This quick survey of the life and career of actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn (1929-93) covers a lot of territory in an hour’s time, padded with pledge breaks to fit an 85-minute slot. She’s worth at least twice that much.
Film clips here begin with Hepburn’s 1951 debut as a cigarette girl in “Laughter in Paradise” and end at “Robin and Marian” (1976) — oddly eliminating subsequent work in “Bloodline,””They All Laughed,” the docu “Directed by William Wyler,” 1987 TV movie “Love Among Thieves” and “Always.” On the plus side, there’s much of “Roman Holiday,” and an emphasis on her work with the underrated Stanley Donen: “Funny Face,””Charade” and “Two for the Road.”
Nominated for five Academy Awards, the former model and ballet dancer won only once, as best actress for “Roman Holiday” (1953), earning her a historical footnote for having been presented an Oscar by Jean Hersholt.
Included in the docu are numerous interview segments, brief notes from directors Billy Wilder, Donen and Blake Edwards; co-stars Gregory Peck and George Peppard; Elizabeth Taylor; and various members of her family, friends and professional acquaintances, including Henry Mancini and couturier Hubert de Givenchy.
While few of these are particularly insightful, some might pique film buffs, such as Peck’s acknowledgment that while he “first had the impression” that “Roman Holiday” was about his character, as soon as he saw newcomer Hepburn’s screen test he insisted that she be credited above the title.
Peppard reveals that “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” author Truman Capote felt Peppard and Hepburn were miscast, and that Capote himself should be playing Peppard’s character.
There are several quotes from Hepburn, gathered from her promotion of UNICEF, a charity whose work she remembered from her youth in wartime Holland.
Of Hepburn’s later work traveling the world to promote UNICEF, Wilder declared that Hepburn “was made by God for this job.” Givenchy, a lifetime friend, states that the actress accepted her fatal illness with grace, “because she knew that she had accomplished everything with perfection.”