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Tag Archives: Audrey Hepburn

Two for the Road

two for the road

Image Credit:  Two for the Road, 1967

Because I had the foresight to know I’d still be recovering from Oscar-night libations, I’ve arranged a special treat this week.  For the first time on Cinema Sips, I am happy to welcome a guest blogger!  When the author of the Critic For All Seasons blog approached me about doing a post and cocktail pairing with the wonderful film Two for the Road (DVD/Download), I was thrilled (and not just because this was finally proof that someone other than my mother reads Cinema Sips).  If you’ve been looking for more in-depth analyses of films, read on, and be sure to check out my guest’s blog at http://criticforallseasons.blogspot.com.  Cheers!

Two for the Road, by A Critic for All Seasons

Two for the Road is a 1967 road trip romance starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. Directed by Stanley Donen of Charade and Singin’ in the Rain fame, this picture was billed as a comedy but honestly is a heartfelt drama by present day standards. The film follows the story of Mark and Joanna Wallace, an unhappily married couple traveling to the French Riviera trying to make their relationship work. We then see how the couple first met, cutting to them on a boat crossing the English Channel a decade earlier while the present day Wallaces cross by air. There then are several other cuts through time of similar vacations in France in no real chronological order. These are linked by visual cues, like landmarks or similar weather. The past melds with the present in such a way that each story feels central to the film, versus them being a montage of flashbacks. There are 4 main plots, the melancholic present, their cheerful courtship and two trips from earlier in their marriage. As you would guess, the vacations become more gloomy as time progresses. It’s exciting to see the collapse of their relationship out of order, as the contrast of immediate highs and lows puts everything into perspective.

Keeping track of the jumps in time may be difficult, as narration is used for the first few shifts in time but not after. Luckily, we have great visuals to show passage, specifically vehicles, attire and hair. When the Wallaces first meet they are poor, travel by hitchhiking and wear plain clothes. In the present they travel by their own car, a Mercedes Benz to put their wealth into perspective, and Audrey has beautiful ready to wear clothing. Albert Finney’s clothing also becomes more refined to match his career advances, but our eyes are drawn to Hepburn for obvious reasons. This cinematography of Two for the Road is very playful and aids the story. Besides stressing the bright colors of the environment, the camera shows everything from the perspective of the characters. Whenever there is dialogue, constant cuts happen so we always see the speaker from the person listening. This method of filming is really helpful in having the audience sympathize for Mark and Joanna, as we are put in their shoes whenever they argue, have fun or sulk.

The acting in Two for the Road is amazing and makes the film unique. This is one of the few times that Audrey Hepburn was able to shed her distinguished image and play a faulty character. The Nun’s Story and Breakfast at Tiffany’s have her in similar waters, but here we actually feel dislike for her. Joanna starts out a carefree soul, by the end she is disheartened and miserable most of the time. The joy she had earlier in life comes out only on brief occasions, before it is stifled by Finney. Stark changes in personality are hard to capture, but she managed to do it here and give the audience something to think about. Finney’s portrayal of Mark was pretty decent too, although his character always was harsh so there isn’t a major transformation we can look to. The only main supporting characters were a married couple played by William Daniels and Eleanor Bron. Both did a good job and provided some comic relief as friends of Finney’s character. Daniels was a nice treat since he looked nothing like himself, resulting in me questioning where I heard that voice until I looked up the cast. Overall, Two for the Road is a must see since it combines great acting, a great story and gorgeous images into one two hour block.

The cocktail pairing, like the film, has a French atmosphere, looks beautiful and is very strong. Called the Paris Cocktail, this is a mixture of 1 oz gin, 1 oz dry vermouth and 1 oz crème de cassis. Noilly Prat is recommended since it is made in Southern France, the final destination of the Wallaces in each of their trips. Combine and shake with ice and serve in a martini glass with a flamed lemon peel.

Paris Cocktail

*If you are a blogger and interested in guest-blogging on Cinema Sips, please contact Liz Locke at cinemasips@gmail.com for more information. 

How to Steal a Million

Image Credit: How to Steal a Million, 1966

Image Credit: How to Steal a Million, 1966

I was in the mood for some vintage Peter O’Toole this week, so I went into my DVD vault to find one of my favorite capers. How to Steal a Million (DVD/Download) is everything one could want in a heist film- sparkling dialogue, stylish clothes and cars, a clever plan, and cheeky romance. For any classic film buff that thinks of O’Toole only as Lawrence of Arabia, prepare to meet funny James Bond.

In recent decades, art heist films have experienced enormous popularity, ie. The Thomas Crown AffairEntrapment, and Ocean’s Twelve. But surpassing them all in style and originality is How to Steal a Million. In this film, Audrey Hepburn is forced to steal her father’s forged sculpture from a Parisian museum before anybody realizes it’s actually a fake. She enlists the help of an art thief, played by Peter O’Toole, who devises a ridiculously clever scheme involving boomerangs, alarms, and Audrey minus her Givenchy couture. Along the way she’s courted by a creepy American businessman played by Eli Wallach, who wants the sculpture for his own unexplained, presumably perverse reasons. Aside from the wonderful script, this film features beautiful shots of 1960’s Paris, as well as maybe the cutest automobile in cinema. Always stylish, Audrey drives around in a little Autobianchi Bianchina sports car (a fancy Fiat 500), and I coveted it so much that when Fiat came out with the 500 Pop, I was first in line to buy one. Sadly, my closet is still missing some Givenchy.

For a classic heist film like this one, the cocktail has to be sophisticated and timeless. One of the most clever parts of the plot involves a boomerang, and without giving anything away, let’s just say the whole operation hinges on it. While watching How to Steal a Million, I recommend drinking a Boomerang.

Boomerang

1.5 oz gin

1oz dry vermouth

1tsp Luxardo maraschino liqueur

1 dash angostura bitters

Garnish: Lemon twist

Stir ingredients together over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a lemon twist.

Boomerang

The Boomerang cocktail first appeared in the Savoy Cocktail book as a whiskey-based drink, however bartenders are still making it today under a different iteration. I happen to like the gin version better myself, and I’ll take any excuse to use Luxardo maraschino liqueur (a new favorite- sorry St. Germain). If you’re looking for a great date night, this movie and this cocktail are it. Being trapped in a closet with cleaning supplies never looked so sexy. Cheers!

Funny Face

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Image credit: Paramount Pictures, 1957, Funny Face

Image credit: Paramount Pictures, 1957, Funny Face

With my wedding anniversary approaching this week, I got a little nostalgic and started looking back through some old photos. It was a very small affair 6 years ago, and the only things I held strong opinions on were the cake and the dress. The cake had to actually taste good, and the dress absolutely HAD to be modeled after Audrey Hepburn’s wedding dress in the film Funny Face (DVD/Download). I’m not delusional enough to think that my body AT ALL resembles Miss Hepburn’s, with her teeny tiny waste, but the dress she wears would look good on anybody. Thus a few phone calls and emails to our family dressmaker/tailor, some swatches sent back and forth, and voila- I had the dress of my dreams.

What’s ironic is that Audrey Hepburn never actually gets married in Funny Face. She plays a Greenwich Village bookstore employee, whose shop is suddenly overtaken by an obnoxious fashion magazine crew. Photographer Dick Avery (played by Fred Astaire and modeled after legendary fashion photographer Richard Avedon) spots Audrey and her “funny face” and decides that she is perfect for the magazine’s next campaign. She is flown to Paris where she models various to-die-for Givenchy ensembles and gallivants around the city, hanging out in beatnik coffee houses and staring up at the Eiffel Tower. The musical numbers in this movie are fantastic, and it’s such a joy to see Audrey dancing with the elegant and graceful Fred Astaire.

My drink this week is inspired by the magazine editor’s declaration “Think Pink!”, which is the first of many catchy tunes. Kay Thompson plays Maggie Prescott (essentially Anna Wintour before there was such a thing as Vogue Editor Anna Wintour), and she instructs her fashionable minions that pink is the next great color trend. Frankly, I like it a lot more than cerulean blue (ahem, The Devil Wears Prada). While watching Funny Face, I recommend drinking a Think Pink!

Think Pink!

2 oz vodka

2 oz grapefruit juice

1/2 oz lime juice

4 tsp Maraschino liqueur

Cherry and lime for garnish

Mix liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, then strain into a chilled glass.  Garnish with cherry and lime.

Think Pink!

I’d like to give a special shout-out to my husband for accompanying me to Target yesterday morning to snag the fabulous Lilly Pulitzer glasses used in the above photo.  Any man who will get up at 7:30 on a Sunday to stand in line with a bunch of crazed women shoppers is a keeper.  I guess maybe finding the right guy is even more important than finding the right dress ;-).  Cheers!

Roman Holiday

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Image credit Paramount Pictures, 1953, Roman Holiday

Image credit Paramount Pictures, 1953, Roman Holiday

For those lucky enough to be on spring break this week, I have one thing to say- I’m jealous! Although I do not have the week off, I am choosing to live vicariously through Audrey Hepburn by watching the movie Roman Holiday (DVD/Download). For anybody that wishes they had just one day off to do whatever they want, this is your movie.

Roman Holiday stars Gregory Peck as reporter Joe Bradley, who stumbles upon Princess Ann (played by Audrey Hepburn) after her escape from a rigid palace life. Upon meeting her, he thinks she’s just a drunk on the streets of Rome, but chivalrous, upstanding man that he is (this is Gregory Peck after all), he takes her back to his apartment and lets her sleep on his couch. The next day, he discovers her true identity, but in order to get a juicy newspaper scoop, he pretends he doesn’t know the truth. He and his photographer friend (played wonderfully by Eddie Albert) spend the day taking the Princess around Rome. They ride a Vespa, drink champagne and espresso, eat gelato on the Spanish Steps, and stick their hands in the Mouth of Truth. Watching the princess and Joe fall in love with each other and with Rome is pure fun, and Audrey Hepburn is absolutely radiant in her Oscar-winning role.

After Princess Ann is given some sleeping medication, she sneaks out of the palace by hopping in a Cinzano truck. Of course I have to use this brand of vermouth in my drink, along with Princess Ann’s favorite beverage- champagne (or Prosecco in this case). I plan to sip this drink and pretend I’m sitting at a sidewalk café in Rome, smoking a cigarette and genuinely enjoying life (I don’t really smoke, but she makes even this look adorable). While watching Roman Holiday, I recommend drinking a Sant’Angelo Sunset.

Sant’Angelo Sunset

½ cup blackberries

3 oz Cinzano sweet red vermouth

1 tablespoons sugar

6 oz Prosecco

Stir together blackberries, vermouth, and sugar. Let stand 1 hour until juices are released and sugar dissolves.

Spoon 2 tbsp. blackberry juice and 2-3 blackberries into a champagne flute or coupe. Top with Prosecco.

sant angelo sunset

This drink gets its name from the wonderful scene in the film where Audrey Hepburn visits a barge party along the banks of the Castel Sant’Angelo. I was lucky enough to walk these same banks on my honeymoon to Rome, and stumbled on an old film poster for Roman Holiday from a street vendor. Of course I had to buy it. This movie brings back memories of sweet gelato, soaking in the sun on the Spanish Steps, quietly traversing the Colesseum, and listening to the lovely sounds of the Italian language. Like Princess Ann, I will cherish my visit in memory as long as I live. Cheers!

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Image Credit Paramount Pictures (1961)

Image Credit Paramount Pictures (1961)

“I’m just crazy about Tiffany’s.”

That’s the line- the one that makes me smile every time. I don’t know if it’s the way Audrey Hepburn says it in her breathy, untraceable accent, or if it’s the idea of a large boutique full of diamonds and precious gems bringing delightful happiness to all who enter, but something about it gets me grinning from ear to ear. As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can think of no better movie to watch on February 14th with a cocktail. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (DVD/Download) isn’t just a charming story about love between two lost souls- it’s a classic film showcasing the style and grace of the great Audrey Hepburn.

Of course as many know, Truman Capote was not at all pleased with the producers’ choice in casting Ms. Hepburn to play his iconic literary creation Holly Golightly. And frankly, after reading the book, I don’t think I would have been thrilled either. The film version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s bears little resemblance to the novel, though both are wonderful works in their own right. Yes, the film whitewashes a lot of the more scandalous details of the book (most importantly Holly’s career as an escort) but still the overarching themes remain the same. I love the way Audrey Hepburn plays Holly as strong and funny one minute, then beautifully damaged the next minute. George Peppard is satisfactory as her love interest, in a Ken-doll sort of way, but I think of him more as window-dressing. Blake Edwards does a fabulous job directing, particularly in the party scene (we’ll see more of his genius on Cinema Sips when I talk about his other cocktail-fueled masterpiece The Party), and the shots of Hepburn and Peppard racing hand-in-hand through the streets of New York make me giddy with envy and happiness.

For my cocktail pairing, I wanted to come up with something that evoked the opening scene in front of Tiffany’s, and also the wonderful moment where Fred and Holly drink champagne before breakfast. I think this drink hits all the right notes in terms of complexity and style, just like Holly herself. When you’re watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I recommend drinking a variation on a mimosa that I call  the Sunrise Sip.

¼ oz Peach Schnapps

½ oz Citrus Vodka

Juice of 1 Clementine

2 oz Champagne

Clementine twist for garnish

Pour peach schnapps, vodka, and the clementine juice into a champagne flute. Top with chilled champagne, and garnish with a clementine twist.

 

Whether you’re spending the holiday alone, with your friends, or with your significant other, this film will make you fall in love- with vintage Givenchy clothes and a cat named Cat. I swear, the sight of her pathetic feline friend soaking wet and meowing in a New York alley would melt the heart of even the fiercest dog-lover. I apologize in advance for the strange and offensive Mickey Rooney that I’m subjecting you to, but just take his Mr. Yunioshi with a grain of salt and skip ahead to more Audrey and more Fred-baby. And for heaven’s sake, don’t pull a Mag Wildwood and spend your evening face-down on the floor. Moderation, please. Cheers!