Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Two For The Road, 1967

A return visit to one of 1967's enchantments: Stanley Donen's TWO FOR THE ROAD, with Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney making a great romantic team (off camera too it seems...), as they play out Frederick Raphael's witty script.

After Hepburn's '50s romances with those older men like Bogart, Fonda, Astaire she stepped into the new world of the swinging '60s for this trenchant comedy of marital manners. Ahead of its time in telling the story of her troubled marriage to architect Albert Finney in a non-linear fashion, the film embraces scenes from 12 years of road trips to the South of France. For once, Audrey got to play the bitter aftermath of youthful romance, as a woman who swears when angry and even cheats on her husband. In a big departure for the star, director Stanley Donen (working with Audrey again after FUNNY FACE and CHARADE) made her forego her usual couture wardobes by Givenchy in favor of the latest from such mod designers as Mary Quant and Paco Rabanne. The new look brought Hepburn into a more modern era and contributed to one of her best, and edgiest, performances, as we go back and forth through the years and in those different cars and time periods, right up to the mod swinging 1967 era, as captured by Schlesinger's DARLING and Antonioni's BLOW-UP.

Eleanor Bron and William Daniels are sterling support as the American friends they travel with one year, with their insufferable child, and young Jacqueline Bisset is there as well. It is still a witty charming treat as Raphael, who also scripted DARLING, reworks the fractured romance. Audrey had just done that other '60s treat, the delightful - if rarther overlong HOW TO STEAL A MILLION with that other English heart-throb of the era Peter O'Toole, set in Paris once again - at least half of Hepburn's movies have a French or Parisian setting, so this was of the same but more bittersweet. After this and WAIT UNTIL DARK Hepburn would be away from the screen until that lovely return in Lester's ROBIN AND MARIAN in 1976, when she enchanted us all over again ...

I could rhapsodise about Eleanor Bron at length here and in Donen's BEDAZZLED the next year in 1968 with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore - I love her deadpan Wimpy waitress with the eyeshadow, and of couse she was also ideal with The Beatles in HELP and in Ken Russell's WOMEN IN LOVE. I used to see her cycling around town frequently here in London, and she was once shopping next to me at Sainsbury's supermarket in Marylebone....more on BEDAZZLED in due course...


  1. This is one of my absolute FAVE moves. I see it at least once a year. I was very impressed by Eleanor Bron's accent in this film (especially since I get such a laugh the first time she opens her mouth as the waitress in "Bedazzled")and have liked her in everything I've seen her in since. Jealous of your having seen her in person so many times.

  2. Bron is indeed one of the great English actresses, either in comedy or drama and satire. Good to see TWO FOR THE ROAD is still a great treat to rewatch regularly.