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.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Audrey: Portraits of an Icon

As a blockbuster exhibition celebrating Audrey Hepburn is about to open in London, Camille Paglia has written another fascinating essay (I love her BFI booklet on THE BIRDS) exploring the enduring allure of the icon of screen and style ....
Here is just a sample: "TIFFANY'S exposed Hepburn's latent androgyny, turning her into a major diva for gay men, who identified with Holly's witty self-invention in shedding her rural Texas past. Among Hepburn's physical ambiguities were her unusually wide mouth, thick brows and large feet (Garbo had big feet too) the one thing drag queens cannot change.
But among the great gay divas, Hepburn is unique in her pristine innocence and affable courtesy. She was not domineering or temperamental, neither caustic and vampiric like Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford or Bette Davis, nor masochistically needy and wound-baring like Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand. All who worked with her raved about her kindness and gentleness."

Well, we love Audrey here at The Projector, and that other Hepburn as well - two of the movies great stylists (I am just going to watch Kate's DESK SET again, I like it a lot now). Audrey certainly continues to go on being a style icon, as indeed the BFI season on her a few years back showed - they did not even include her great acting roles like THE NUN'S STORY or THE LOUDEST WHISPER or THE UNFORGIVEN ! Instead it was Audrey in Givenchy and in Paris all the way. And of course the books and photo albums go on, perhaps she is now the best known movie star after Marilyn (girls who know nothing about movies, like my teenage niece, have Audrey and Marilyn posters on their bedroom walls), as her sons sell her image to sell chocolate ..... but Audrey always worked for her full fee so would probably be pleased to be still earning. 
We love the early 50s Audrey, when she and Kay Kendall were showgirls in London west end revues before she got into movies, and then the hits ROMAN HOLIDAY and SABRINA and FUNNY FACE, and that 60s Audrey of TIFFANY'SCHARADE, HOW TO STEAL A MILLION and TWO FOR THE ROAD, and ROBIN AND MARIAN was a lovely late hit for her, and I even like Bogdanovich's THEY ALL LAUGHED though Audrey is not in it much ... more on Audrey at label. Don't even get me started on Audrey and Cat in TIFFANY'S ....
The exhibition Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon is at the National Portrait Gallery, London WC2 from July 2 to October 18 -
There are even three screenings of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S at the Royal Abert Hall this month, with live orchestra playing the score, and the Mancini family attending ....


  1. Martin Bradley8 June 2015 at 15:51

    I love the FUNNY FACE poster and I will have to give THE DESK SET another go. Like I said already, not a favourite of the Tracy/Hepburn pairings.

  2. DESK SET is surprisingly witty, from a broadway play with great roles for Hepburn and Tracy & Joan Blondell! As I mentioned in other posts on it, Lee Remick was up for the nothing part played by Dina Merrill - for her first film, but Tracy advised her to wait for a better role to get noticed in, which she did that year with Kazan's A FACE IN THE CROWD. Kate has a delicious drunk scene during that long Christmas office party where she sings "Night and Day" and has a terrific red coat and matching gloves. Love her divine New York apartment too ...