dance sequence from the film was that which Hepburn performed the first time she went to the philosophy hang out – with her hair scraped back and dressed in plain black top and trousers, she is still luminescent and stunning.)  Kay Thompson, as the editor of Quality was simply outstanding – she was hilarious, and her dancing and singing was great.

The film looks gorgeous – it’s set in New York, then Paris, and the latter city is shown off extremely well.  There are also some lovely outfits on show (it is a film about a model for a fashion magazine after all).  I really liked the songs and the dancing – as well as my aforementioned favourite dance sequence, I also especially liked the ‘Bonjour Paris’ song, where the three main characters all explore Paris on their own before meeting up at the Eiffel Tower.

Even if you’re not a fan of musicals, I’d recommend giving this film a watch – it’s feel-good, it looks good, and it’s a lot of fun.

Year of release: 1957

Director: Stanley Donen

Writer: Leonard Gershe

Main cast: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson

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In this classic movie, Audrey Hepburn is a princess (of a country which is never named), who comes to Rome on official business.  Despairing of her pampered lifestyle and lack of freedom, she escapes from her country’s embassy, deciding to explore Rome by herself.

She soon meets up with cynical journalist Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), who initially thinks she is drunk, but soon realises her true identity, and sees the opportunity for a great story.  Princess Anne does not realise that Bradley is a journalist, and he doesn’t reveal that he knows who she is.  Instead, he takes her to see many of the sights of Rome, and gradually their feelings for each other develop.  But Anne has duties to her country and knows that her pretend life as an ordinary citizen cannot last….

I watched this film for the first time, the night that I got back from a mini break in Rome, and I adored the movie.  Black and white films are not something I would normally choose to watch, but this was a true classic – amusing, incredibly charming and romantic.  Much like the two leads.  Peck and Hepburn on screen are like genetic perfection, and both of them are perfect in their respective roles.  (It was in fact Audrey Hepburn’s debut film, and she won as Oscar for her part.)  Peck is gorgeous, but he is world weary and while he is a decent and kind man, his only care initially is for writing an exclusive scoop on the princess – but his feelings change as he comes to know her.  Hepburn meanwhile is cute, innocent in a child like way and very funny, capturing the vulnerability and loneliness of the princess in her ivory tower, and infusing her character with a great deal of fun on her ‘day off’.  I defy anyone to watch this movie and not fall a little bit in love with her.  The setting of Rome is of course beautiful and lends the perfect backdrop to this romantic comedy.

Some movies become classics for a reason – this is one of them.  I only wish I had watched it a long time ago, but it has instantly become a favourite film for me, and one that I will watch again and again.

Year of release: 1953

Director: William Wyler

Writers: Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton, Dalton Trumbo

Main cast: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert

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