Friday, May 04, 2007

Audrey's Mysterious Roles

Had iconic beauty Audrey Hepburn not died an untimely death from colon cancer in 1993, she would have celebrated a birthday today. She would have been 78 years old. I imagine that Audrey would look lovely at any age, including 78.

Most people probably remember her for her sweetness in Breakfast at Tiffany's, and her rather heartbreaking rendition of Moon River; but being a mystery lover, I connect her most with the rather mysterious movies that she made. First, I remember being a little tike and watching her in re-runs of Wait Until Dark, which first came out when I was three. Audrey held me spellbound as the blind woman terrorized by bad guys. Of course I have no memory of the plot exactly (although a quick search tells me that "a trio of thugs searches for heroin hidden in a doll they believe to be in her apartment"), but I remember the raw emotion, the fear and helplessness that she conveyed in this tense drama. My mom was a sucker for movies like that, so naturally I grew up to be one, too.

Another of my favorites is Charade, in which a young, lovely Audrey falls for an older, rather grouchy Cary Grant. I must say, though, that even though my father has long despised Cary Grant for unknown reasons, I find him charming in every CG movie I've watched, and I fully understand his popularity. Even in his fifties he was leading man material, and a perfect foil for Audrey's youthful energy. In the Mary Stewart spirit (and she was certainly a contemporary of these actors), the movie contains romance amidst the tension of a difficult plot, and the knowledge that no one is entirely trustworthy.

Hepburn was undoubtedly lovely and fashionable, and I dare anyone to find an unflattering photograph of her. What I remember her for, though, is her innate sweetness; perhaps it was this that prompted her to become a UNICEF spokesperson in her later years, and it was UNICEF and her work there that was on her mind in the final years, and even weeks, of her life.

I suppose the greatest tribute to Audrey Hepburn that we could give her is the fact that she is still a household name, a permanent icon of beauty and fashion, and a sure influence of future generations.



Anonymous said...

As a kid I remember being terrified during "Wait Until Dark," too. I watched it again years later and the story held up - still scared me silly. But my all-time favorite Audrey Hepburn movie is her debut film "Roman Holiday" with one of my personal heart-throbs, Gregory Peck.

.... sigh ....

Thanks for conjuring up that memory. Maybe I'll watch it again tonight.

Julia Buckley said...

Yea, Julie! And of course I didn't mention it, but I also loved, loved her in MY FAIR LADY. She did such a graceful duckling into swan transformation. Yes, maybe an Audrey Hepburn film festival this weekend? :)

Anonymous said...

The March 2006 issue of Architectural Digest did an entire issue called, "Hollywood At Home." Audrey is on the cover and is featured inside with her husband, Jose Ferrer, at home. I have saved the issue because it showed Audrey in a home setting with a menagerie of animals...some exotic...a side we rarely see of her. The issue also featured other stars of her time in their home settings. Wish all of you could get a copy because it's a great issue. Audrey was a favorite of mine, and I remember watching her when I was a kid. I can't remember the title, but I believe one of her last movies was with Sean Connery and was a Medieval storyline. Not one of her best, but I watched it. Yep, she was one of the great ones!
mary beth, the dandola fan

Admin said...

"Wait Until Dark" was such a showcase for Audrey Hepburn. You really believed that she was blind and in mortal danger. I like all of her movies, but I think My Fair Lady is my favorite. Or not, depending on what mood I'm in. Roman Holiday is good too. And she always had such neat leading men.


Julia Buckley said...

Oh, that sounds great, Mary Beth! And I think in that movie she played an older Maid Marian to Connery's Robin Hood. Now I want to see that one, too!

Lill, I agree. She had some special movie "relationships."