Friday, September 2, 2011
Guest-Blogger: Daniel Meets Audrey
Hello, I am Daniel Bayley, a film-student and co-writer for the blog, Bayley and Napoli At the Movie Theater. I am so happy to be able to write for one of my favorite blogs, On the Marquee, and get to share with you a little story about my past week discovering a classic film star everyone adores (and now I do too)... Audrey Hepburn.
A few years back my sister came home with a new purchase from Best Buy. Elated, she showed me her new DVD box-set. To my disinterest, it was only the Audrey Hepburn Collection. She told me I had to see the classic films it included (Breakfast at Tiffany's, Roman Holiday, and Sabrina). I told her I would when I got around to it.
Welp, I will estimate it took about 3-5 years for that to happen (wow...time flies), but here I am: A 21-year-old film student discovering Audrey Hepburn as a sheer talent. I know I'm preaching to a choir that has probably seen the entire classic lexicon of Hepburn's films and have admired her screen-talent for years, but let me just say I could not be happier to join this club. Let me take you briefly through my little journey.
I started last week by popping in Blake Edwards' 1961 film, Breakfast At Tiffany's. It was one of those nights where I felt, "Well, I've watched all my dvd's...might as well put on something I've been meaning to get to." With the opening credits set to "Moon River," I was immediately entranced. As Hepburn walks past Tiffany's along the streets of Manhattan, this classic tune plays and I had not heard it til just then. This could easily jump into a personal list for the Top Ten Best Songs for a Feature Film. It fits perfectly. It's quiet, swift, and heart-felt. This is exactly how I felt the film was. Our young Ms. Hepburn meets her charming neighbor, George Peppard, and he falls in love with her. Peppard's character sees her for who she truly is. Sees past her beauty and falls for her, strengths and faults and all. But Hepburn makes this character so likable and so delightfully watchable, the film is completely hers. I could watch the scene of her playing "Moon River" on guitar on a fire-escape all day.
A few days later, I threw on Roman Holiday, with some excitement I might add. This was #4 on the American Film Institute's Top 10 Romantic Comedies List. Gregory Peck was in it. What could go wrong? My answer is....nothing. Nothing went wrong. It was perfect. It's rare to find a perfect film and I feel like I can safely say this is a perfect romantic comedy. Hepburn's breakthrough, Oscar-winning performance is as a princess who escapes her royal agenda for a night out in Rome. She bumps into Gregory Peck's American newsman character who takes her in. They spend the next day together. Peck's character begins to gaze upon her as merely a story and an opportunity of a life-time (getting a close and juicy, in-depth interview with a Princess), but instead finds himself falling in love with her. She is adorable in this film....so we do too. Hepburn handles her character brilliantly. We believe her as an elegant royalty who is just young enough to feel the angst and rebellion of the planned and trapped life set out for her. Watching her delight unleashed upon the city opposite a strong and stern lead like Peck makes this film an experience. Something to fall in love with again and again. William Wyler, our director, photographs the entire film on location in Rome, making it almost a character itself for our two leads to play against. If I have not gotten my feeling across enough yet...let me say it one more time. Roman Holiday is not only a wonderfully captivating film to enjoy Hepburn...it's a wonderful film to just watch. A strong recommendation to throw this at the top of your Netflix Queue.
So finally I found myself watching Sabrina two days ago. This one I found to be my least favorite of the three, sadly. I will just briefly say that Hepburn's character was not my favorite to fall in love with (maybe I was expecting to and that hindered my enjoyment), though she is quite strong along-side the likes of William Holden and Humphrey Bogart. Bogey steals the show here. He plays Linus, who is just a man from a rich family who loves Hepburn's "Sabrina", though she is strongly infatuated with his brother, played by Holden. Your sympathies as a viewer go right to Bogart's strong presence and sad demeanor falling in love with her. Although I found myself only watching Bogart, maybe viewers only see "Sabrina" and therefore this film is a worthy entry into the box-set.
I remember seeing My Fair Lady many years ago in a middle-school music class. I did not pay too close attention to it but I cannot wait for it to reach my DVD player soon. I want to keep my Hepburn-kick going. She just carries something with her when she is on screen. It's a beauty, a class, and a presence I can not put my finger on. All I know is that she carries good movies and has made them something special. As I end this blogpost, I go and Youtube the instrumental "Moon River" film version to play me out. I hope you all will do the same, wherever you are.
"Everything I learned I learned from the
— Audrey Hepburn