A witty, touching film that explores Hepburn’s eloquent work. She was the graceful Eliza Doolittle in a Pygmalion scenario, and she was also a Parisian bookstore clerk in Gigi. After years of high-profile marriages and films, Hepburn settled down to raise two sons in Switzerland and became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, visiting famine-stricken villages until her death in 1993.
Despite the frantic pace, Charade maintains an air of elegance throughout. Hepburn’s Regina Lampert is a mature woman who’s no longer the impressionable ingenue of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Stanley Donen expertly balances the elements of Parisian romance and dangerous suspense. The film often echoes Hitchcock, with Regina’s growing doubts about Peter reminiscent of Suspicion and North by Northwest.
The movie’s moments of suspense are offset by riotous humor, usually in the form of Hepburn’s irresistible responses. It was released at a time when the world seemed to be changing rapidly, and audiences needed a beautiful form of escape.
My Fair Lady (1964)
The film adaptation of George Cukor’s 1956 stage musical of the Lerner and Loewe-penned play Pygmalion starred Hepburn as Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle. She won a Best Actress Oscar for her role.
Continuing to enchant audiences, Hepburn sported clothes designed by Hubert de Givenchy in light romantic comedies such as Sabrina (1954) and Funny Face (1957). She also exhibited her dancing skills. However, after this period of great success, Hepburn stopped acting full-time to devote more time to her humanitarian work for UNICEF. She would return to the screen sporadically, including 1976’s Robin and Marian.
Wait Until Dark (1967)
Hepburn proved she had a sense of humor with this screwball comedy. As typist Gabrielle Simpson, she tries to help screenwriter Richard Benson (William Holden) finish his latest project on time.
It would be a crime to forget Hepburn’s Hollywood debut, Roman Holiday (1953). She redefined cinematic chic as the princess who swaps her duties for an adventure with a reporter played by Gregory Peck. From there, Hepburn went on to star in Gigi and the drama The Nun’s Story. She also received an Oscar nomination for the thriller Wait Until Dark.
While making a film in Monte Carlo, Hepburn caught the eye of French novelist Colette, who wanted her to star in her Broadway play Gigi. Despite being inexperienced on stage, Hepburn delivered her first Broadway hit.
Gigi won the Oscar for Best Picture at the 1959 ceremony and marked only the second pure musical to win that award (the other being An American in Paris). Director Vincente Minnelli fills the screen with old fashioned grandeur that includes dazzling costumes and scenery from Cecil Beaton’s studio. Hepburn’s regal beauty is utterly charming.
Roman Holiday (1953)
After a brief retirement after Gigi, Hepburn returned to the screen in 1954’s Sabrina. Her elfin beauty and spirited presence enlivened this comedy about a typist who helps a struggling screenwriter finish his script.
Hepburn won an Oscar for her portrayal of the headstrong princess who escapes from her restrictive schedule to romance a foreign correspondent (played by Gregory Peck). Director William Wyler and designer Hubert de Givenchy used their film to introduce American audiences to a new kind of screen chic. A legend was born.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
A trained ballerina, Hepburn first appeared in British film as a chorus girl in such films as High Button Shoes (1948) and Thorold Dickinson’s Gigi (1958). She gained critical and commercial acclaim playing a beatnik bookstore clerk inspired by a Pygmalion play in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Hepburn’s roles in the 1960s became increasingly worldly and sophisticated, but she never lost her grace or vulnerability. Her other yesmovies film highlights include the historical epic War and Peace (1956) with her husband Mel Ferrer and Henry Fonda and her dramatic turn as Sister Luke in The Nun’s Story (1959). She earned an Oscar nomination for both films.
The Prince and the Pauper (1952)
After a series of bit parts and dance appearances, Hepburn made the move to film with Gigi. It was her first project to truly ignite audience interest.
Hepburn won her first Academy Award for her portrayal of a headstrong princess who charms an American reporter (Gregory Peck) while on the loose in Rome. This delightful romp mixes adventure with tongue-in-cheek irony that recalls the best of Mark Twain’s tall tales. The role catapulted Hepburn into superstardom. It also set the stage for her subsequent work. The next decade showcased Hepburn in a range of genres.
Funny Face (1957)
Funny Face is a visual treat with great cinematography, art direction, and set decoration. Hepburn looks like a goddess in this film.
Magazine editor Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) and photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) spot the beauty of Jo Stockton, a shy bookstore employee they are photographing. Hepburn has some lovely dancing moments with Astaire in this film.
Hepburn and Astaire are well matched here as romantic partners. This is a delightful romantic comedy that showcases Hepburn in designs by Hubert de Givenchy. It is a film that is a time capsule of 1950s Paris fashion and style.
The Private Life of Henry VIII (1960)
While filming a movie in Monte-Carlo, Hepburn caught the eye of French novelist Colette. She insisted Hepburn star in her stage adaptation of Gigi, and the actress was a sensation on Broadway in 1951.
Hepburn’s swan song in this frothy romantic comedy with Gregory Peck showcased her ability to combine a sense of grace and tomboyish winsomeness. She captivated audiences and won an Academy Award.
The Children’s Hour (1960)
After a lengthy career as a leading lady, Hepburn starred in several low-profile films such as the comedy Gigi and the thriller Wait Until Dark. The latter showcases Hepburn at her best, blending a cool, enigmatic poise with a playful aesthetic that’s highlighted by the Hubert de Givenchy designs.
In her debut Broadway play, Hepburn earned rave reviews as the title character of this story about a young woman in love with a married man. Although the film has its Hays Code era flaws, it captures Hepburn at her most mature as an actress.