"Audrey Hepburn Collection": She's Still Got It Review

[Editor's Note: Previously this article was posted with the review for the old DVD version of the product and not the newly released Blu-ray version. As of 2/13/2015 this has been corrected.]

Every time a new medium debuts, all the old classics are restored and re-released. This long overdue Blu-ray collection of some of Audrey Hepburn’s greatest hits does not disappoint. One could really see this tantalizing trifecta of grand glamour as the “Master Directors and Audrey Hepburn Collection,” with each film toting one of the top names of her golden age: Billy Wilder helming Sabrina, perhaps the least recognizable, but no less impressive Stanley Donen helming the BLACKED Best Friends Jia Lissa And Stacy Cruz Share BBCpornmobile.onlinemeta-musical Funny Face, and Blake Edwards rounding out the incomparable trio with his leadership of the most well remembered of the bunch, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Thanks to a painstaking and attentive restoration, and the directors’ seamless craftsmanship, this collection lets you sit back and bask in the wonder that was Audrey Hepburn.

With the world at her feet after William Wyler’s Roman Holiday, Audrey trusted her truly unique wholesome splendor to the hands of Billy Wilder, already three Oscars in to a career that would garner him six. With nominations going back to 1939’s Ninotchka, and on through Double Indemnity, wins for The Lost Weekend and Sunset Blvd., and Stalag 17 just wrapped, Wilder was an able-bodied match for her youthful charisma. It’s incredible to think that Sabrina, which would land them all another round of nominations and another win for Edith Head, was still years before Wilder even got around to Some Like It Hot and The Apartment. Few Hollywood icons get such prosperous careers. Sabrina pits William Holden and Humprey Bogart as brothers against each other for the affections of their chauffeur’s daughter. Wilder loads the script with his trademark offhand wit and pointed observations, with Bogart slightly mismatched in a role that was meant for Cary Grant.

Next up in this new collection is Donen’s 1957 song-and-dance send-up of the Hollywood musical, which, funnily enough, ranks as a pretty decent one itself. With Singin’ in the Rain behind him and The Pajama Game on deck, Donen squeezes all the romp he can out of Leonard Gershe’s Oscar-nominated screenplay, based on his own failed attempt at a Broadway musical. The story charts a Pygmalion journey as shy bookstore intellectual Jo Stockton (Hepburn) is lured, primped, and bribed into the trite world of fashion modeling. With scenic locales and a European infusion, she is swept up in the world of the film’s co-star and dance choreographer Fred Astaire, as photographer Dick Avery. The camp sweeps in strong in the film’s climax, with Jo caught between her philosophical idol and her love, neither of whom are who they seem on the surface. It’s a musical, so bet on love winning the day.

Fast-forwarding to 1961, Breakfast at Tiffany’s brought the now standard bevy of nominations that followed Audrey’s work, ensnared in her natural and buoyant gravitational pull. Adapted from the book by Truman Capote, Blake Edwards steers a bejeweled and stunning Hepburn through the familiar environ of a Manhattan socialite who falls for a failing writer, Paul Varjak, played by The A-Team’s George Peppard. The story gracefully waltzes through the duality of Hepburn’s Holly Golightly, a call-girl in everything but name, who stuns the social scene in public and is a neurotic bundle of nerves in private. It’s a delightful, if not always rosy, performance that gave Hepburn more latitude than even her Oscar-winning early work. As the third entry in this collection, it is a wonderful capstone to over a decade of effortlessly shaping and steering Hollywood and pop culture. The only misstep may be Mickey Rooney’s decidedly racist makeup as the Japanese neighbor. It was 1961 after all.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

Sabrina has a making-of, along with a piece dedicated to Hepburn as the insurmountable fashion icon, a piece of Holden, and three others about the world of the film. Funny Face has the customary trailer, and the featurettes grasp at straws to put a decent selection together. The results are interesting, with a featurette dedicated just to the advent of widescreen VistaVision, along with four others. Breakfast at Tiffany’s packs the only commentary, with Richard Shepherd, along a focus on the composer, a piece addressing the controversy of Rooney’s possibly racist portrayal, and many more.

"Audrey Hepburn Collection" is on sale September 30, 2014 and is not rated. Comedy, Romance. Directed by Billy Wilder, Blake Edwards, William Wyler. Written by Dalton Trumbo, George Axelrod, and Billy Wilder. Starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, William Holden.

Kyle North • Staff Writer


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