“Star Of The Month (August 2022)” Featuring Audrey Hepburn in… Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

We’re back for the second and final post on an Audrey Hepburn film (my Star Of The Month for August 2022). This time, it’s her 1964 film Paris When It Sizzles, also starring William Holden!

Coming Up Shorts! with… The Bird Who Came To Dinner (1961)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Woody Woodpecker Screwball Collection from Universal Studios)

(Length: 6 minutes, 17 seconds)

Woody Woodpecker thinks he’s got it made when he poses as a toy woodpecker that a wealthy woman buys for her son. However, the son is very abusive towards all his toys, and intends to “play” the same way with his new toy! This one was entertaining, giving Woody a villain to fight against (one that seems very much to be the predecessor to Sid from the first Toy Story). It takes a moment for Woody to start fighting back, but it feels worthwhile watching the son get what’s coming to him. Not one of the best Woody Woodpecker cartoons, but it certainly did its job in providing a few good laughs.

And Now For The Main Feature…

Movie producer Alexander Meyerheim (Noël Coward) is currently awaiting the screenplay for his next movie. His screenwriter, Richard Benson (William Holden) has assured him that the script for the movie, currently titled The Girl Who Stole The Eiffel Tower, is almost finished. Alexander is suspicious of that claim, and has decided to visit Richard in Paris to see for himself. Since Richard hasn’t really written it yet (and only has two days to get it done), he hires a secretary, Gabrielle Simpson (Audrey Hepburn), to move in for those two days and help him finish it. On the first day, there are several starts and stops as Richard tries to piece together his ideas, but things go out of control when Gabrielle gets a little drunk and has to call it a night. Inspired by Gabrielle, Richard writes up most of a screenplay, and shares it with her the next day. The two then figure out where to go from there. As they write the screenplay, Richard and Gabrielle fall for each other, but he resists the idea strongly, having been through several failed marriages already. Will the two end up together movie-style when they finish, or will his past (and current issues) come between them?

There was a lot of behind-the-scenes drama in the making of Paris When It Sizzles (which was based on an earlier 1952 French film called La fête à Henriette), with some of those problems being started nearly a decade earlier. After enjoying some early success in her film career with Roman Holiday (1953), Audrey Hepburn had followed that up with the 1954 film Sabrina. During the making of that film, Audrey had an affair with her co-star, William Holden. The affair ended after the film wrapped, although it’s reported that the married William still carried a torch for Audrey. He also had a bit of a drinking problem that had been hurting his career for some time, and it really worsened during Paris When It Sizzles (which was indeed filmed in Paris). It got so bad that director Richard Quine rented a place next to William to help keep him in check. That wasn’t quite enough, and the director had to convince William to undergo treatment for one week. During that time, Tony Curtis was brought in for a quick appearance. Audrey herself was even guilty of causing some trouble, getting the original cinematographer Claude Renoir fired when she didn’t like how the dailies were turning out. In spite of that, Claude was helpful in getting Charles Lang (who had done Sabrina) to be his replacement. Filming was completed in late 1962, but when the Paramount executives saw it, they felt it was unreleasable and held it back until 1964 (which still wasn’t enough for audiences or critics, as the film didn’t do as well as originally hoped).

This does seem to be one of those films that you either love or you hate, and, after finally seeing it for the first time, I would say that I fall into the “love it!” group. The movie is quite enjoyable! Sure, it relies on a lot of romantic comedy clichés, but at the same time, it knows that, which is part of the fun! I know I enjoyed the various “false starts” in them writing the script, and I particularly had a few good laughs out of when the story got derailed completely at the end of the first day, with Richard Benson’s (William Holden) alter ego all of a sudden becoming Dracula and engaging in a madcap chase after Gabrielle’s (Audrey Hepburn) alter ego, in a sequence that was originally intended to be longer but had to be cut short when William Holden got injured in a car crash with one week left to film (although I personally think the shorter length made it better). Tony Curtis’ appearance in the “film-within-a-film” is also entertaining, especially the way that his character is talked about like he was actually a minor character in a movie. And the film’s ending (of Paris When It Sizzles, not the “film-within-a-film”), with all the requisite tropes being discussed by the characters as they engage in them was quite entertaining! And, the movie even threw in a few Easter Eggs referencing Audrey’s films, like Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961) and My Fair Lady (1964) (although, to be fair, I don’t know how much the reference to My Fair Lady was intentional, since Paris When It Sizzles was filmed BEFORE she filmed Charade but released after it, and I don’t know when she was cast in My Fair Lady, but it’s still fun just the same). I know not everybody will enjoy this movie, but I did! So, I definitely would suggest giving this meta-comedy a chance!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

This movie is available on Blu-ray either individually or as part of the Audrey Hepburn 7-Movie Collection from Paramount Pictures. My best guess is that it uses the same transfer from the earlier DVD. As a result, the picture looks pretty decent (although probably not *quite* as good on bigger and better screens). There really isn’t much in the way of visible damage, so, while this doesn’t look as good as it could, it’s still probably the best that can be hoped for at the moment (short of a HUGE surge in popularity that would result in them doing right by it).

Film Length: 1 hour, 50 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Forever Female (1953) – William Holden

Charade (1963)Audrey HepburnMy Fair Lady (1964)

Operation Petticoat (1959) – Tony Curtis

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

“Star Of The Month (August 2022)” Featuring Audrey Hepburn in… Charade (1963)

Well, now that we’ve gotten into the month of August with my focus on Audrey Hepburn as my Star Of The Month, it’s time to take a look at one of her films! So, we’re going to start off with her 1963 classic Charade, which also stars Cary Grant!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Niagara Fools (1956)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Woody Woodpecker Screwball Collection from Universal Studios)

(Length: 6 minutes, 12 seconds)

Woody decides to try going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, but a guide forbids him from doing so. This one was VERY funny! Most of the time, the guide’s attempts to stop Woody from going over result in HIM going over instead! I know I got a good chuckle over seeing the guide’s reactions (especially once he was resigned to going over after several failures), and it was even funnier when he accidentally dragged over many other guides! Plus, there’s the guide’s nonsensical trip back to the falls (after getting accidentally sent to the North Pole) as he travels through many different sections of the world (all while yelling “Mush!”). I had a lot of fun with this one, and I certainly know I would gladly come back to it again and again!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) has just returned to Paris following a holiday in the French Alps with her friend Sylvie Gaudet (Dominique Minot). On the trip, Regina had told Sylvie that she was planning to divorce her husband Charles, but, upon returning to her apartment, she learns that he had been murdered, and had sold off all their furniture. She is quickly summoned by the police inspector, Edouard Grandpierre (Jacques Marin), who questions her about her husband (and in the process, she learns that he had been living something of a double life, with multiple passports under different names). At her husband’s funeral, three men show up, all of whom act strangely. Regina is later summoned to meet with Hamilton Bartholomew (Walter Matthau) at the U.S. embassy, who reveals that her husband was part of a group of men (which included the three strangers at the funeral) that had stolen a quarter of a million dollars during the war and hidden it. Apparently, her husband had gotten back to it before the others and took it, leaving them to go chasing after him. Mr. Bartholomew tasks her with trying to find the money and return it to the government before the men can do anything to her. With the three men, Tex Panthollow (James Coburn), Herman Scobie (George Kennedy) and Leopold W. Gideon (Ned Glass) threatening her over the money, Regina turns for help to a man she had met in the French Alps, Peter Joshua (Cary Grant), but he doesn’t seem to be who he says he is either. As a result, she keeps calling Mr. Bartholomew for advice about what to do. Mysteriously, the three men are murdered, and it’s up to Regina to keep herself safe while trying to figure out what her husband had done with the money. But can she do it and stay alive?

Peter Stone and Marc Behm originally wrote a script with the title The Unsuspecting Wife, and they tried to peddle it to the various movie studios (who all turned them down). It took Peter Stone turning into a novel (which was serialized in Redbook magazine) under the new title Charade before the studios gave it a second look. Director Stanley Donen, who had wanted a property that he could use to make an homage to director Alfred Hitchcock with, got the film rights, intending to make it at Columbia Pictures. He wanted Cary Grant for the film, but Cary was looking to make Man’s Favorite Sport (1964) with Howard Hawks and was thus unavailable. They tried several other big stars, but they were too expensive, and Columbia gave up on the picture (so it was sold to Universal Studios). Since he had decided that he didn’t like the script for Howard Hawk’s film, Cary Grant was once again back in the running for doing Charade. However, he was faced with being cast opposite the much younger Audrey Hepburn (he was nearly sixty, and she was in her early thirties at the time), an age gap that bothered him (and had been the reason why he had declined roles in Audrey Hepburn’s earlier films Roman Holiday from 1953, Sabrina from 1954 and Love In The Afternoon from 1957). The writers were able to circumvent his worries by giving all the romantically aggressive lines to Audrey Hepburn. Filming took place in Paris, France (where Audrey had just finished filming Paris When It Sizzles, which would actually be released after Charade) as well as Megève and the French Alps. The end result was a hit with audiences, becoming the fifth most profitable film from that year. In spite of that, it ended up being the only film that Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn would make together (technically, he tried to get her for Father Goose, but she was unavailable because she was doing My Fair Lady).

I’l admit quite freely, that once I made the choice to pick Audrey Hepburn as one of my “Stars Of The Month”, Charade was one of her films that I absolutely HAD to get in! I’ve seen the film several times over the years, and I’ve enjoyed it very much! It’s been said many times that this film is considered “the best Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never made,” and it’s very hard to disagree with that sentiment! As those who read my review of Notorious (1946) can tell you, I’m not exactly fond of Hitchcock’s films beyond the four he did with Cary Grant (although one of these days, I hope to see Hitchcock’s lone screwball comedy, the 1942 film Mr. And Mrs. Smith). Of course, this is Cary Grant’s “fifth Hitchcock film,” which is certainly part of the appeal. The other two factors that, in my mind, make this one Cary Grant’s best “Hitchcock movie” are the film’s score by Henry Mancini, and Audrey Hepburn. Henry Mancini’s music really works well for all the various situations that occur throughout the movie, and the title tune is a bit of an earworm (and you certainly won’t find me complaining about that). But it’s the chemistry between Audrey and Cary that makes this film work so well (and makes you wish they had been able to do more movies together). Their relationship proves to be humorous and loving, while also being potentially dangerous (since he seems to be such a mysterious character). To me, it speaks volumes about their performances that I’ve seen this film multiple times, and yet, in spite of knowing what the truth is, I always fear for her character’s safety during the final moments of the film when she is on the run. The movie even has a fun little Easter egg when Cary Grant references a song title from My Fair Lady, which Audrey would start filming after this one was done. I know I love to come back to this film every now and then, and it’s one that I can recommend with perfect ease!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion Collection or Universal Studios.

Film Length: 1 hour, 54 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #7 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2022

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Operation Petticoat (1959)Cary GrantFather Goose (1964)

Love In The Afternoon (1957)Audrey HepburnParis When It Sizzles (1964)

Walter Matthau – Hello, Dolly! (1969)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

TFTMM Presents “Star Of The Month (August 2022)” Featuring Audrey Hepburn

Now that we’ve finished up with July (and my focus on Screen Team Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), we can move on to August’s Star! That, of course, would be actress Audrey Hepburn (as indicated by my homepage)! We’re still not back to doing this as a blogathon, but you’re still welcome to contribute this month if you would like to!

Table Of Contents

Quick Film Career Bio

Birth: May 4, 1929

Death: January 20, 1993

On May 4, 1929, Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born to Baroness Ella van Heemstra and Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium. The family continued to move around Europe for a few years, but Audrey’s parents fought frequently (until her father left the family in 1935, with their divorce becoming official in 1938). Audrey had been enrolled in an English boarding school, but she was brought back to her family’s estate in Arnhem when Britain declared war on Germany in 1939. While in the Netherlands, Audrey was enrolled in the Arnhem Conservatory, where she continued some ballet training that she had begun in England. The country’s neutrality didn’t last long, as Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940. She did her bit for the war effort by doing dance performances to help raise money for the Dutch resistance and by helping deliver secret messages. After D-Day, her family struggled (like many others) with getting enough food, which caused her to suffer from malnutrition and anemia. With the end of the war, she tried to continue with her ballet, but her health issues made it impossible for her to be a prima ballerina.

By this time, Audrey had already made her film debut in an educational travel film called Dutch In Seven Lessons (1948). Since she couldn’t be a prima ballerina, she decided to focus on being an actress, and appeared as a chorus girl in numerous stage productions, while also taking elocution lessons. She was discovered by an Ealing Studios casting director, and appeared in small roles in a number of films for the studio. While making Monte Carlo Baby (1951), she met French novelist and playwright Colette, who decided to cast her as the titular character in the Broadway show Gigi. She received rave reviews for her performance, attracting the attention of film director William Wyler, who waited for the show to finish so that she could do the film Roman Holiday (1953). With the film becoming a hit with audiences and her winning the Oscar for Best Actress, she signed with Paramount Pictures and followed it up with another Oscar nomination for her role in Sabrina (1954). As part of her contract with Paramount, she was still able to make appearances on the stage, including a 1954 production of Ondine (where she began a relationship with Mel Ferrer, who would become her first husband after the play closed). Back in Hollywood, she worked with her new husband in the 1956 adaptation of War And Peace, before fulfilling her dream of working with Fred Astaire in Funny Face (1957). The filming of Funny Face took place in France, and she stayed there to quickly follow up with Love In The Afternoon (1957). A few years later, she was nominated once again for an Oscar for her role in The Nun’s Story (1959). That success was sandwiched in between Green Mansions (1959) and The Unforgiven (1960), neither of which made much of an impact with audiences.

Going on into the 1960s, she had her next big hit in the form of Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961) (her fourth Oscar nomination). Within that same year, she also starred opposite Shirley MacLaine in The Children’s Hour (1961). She followed that up by reuniting with William Holden for Paris When It Sizzles (1964), and finally working with Cary Grant in Charade (1963) (which arrived in theatres first, even though it was filmed after Paris When It Sizzles). Next after that was another one of her biggest films, the musical My Fair Lady (1964), where she got to play the role of Eliza Doolittle (originated by Julie Andrews on Broadway, but given to Audrey on film because Jack Warner of Warner Brothers needed a bigger, more bankable star). Next up was the heist comedy How To Steal A Million (1966), the marriage drama Two For The Road (1967) and the thriller Wait Until Dark (1967) (her fifth and final Oscar nomination).

Audrey’s marriage to Mel Ferrer had been in trouble for a number of years (even after the birth of their son in 1960), and Wait Until Dark, which Mel produced, was a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage. It didn’t work, and they divorced in 1968. In the process, she retired from show business in order to take care of her son. She soon met and married Italian psychiatrist Dr. Andrea Dotti, a marriage that would last about thirteen years (which ended because neither was fully faithful to the other), and they had a son together in 1970. In 1976, she came out of her retirement from show business to make Robin And Marian with Sean Connery, which was met with modest success. Her next film, Bloodline (1979) was reviled by critics and audiences alike. Her final starring role came in the 1981 comedy They All Laughed. Her next project, in 1987, was the TV movie Love Among Thieves, with one final cameo appearance on the big screen as an angel in Steven Spielberg’s Always (1989). At that point, she became a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), going on missions to Ethiopia, Turkey, South America, Central America, Vietnam and several other places. On her return from one of her trips in late 1992, she developed abdominal pain, which was later discovered to be cancer. She tried undergoing chemotherapy, but it wasn’t enough. She passed away in her sleep on January 20, 1993.

My Own Feelings On Audrey Hepburn

My introduction to Audrey Hepburn essentially came through the films Funny Face and My Fair Lady. I saw one or two other films of hers early on, but apart from Funny Face, I never really took to them. That all started to change when I made the upgrade to a high-definition television and Blu-ray, and gave My Fair Lady another chance. I took to that movie very strongly (especially after seeing the then-newly restored film in theatres), and started looking around again for some of her films. I’ve revisited some that I didn’t take to at first, and discovered others that I hadn’t heard of and now enjoy (Love In The Afternoon), along with films from genres I wouldn’t have otherwise touched (Wait Until Dark). Plain and simple, I really like her as an actress now, and I have enjoyed rewatching one of her films and seeing a new one in preparation for this month!


This is a list of all the films that I personally have reviewed from her filmography so far. Obviously, I will be adding to it throughout the month of August, and it is my plan to add to it as I review more and more of her films even beyond this month’s celebration.

Roman Holiday (1953)

Funny Face (1957)

Love In The Afternoon (1957)

Charade (1963)

Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

My Fair Lady (1964)

Wait Until Dark (1967)

Entries For This Month

Thoughts From The Music(al) Man –

Charade (1963)

Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

“Screen Team (Fred Astaire And Ginger Rogers) Of The Month (July 2022)” Featuring Fred Astaire in… Funny Face (1957)

Well, a few weeks back, we looked at one of Ginger Rogers’ solo films, so now we need to look at a solo film for the other half of this month’s featured Screen Team, Fred Astaire!  In this case, we’re going with his 1957 musical Funny Face, also starring Audrey Hepburn!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Termites From Mars (1952)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Woody Woodpecker Screwball Collection from Universal Studios)

(Length: 6 minutes, 21 seconds)

The Earth is being invaded by the Martians!  However, as Woody Woodpecker quickly finds out, these “Martians” are a bunch of termites out to eat up his home!  This one was a bit of a departure from some of the other cartoons in the series.  It’s different seeing Woody be the one getting picked on almost throughout the entire short (until he finally manages to turn the tables).  It has its moments, particularly when the “Martian” invasion is being announced.  It’s not the most original (since, as you can expect, the termites eat up almost everything wooden in sight).  I can’t say as I like this deviation from the regular series that much, but it at least breaks up the monotony (and keeps Woody from becoming too obnoxious).

And Now For The Main Feature…

Quality Magazine editor Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) is always in search of starting the next big fashion trend, whether it be everyone wearing pink, or clothing for intellectual women, or finding one woman to represent Quality Magazine itself.  It’s while in search of the second one (clothing for intellectual women) that Maggie and her crew invade a Greenwich Village bookstore to take some photos with their model.  They immediately get on the nerves of the shop owner’s assistant Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn), who complains about how they just take over the shop.  When they are finally done, the place is a mess, and Maggie’s head photographer, Dick Avery (Fred Astaire), stays behind to help Jo clean up.  In doing so, he learns of her desire to go to Paris, France and talk to some of the philosophers there.  Later on, when Maggie starts planning out a campaign for the “Quality woman,” Dick suggests using Jo.  Maggie at first dislikes the idea, as does Jo when she is dragged into the Quality offices.  However, when Dick explains to Jo that doing the modeling would result in a trip to Paris, she comes around to the idea.  It’s not smooth sailing at the start, though. Without realizing that she needs to meet with French designer Paul Duval (Robert Flemyng) (who is designing her outfits), Jo goes to a local bohemian café to talk with some of the philosophers there, which prompts Dick to go looking for her.  He helps her to realize her responsibilities, and she shows up for work the next day.  Duval successfully designs a series of outfits for her, and so Dick spends the next week photographing her in those dresses throughout Paris.  However, when they take pictures of her in a wedding gown outside a small country church, she is overwhelmed, and reveals to Dick that she loves him (and he responds in kind).  On the night she is to be presented to the press, she learns that Professor Émile Flostre (Michel Auclair), whom she had come to Paris in hopes of seeing, is speaking at the café, so she stops by to see him.  When Dick comes around to pick her up, he quickly becomes suspicious of Flostre’s intentions and drags her away.  With the two of them arguing, her presentation to the press is a disaster.  Jo decides to not come to the fashion show, and instead goes to a party that Flostre is hosting at his home.  Trying to get her to come to the fashion show, Dick and Maggie go to Flostre’s home in disguise.  But will their efforts work, or will Dick continue to drive a wedge between Jo and himself with his suspicions?

While they may share the same name, the movie is NOT based on the 1927 Broadway show Funny Face that had originally starred Fred Astaire and his sister Adele (although several songs from that show’s score were included in the film).  Instead, the movie was based on an unproduced Leonard Gershe play called Wedding Day.  Producer Roger Edens, working at MGM under famous musical producer Arthur Freed, had bought the rights to the play, intending it as a vehicle for Fred Astaire and then-popular star Audrey Hepburn.  Both Astaire and Hepburn wanted to do the film, but there was one major problem: she was under contract to Paramount Pictures, and they had absolutely no intention of loaning her out to MGM.  So, Arthur Freed let Roger Edens take the project to Paramount, and he brought with him director Stanley Donen and some other MGM talent.  They did some of the location filming in Paris, but the weather caused a number of delays, forcing them to make some adjustments.  Reviews were positive, but the film didn’t do too well at the box office initially.  It wasn’t until the film was reissued in 1964, alongside Audrey’s next big musical, My Fair Lady, that Funny Face was able to become profitable.

I’ve seen Funny Face many times over the years, and it’s a movie that I always love finding an excuse to come back around to!  Fred Astaire’s presence was indeed my original reason for seeing this movie, and he has indeed remained one of the film’s main attractions for me.  And, to be fair, I would say that seeing this film time and time again helped me grow to love Audrey Hepburn as well.  Their three dance duets together (“Funny Face,” “He Loves And She Loves” and “‘S Wonderful”) are definitely the highlights of the film, with the romantic “He Loves And She Loves” being my favorite of the bunch.  Fred and Audrey also get some fun solo routines in the forms of “Let’s Kiss And Make Up” and “Basal Metabolism” (I’ll admit, “Basal Metabolism” took me a while to come around to, since the music and style of dance are so far out of my normal preferences, but it’s grown on me with time).  Kay Thompson adds to the fun in a rare onscreen performance as the no-nonsense magazine editor who usually runs roughshod over everybody to get what she wants (and I wish she had done more work onscreen, she’s so much fun).  All in all, Funny Face is a movie that I love to see again and again, and I certainly recommend it highly!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD either individually or as part of the Audrey Hepburn 7-Movie Collection from Paramount Pictures

Film Length: 1 hour, 43 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #2 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2022

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Roman Holiday (1953)Audrey HepburnLove In The Afternoon (1957)

The Band Wagon (1953)Fred AstaireSilk Stockings (1957)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you).  If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Roman Holiday (1953)

Today’s post is on a big classic I’ve been waiting a while to see, and that movie would be the 1953 film Roman Holiday, starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn! Of course, we’ve got a theatrical short to get through first, and then it’s on to the main feature!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Scratch A Tiger (1970)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 15 seconds)

When the aardvark arrives with a hungry look about him, the ant turns to a tiger he helped out for protection. This one again adds something extra, by having the tiger involved. Obviously, the concept is nothing new, having been done in a number of other cartoons, but it’s still fun here. The ending in particular helps this one stand out a little. I got a few good laughs out of this one, and I don’t mind seeing it every now and then!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) has been traveling throughout Europe as part of a goodwill tour. When she stops in Rome, Italy, the strain finally gets to her. Her doctor gives her a sedative to help calm her down and allow her to sleep, but she gets away before the sedative starts to take effect. American reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) is on his way home from a poker game with his friends, when he finds Ann starting to fall asleep. Without knowing who she is, he tries to help her, but she is so out of it, he gets stuck bringing her back to his place for the night. She ends up sleeping on his couch (after he rolls her off the bed). The next morning, Joe is supposed to interview the princess, but he accidentally sleeps in. When he awakes, he rushes in to the office, and tries to fake an interview with his editor. What Joe doesn’t know is that it had been publicly declared earlier that morning that the princess was ill, and would be unable to keep her commitments (including that interview). After the editor lets him dig a deep hole, he then tells Joe off and shows him the news. When Joe recognizes the newspaper photo of the princess, he makes a bet with his editor that he can get an exclusive interview, and then rushes back to his apartment. Ann, unaware that he knows the truth, introduces herself as “Anya,” and gets herself dressed. While she does that, Joe calls his photographer friend Irving Radovich (Eddie Albert) to take some photographs for his story. Ann starts to walk around the city, and Joe follows from a distance. After she buys herself some shoes, gets a haircut and some gellato, Joe “runs into her” at the Trevi Fountain, and the two decide to spend the day together having fun. They are joined by Irving at a restaurant, and, after Joe takes him aside to explain things, he uses a hidden camera in his lighter to take pictures. That night, they go to a dance on a barge. Everything is going fine, until some of the members of her country’s secret service find her and try to take her away. Ann calls out for Joe, who comes to her rescue and starts a brawl. They’re able to get away, and go back to Joe’s apartment. While there, they realize that they love each other. However, they hear on the radio how much her “illness” is affecting the people of her country, and she’s unsure of what to do. Will she stay with Joe, or will she go back and resume her duties as a princess?

Roman Holiday was written by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, who had been forced to have a fellow writer, Ian McLellan Hunter, sell it under his name. The story was sold to director Frank Capra, but he ended up not going through with the idea. It was then sold to Paramount Pictures, and director William Wyler jumped at the chance when it was offered to him. His main stipulations would be that the whole thing had to be filmed in Italy (which Paramount initially balked at, but eventually relented on), and he wanted to cast an unknown in the role of the princess. Of course, a big name was still needed, so the director was able to convince Gregory Peck to sign on. As for the princess, Wyler decided to cast Hollywood newcomer Audrey Hepburn (who had heretofore done a few bit parts in some European movies and some small stuff onstage).

While I’ve heard of this movie for a number of years, it wasn’t really until the last half-decade or so that I became interested in seeing it. A lot of that has to do with actress Audrey Hepburn, whom I hadn’t really cared for one way or another, at first. After I finally came around on My Fair Lady, it became a lot easier for me to seek out more of her films since (all of which I have enjoyed). But, Roman Holiday was one that still evaded me (mostly because by that time I had gone to high-definition, and wasn’t going back for standard, especially for a movie that *seemed* popular enough that it should have made the jump to HD). Finally, it made the jump to Blu-ray (more comments on that in a moment), and I got the chance to see it!

In short, I agree with all the high praise I’ve seen doled out to this movie over the years. In her first starring role, Audrey Hepburn gives a breathtaking performance as the princess. From her mental breakdown due to the strain, all through her day of fun, and back to being a princess, it was a pure thrill to see! I definitely would say that she earned that Oscar! And while I’ve never really felt one way or the other about him, Gregory Peck did well, too. I know I enjoyed seeing his character trying to fake the interview with his boss (who obviously knew he was lying through his teeth), and, while his intentions weren’t the best to start, he gradually came around, even though it cost him. And it was fun seeing Green Acres star Eddie Albert here, too (even though he is almost unrecognizable with that beard)! Of course, all the Italian scenery certainly helps sell the movie as well. Seriously, this is a great film, and one I would most certainly recommend!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Paramount Pictures, either individually as part of their Paramount Presents line or as part of the Audrey Hepburn 7-Movie Collection. The movie has been remastered from a 4K transfer, and it looks great! Seriously, this new Blu-ray is the best way to see this wonderful movie, and I would heartily recommend it!!

Film Length: 1 hour, 58 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #8 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2021

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Gregory Peck – Designing Woman (1957)

Audrey HepburnFunny Face (1957)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you).  If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2019) on… My Fair Lady (1964)

Well, it’s May 20, so let’s celebrate “Eliza Doolittle Day” with My Fair Lady, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Spanky (1932)

(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 3 (1932-1933) from ClassicFlix)

(Length: 19 minutes, 52 seconds)

The kids are trying to put on their own production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but young Spanky (George McFarland) keeps causing trouble for them. Part of this short’s claim to fame is that it reuses some of Spanky’s screen test, with the bug hunt and the bath, as part of the overall story. Otherwise, it appears to be a talkie remake of an earlier Our Gang short from 1926 called Uncle Tom’s Uncle. Most of the fun here is indeed following Spanky and all the stuff he gets into (including finding his father’s hidden stash of money), along with all the things that the kids in the audience keep throwing at the performers. Given the play that the kids are putting on, some of them are wearing blackface (or something similar), but it’s a relatively minor part of the short (as in, only a few seconds). Overall, I enjoyed this one quite a bit!

And Now For The Main Feature…

This is, obviously, the tale of common flower girl Eliza Doolittle, as played by Audrey Hepburn.  After listening to Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) bragging that he could help her improve her English enough to work in a flower shop, she comes to his home, offering to pay for some lessons.  Professor Higgins’ guest, Colonel Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White), makes a bet that Professor Higgins can’t teach her proper English and how to be a lady in time for the Embassy Ball, which Henry takes him up on. Eliza struggles for a while, but finally gets a handle on it.  Sadly, things don’t go quite as well as they had hoped when Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering take Eliza to the races.  However, Professor Higgins is determined, and they keep working to prepare Eliza for the Embassy Ball.

Playwright George Bernard Shaw first wrote the play Pygmalion in 1912 (which premiered the following year). The play was well-received, and was eventually turned into a movie in 1938 (with Shaw helping to adapt the story). The story begged for a musical adaptation, but it was a bumpy road to get there. For one thing, as I mentioned when I reviewed The Chocolate Soldier (1941), when Shaw’s 1894 play Arms And The Man was adapted into a musical, he despised the results (even if it was popular with audiences) and tried to prevent any more of his plays from being turned into musicals while he was alive (with him finally dying in November 1950). Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár considered setting Pygmalion to music in the early 1920s, but Shaw stopped him. Later on, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein made their attempt at turning it into a musical, but they also had to give up. Finally (in the 1950s, after Shaw had died), composers Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe took on the project, helped by the changing times on the theatrical scene. The final results spoke for themselves, with the 1956 play (now called My Fair Lady) running 2,717 performances.

Of course, with that kind of success, the movie studios came a-calling. Problem was, CBS Chairman Bill Paley had control of the movie rights, since the network had invested $400,000 in the show, and he wouldn’t accept any old offer. Jack Warner (head of Warner Brothers) very much wanted the rights, and finally ended up offering the then-unheard of amount of $5.5 million, which was accepted (and came with some other conditions, one of which amounted to CBS getting the rights to the movie itself after a number of years). With that kind of cost right off the bat, Jack needed a big hit, and, since he himself was producing the movie (a rarity for him), he set out to get some big names for the cast. For the role of Alfred Doolittle, he wanted to get James Cagney (who liked to perform the character’s songs at parties), but the recently retired star refused to come back, especially if he was working under his old boss. So, it was back to Stanley Holloway (who had originated the role on Broadway). For Professor Higgins, Jack wanted Cary Grant, but he, too, refused the role (and after several other big stars were considered, the role went to the Broadway show’s star, Rex Harrison). But when it came to Eliza Doolittle, Jack didn’t want to use the then-unknown Julie Andrews, and very much wanted Audrey Hepburn (who had coveted the role herself after seeing the show). Audrey very much wanted to sing all her songs (even going so far as to work with a vocal coach and spend a lot of time in the recording studio to get things right), Jack felt that she wasn’t up to the task of singing the songs herself and hired Marni Nixon to dub (most of) her songs. He tried to keep that fact a secret, but audiences noticed, and the publicity (not helped by Warner Brother’s publicity department trying to claim, after word got out, that Marni only did half the singing, which her husband angrily denied) resulted in a backlash that saw Audrey fail to receive an Oscar nomination for her role. Still, the film more than made back its cost at the box office, besides winning a number of other Oscars that year.

Of course, we can’t discuss my opinion of My Fair Lady without mentioning the music!  The music is most of the fun with this movie, with songs such as “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On The Street Where You Live” and many others!  I personally enjoy “I Could Have Danced All Night” the most, but I can easily put on the movie’s soundtrack, and be smiling (and dancing) in short order!  It’s just that much fun!

No doubt you also want to know my opinion on the “Audrey Hepburn Vs. Julie Andrews” controversy associated with this movie.  I like Audrey better as an actress and very much prefer her in this role.  I know, she couldn’t handle all of Eliza’s songs, since they weren’t written/arranged specifically for her (unlike the score of the earlier Funny Face, where they were able to pick and choose the songs for her to do her own singing). Whatever we may think, the problem is that, due to the cost of making the film (in between Bill Paley’s asking price and conditions, as well as all the money Jack Warner spent on the film), Jack needed the movie to be a BIG hit, which was way too much of a financial risk to rely on the then-unknown Julie Andrews. For me, Audrey did a wonderful job, and I just can’t imagine anybody else in that role!

It took me some time, but this is a movie I have come to enjoy very, very much!  I mainly saw it at first due to my late grandmother, who really liked it.  I didn’t care for it as much at the time, but I still enjoyed watching it with her. I probably didn’t really start to care for the movie until we finally made the upgrade to Blu-ray and a high-definition television (which happened long after my grandmother passed away). I enjoyed watching it far more than I thought I would. Not much later, I heard about a new restoration of the movie on the way. I ended up seeing that new restoration when it premiered in theatres (the first of two times I have had the good fortune to see this wonderful movie on the big screen), and again (and again) with the Blu-ray for that restoration! I very much understand now why my grandmother enjoyed it, and it has been yearly viewing around May 20 ever since! So, obviously, I recommend this movie!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD either individually or as part of the Audrey Hepburn 7-Movie Collection from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Pictures.

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… My Fair Lady (1964)

On May 25, 2021, Paramount Pictures released My Fair Lady on the 4K UHD format. I fell in love with the movie when I got the 2015 Blu-ray (with the then-new restoration after it had briefly played in theatres), and I was very impressed with the transfer. Quite frankly, I considered that disc to be one of the crown jewels in my physical media collection (if not possibly my favorite, even though I had a number of other movies that I enjoyed even more than this one). It took nearly six-and-a-half years, but the status of that Blu-ray has finally been supplanted (well, five-and-a-half if we allow for when the UHD was actually released instead of when I first got the chance to see it). It still uses that same 2015 restoration, but with all the additional bells and whistles that the UHD format allows for! The detail is much better, as is all the color (especially for scenes like the Ascot races, the Embassy Ball, and a few others that now really pop visually). Quite simply, the picture here is breathtaking throughout the movie! Now, when I first started blogging (and doing the various “Top 10 Disc Releases” of the year posts), it was my intention to update those lists as I saw more and more of the movies released in any given year on physical media. I did so after that first year, but the time and effort proved to be too much, and thus I haven’t updated any of those posts beyond the initial posting. That’s still going to be the case, which is why I feel that I should mention that, for all intents and purposes, I now consider this UHD release of My Fair Lady to be the BEST physical media release of 2021, and therefore have no problem whatsoever in recommending it!

Note: for those who like to “future-proof” their titles by buying combo packs, this release is not recommended, as the two disc set contains the movie (and only the movie) on the UHD disc, and the accompanying Blu-ray is the second disc of extras that has been included with every release of the film since the 2015 Blu-ray. In short, if you are 4K ready, this set is highly recommended (and if you’re not, then I would suggest sticking with the Blu-ray or upgrading to 4K to enjoy the UHD)!

Film Length: 2 hours, 53 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #2 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2019

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Paris When It Sizzles (1964)Audrey HepburnWait Until Dark (1967)

The Reluctant Debutante (1958) – Rex Harrison

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Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2019) on… Love In The Afternoon (1957)

Well, with Valentine’s Day almost here, of course, we need a good romantic comedy! So let’s dig into the 1957 movie Love In The Afternoon, starring Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn and Maurice Chevalier.

Audrey Hepburn is Ariane Cheavasse, the daughter of private detective Claude Chevasse (Maurice Chevalier). Much to his consternation, she enjoys reading his various case files, as he would prefer to keep her away from his work. However, she overhears him telling one of his clients that their wife was having an affair with rich playboy Frank Flannagan (Gary Cooper), and that client decides he wants to shoot Frank!. Ariane gets to Frank’s hotel suite to prevent the shooting, thereby gaining Frank’s interest. She doesn’t reveal who she is, but she decides to pretend that she is more or less just like him, having had many lovers. Of course, he gets just a little jealous, as he starts to develop real feelings for her.

Of course, there are so many things that come to mind when I think of this movie. First, and foremost, I can’t help but think of the Gypsies, the four musicians that Gary Cooper’s Frank has hired to provide music to help his lady friends to get in the mood. They usually seem to end their time with the song “Fascination” (and on that note, I should mention, that, considering how much that song is heard in this movie, if you don’t like it, it will be that much harder for you to enjoy this movie). Another point I enjoy about this movie is Audrey Hepburn’s Ariane trying to make Frank Flanagan jealous, culminating in her recording a list of her “lovers” on his tape recorder. He listens to it, at first, with amusement, but as he listens to it multiple times, it increasingly gets under his skin (of course, all the while, I’m laughing my head off while I’m watching it)!

Up until this movie was released on Blu-ray in early 2017, I hadn’t really heard of it. However, at that time, I had been starting to watch some of Audrey Hepburn’s movies (beyond the one or two I had been watching for years), so when this one was announced (and coming from Warner Archive, with their reputation for well-done Blu-ray transfers), I had little hesitation in trying it out. Well, I firmly believe it was well-worth it, as this has become one of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies! And I do admit, I enjoy the song “Fascination,” so I don’t mind the fact that it gets stuck in my head every time I watch this movie! While the movie has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, I do admit to enjoying watching it around the holiday as a romantic movie (or any other time of the year, for that matter)! So I do very heartily recommend this movie!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection.

Film Length: 2 hour, 10 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Along Came Jones (1945) – Gary Cooper – Alias Jesse James(1959)

Funny Face (1957)Audrey HepburnCharade (1963)

Love Me Tonight (1932) – Maurice Chevalier

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2018) on… Wait Until Dark (1967)

Now on to the horror/ suspense thriller Wait Until Dark. The movie stars Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin.

We first find Lisa (Samantha Jones) using a doll to smuggle heroin in on a flight from Montreal to New York. Upon arriving, she finds somebody unexpected waiting for her, and hands the doll to another passenger she had just met, photographer Sam Hendrix (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.). A while later, we find two men coming to find an apartment they assumed was Lisa’s, only to discover it wasn’t hers. They meet Harry Roat (Alan Arkin), and find out he had killed Lisa (in that very apartment). He blackmails them into helping him find the doll. We are introduced to Sam’s wife, Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn), who has been blind the last year due to an auto accident. While her husband is away, the three men try to pull a con to get her to find the doll. She slowly comes to realize the three men are lying to her, and with the aid of a young neighbor, Gloria (Julie Herrod), she tries to outwit them.

I think I can say it simply by saying that I recommend this movie. That alone should mean something, as I am not that fond of horror movies as a whole. I tried this one for three reasons. 1) It was announced as a Warner Archive Blu-ray release (and I have found their Blu-rays to be quality releases). 2) It stars Audrey Hepburn, whom I have come to enjoy some of her film work, but it took the third reason to really sell me on this one. 3) My father. When I mentioned that this movie was coming out on Blu-ray, he knew EXACTLY what movie I was talking about just from the title alone. And he had great things to say about it. To be clear, he likes horror even less than I do, and yet he liked this one, relating to me how it came on TV one day he had wanted to get started on chores early (didn’t happen that day).

There is one thing I would recommend to those who get the chance to see it. I have heard that, when it was released in theaters, the various theaters were told to turn off the lights as much as they could for about the last eight minutes, to help improve the atmosphere. So, if you watch the movie, particularly in an area you can do something like that, give it a try!

The movie is available on DVD or on Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection.

One thing I should mention (although it may have been implied). I know most of the movies I watch tend to be family-friendly, but I would hesitate with this movie. There is very little swearing, but the main issue I would have is with some of the horror aspects, as this movie is aimed a little more for adults. Of course, I know every kid is different, but I would at least advise parents to watch this on their own before watching it with younger children.

Film Length: 1 hour, 47 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

My Fair Lady (1964)Audrey Hepburn

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!