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High Five: Audrey Hepburn

Today is the 86th birth anniversary of one of the most good-looking and talented actresses of all time, Audrey Hepburn. Here, I pay homage to Hepburn by looking at, what I think to be, her 5 most famous and iconic roles.

Roman Holiday (1953)
What better beginning than Hepburn’s Oscar winning role in one of the most beautiful love stories ever, Roman Holiday! As the princess. who escapes from her retinue in Rome to get out of her claustrophobic schedule, Hepburn is an absolute delight, be it in her handy use of a guitar or her driving a scooter in the streets of Rome. And then of course, there’s Gregory Peck! Here we see Hepbern looking jaw-droppingly beautiful just after she’s had her haircut in the film.

Sabrina (1954)
Hepburn is drop dead gorgeous as the chauffeur’s daughter who goes to Paris and returns as a sophisticated young woman with both brothers (Humphrey Bogart, William Holden) of the family her father worked for, falling for her. Interestingly, Edith Head designed Hepburn’s costumes – being inspired by some Hubert de Givenchy designs that Hepburn liked – and won an Oscar for the film. Sabrina led to a lifetime association between Givenchy and Hepburn.

Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
For many Hepburn admirers, Breakfast At Tiffany’s is perhaps her most memorable film, Roman Holiday notwithstanding. Based on Truman Capote’s novella, he, however, hated Hepburn in the part he thought Marilyn Monroe was perfect for. Still, Hepburn turned her character Holly Golightly, otherwise a Southern girl turned Manhattan ‘trickster’, into a charming young eccentric society girl, whom audiences loved. The hairstyle, the oversized cigarette holder, the dark glasses and the black Givenchy dress – all became iconic images related to Audrey Hepburn.

Charade (1963)
After Cary Grant turned down the role Bogart finally played in Sabrina, he was paired at last with Hepburn in this great comedy thriller, that is said to be even more Hitchcockian than Hitchcock! Directed by Stanley Donen, the film, revolving around $250,000 gold that was stolen instead of being delivered to the French Resistance in World War II, sees an ideal combination of thrills, romance and comedy. The highlight is the repartee and chemistry between Grant and Hepburn making this, their only film together, a most memorable one. And yes, it is yet another Hepburn film shot in Paris!

Wait Until Dark (1967)
Wait Until Dark sees one of Hepburn’s finest ever dramatic performances in a nail-biting thriller directed by Terence Young. Hepburn plays a blind woman in possession of a doll that has heroin in it and that is wanted by violent criminal, Alan Arkin. To immerse viewers in the suspense of the climactic scene, movie theater owners dimmed their lights to the legal limits, and then turned them off, one by one, as each light bulb was smashed on-screen, until the audiences were in complete darkness and terrified. Little wonder, the climax is regarded as one of the top scariest moments in cinema history!

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