Have you ever heard of this lady?
I'm guessing you have...
This is a practice website for CMPE 3. Luckily, it doubles as a thinly veiled excuse to tell you about Audrey Hepburn, the classic (unfortunately not alive) actress with whom I am most enamored right now.
She is seen as a fashion and style icon today. She made pants fashionable for women. She is most often sighted in posters wearing a slim cocktail dress with a rather generic inspirational quote, one that she may or may not have actually said herself... yet Audrey Hepburn deserves to be remembered as so much more than just a light pop culture icon. In my opinion, it is time she be remembered for more than just her stylish clothes and great style, but for her entire body of film work, and for her off-screen and on-screen personality that radiated beauty and good nature. To be clear, she did fill roles more or less in line with her real personality. Audrey was usually not on screen to chew scenery and court Oscars. She did win one almost by accident in her first major role in 1953's Roman Holiday, a rare feat, yet more proof of her unique charm at the cinema. In all but a few movies, she played herself, yet she always did so skillfully and with abundant charm.
Her filmography is so dense with excellent roles that it is hard to know where to start. Even so, if you are new to her movies, here are the four movies of hers that I believe should be watched, with, in my opinion, the ideal order of viewing:
- Charade (1963) - a constantly winking and grin-inducing crime caper that pairs Audrey with another mammoth film star of the time, Cary Grant. This movie is just gripping start-to-finish, and, because it's so easy to watch and entertaining, it serves as a great entry point into Audrey's film career.
- Breakfast at Tiffany's (1962) - more dated than Charade, and a bit less approachable, this is nevertheless Audrey's most recognizable role today. Its well-written characters and humanity shine through any flaws or cringe-inducing stereotypes.
- My Fair Lady (1964) - a charming, effortlessly entertaining musical that sees Audrey trying on her best Cockney accent. It is nevertheless skippable for those who simply cannot stomach the genre.
- Roman Holiday (1953) - Audrey's first major movie role, the one where it all began. Charming, beautiful, yet a bit cynical, which makes it all the more relatable and down-to-earth. Romantic comedies have followed in this movie's footsteps ever since.
A few other little known facts about Audrey Hepburn:
- She grew up in Nazi-occupied Belgium. Constant hunger and malnourishment as a teenager gave her the slim frame that sparked off an obsession in American fashion with thinness.
- During World War II, Audrey's parents ended up siding with the Nazis, but, having witnessed the horrors they wreaked, her sympathies lay elsewhere. Like many Nazi children, she helped the resistance any way she could, delivering food and messages across resistance lines.
- Her most recognizable screen role, in Breakast at Tiffany's, was meant for Marilyn Monroe, a buxom blonde, absolutely Audrey's polar opposite at the time in image and personality.
- She is one of only 14 people to successfully EGOT - that is, to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony award. Yet she did not have a very remarkable singing voice - her Grammy was actually awarded after her death for Best Spoken Word Album for Children.
Like what you see? Can't wait to find out more? Well, you're in luck!
There is no shortage of information online about this fascinating lady. Here is her IMDb page.
My email, in case you want to nerd out about her with me.