By Sofia Weddle
For those infatuated with classic film star Audrey Hepburn, this past January 20th may have been a heart-wrenching day. This day is remembered as the 23rd anniversary of beloved Hepburn’s untimely death at age 63. While her death will lay infamous in history, so will her iconic image of poise and glamour, as well as her compelling roles in classic motion pictures. Hepburn also held a remarkable capacity for philanthropy as, “she influenced artists [and actors] as a whole…to go out and do charity work”, according to Ms. Maisel.
Audrey Hepburn made her mark on the movie industry through many acclaimed films adored by the old and young, male and female alike. Ms. Maisel, an avid Hepburn fan and English teacher at Glenelg, “would have to say Roman Holiday” is her favorite of Audrey’s repertoire. Though these movies are classic, many millennials and teens have not experienced Hepburn’s elegant demeanor. Part of this might be caused by a lack of information, exposure, or appreciation for the stars who made Hollywood into what it is now-- a diverse culture celebrating the creative minds of artists. With that in mind, here is a short summary of Audrey Hepburn’s greatest film achievements to help out those deprived and starving for a little black-and-white magic.
This whimsical, Oscar-winning fairytale will take viewers on an adventurous summer fling in the city of Rome, Italy. In the film, Hepburn takes on the role of a severely “sheltered” (IMDB) princess on a royal European tour. One night, Princess Ann gets so bored of her life that she takes to the dimly-lit cobblestone streets, all while on heavy anxiety-relieving meds. While traipsing around the city, she runs into a young journalist named Joe Bradley (played by Gregory Peck) who puts her up for the night. Ann’s royal identity is unknown to Joe until the next morning, and unbeknownst to Ann, Joe is a reporter being paid to interview the Princess. These events are just the starting point for Ann and Joe, who soon go on a series of romantic adventures around the historic allies of Rome. With a first-love type story chock full of ice cream, dancing, swimming, the “Mouth of Truth” (Italy Guides) that bites, and kisses, Roman Holiday is perfect for the simpleton, hopeless romantic yearning for a bit of enchantment.
In this 1954 Hepburn classic (IMDB), Sabrina, the daughter of a wealthy family’s chauffeur is desperately in love with one of the Larrabee sons: a suave playboy more interested in girls than he is in maintaining his family’s business. After moving to France temporarily to attend a cooking academy and fight off her unrequited feelings, Sabrina returns back home a more mature, high society woman. David Larrabee, still the playboy he once was but now unhappily engaged for a business deal, immediately takes interest in Sabrina’s new look. Interestingly enough, so does David’s older, more serious brother, Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart). Sabrina becomes entranced by this newfound attention from David, but that does not stop Linus from grabbing at any chance he can to get Sabrina to fall for him instead. This masterful romance tale will pull on all the right heart-strings, and make any fashion addict weep with joy.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Possibly considered Hepburn’s most famed film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is adored by all who watch it. The storyline consists of Audrey playing a classy socialite named Holly Golightly, who owns a nameless cat, absolutely adores Tiffany’s (the jewelery store), has many suitors, and who makes a living by having a weekly conversation with an ex-gangster-turned-Sing Sing prisoner. One day, her comfortable routine takes a turn when Paul Varjak (George Peppard), a novelist, moves into Holly’s apartment building (IMDB). Unsurprisingly, but ever so captivatingly, the two begin to fall for each other, all while learning what it feels to belong and be loved.
In this enthusiastic musical, Audrey Hepburn plays a bookstore employee named Jo Stockton, who is obsessed with philosophy and dislikes anything involving fashion (IMDB). Suddenly, her little bookshop is bombarded with models, stylists, photographers, and a magazine editor for a photoshoot. The photographer, Dick Avery (played by Fred Astaire), notices Jo’s interesting look or so called “funny face”. After much persuasion, Jo agrees to go to Paris to model a new collection and take photos as the new face of the magazine, known as the Everyday Girl. Throughout each sunny song, Dick and Jo fall increasingly in love, all while wandering by famous Parisian landmarks. Nevertheless, there are a few hiccups that disrupt their relationship, but nothing that cannot be resolved with beautiful high-fashion ball gowns.
In this comedic thriller directed by Stanley Donen, and often mistaken as an Alfred Hitchcock film, Audrey Hepburn plays a recently widowed woman by the name of Regina Lampert (IMDB). The mysterious part of her situation is not one of accident, but of murder. Set in the backdrop of glamorous Paris, Regina is chased down by multiple men, all of whom want the $250,000 that her late husband allegedly stole in World War II and stashed away. Through the many twists and turns this movie takes (there are about ten-- I counted), Regina sporadically trusts a secretive American named Peter Joshua, played by Cary Grant (IMDB). In this sharp, witty, and surprising film, you’ll hesitate to fully trust anyone again.
How to Steal a Million
Almost as suspense-filled as Charade, this film involves a Parisian woman, Nicole, and her art-forger father, Bonnet, caught up in the drama of their scam being revealed to the entire world. In order to stop the art examiners from testing her grandfather’s forged sculpture, the Cellini Venus (IMDB), Nicole (Audrey Hepburn) takes to enlisting a so-called art thief named Simon Dermott (played by Peter O’Toole) for help (IMDB). Over the course of a week, the duo plan out their heist which culminates in one very tense but exhilarating night. Of course, this being an Audrey Hepburn movie, the two main characters soon start to see each other in a more affectionate light, but one person is not especially what they seem. As this movie is available to stream on Netflix, there is no doubt that old and new fans alike will rewatch this comedic, nerve-wracking film for years to come.
My Fair Lady
Known as one of Audrey’s most entertaining accomplishments, this movie is set around the plot of elitist phonetics professor Henry Higgins, played by Rex Harrison, who bets he can transform a Cockney flower girl into a high-class lady (IMDB). Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), being his victim, accepts these lessons and soon becomes a sophisticat. Doolittle is then admired by the rich Freddy Eynsford-Hill, causing Higgins to realize he may love her too (IMDB). Reminiscent of the 90s Pretty Woman, this classic film takes an unusual situation into an oddly romantic one perfect for any viewer wanting a laugh and a swoon.