Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Audrey Hepburn Week - Movies: Audrey's Rising Star

Audrey's rise to fame happened when she got the starring roll of Princess Ann in Roman Holiday  Producers initially wanted Elizabeth Taylor for the role, director William Wyler was so impressed by Hepburn's screen test that he cast her in the lead. Originally, the film was to have had only Gregory Peck's name above its title, with "Introducing Audrey Hepburn" beneath in smaller font. However, Peck suggested to Wyler that he elevate her to equal billing so that her name appeared before the title and in type as large as his. Wyler did this and Audrey won an Oscar for the role.
After Roman Holiday Audrey signed a seven picture deal with Paramount studios. Her next movie was Sabrina where she played the title role. Audrey was nominated for the 1954 Academy Award for Best Actress while winning the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role the same year.

Having become one of Hollywood's most popular box-office attractions, she went on to star in a series of successful films during the remainder of the decade, including her BAFTA- and Golden Globe-nominated role as Natasha Rostova in War and Peace (1956), an adaptation of the Tolstoy novel set during the Napoleonic wars with Henry Fonda and husband Mel Ferrer. 

In 1957, she exhibited her dancing abilities in her debut musical film Funny Face (1957) where Fred Astaire, a fashion photographer, discovers a beatnik bookstore clerk (Hepburn), who, lured by a free trip to Paris, becomes a beautiful model. 

The same year Hepburn starred in another romantic comedy, Love in the Afternoon, alongside Gary Cooper and Maurice Chevalier.

She played Sister Luke in The Nun's Story (1959), which focuses on the character's struggle to succeed as a nun alongside co-star Peter Finch. The role accrued her third Academy Award nomination and earned her a second BAFTA Award.

Following this, she received lukewarm reception for starring with Anthony Perkins in the romantic adventure Green Mansions (1959) where she plays—"with grace and dignity"—the "ethereal" Rima, a jungle girl, who falls in love with a Venezuelan traveller played by Perkins, 

The Unforgiven (1960), her only western film, where she appears "a bit too polished, too fragile and civilized among such tough and stubborn types" of Burt Lancaster and Lillian Gish in a story of racism against a group of Native Americans.

The next post will cover Audrey's continued stardom after her most iconic roll Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's 

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