For almost 20 years Audrey Hepburn's pixie-like features lit up Hollywood's silver screens with hit after hit and she became not only a screen icon, but also a style icon (with a little help from Givenchy), and still features high in polls of the world's most beautiful women. It's perhaps no surprise, then, that Paramount have chosen to honour her with a box set of some of her best-known films. However, this is only "some of", with the absence of her dazzling performances in Roman Holiday
and My Fair Lady
, leaving three out of the four films included here lacking in comparison.
Breakfast at Tiffany's is the strongest and certainly the best-loved Hepburn film in this collection, offering beautifully comic performances by both Hepburn and her leading man, George Peppard.
Funny Face also makes a welcome entry, if only for the wonderful performance by Fred Astaire; Hepburn, though, was not a strong enough dancer to hold her own against Astaire's brilliance.
Sabrina holds its own as the Cinderella story of a chauffeur's daughter who turns into a beautiful society girl, but it was clearly a quick and easy vehicle for Paramount to produce in the wake of Hepburn's success in Roman Holiday.
The mysterious entry of the collection is Paris When It Sizzles, probably one of Hepburn's least-known and most quirky films, with two parallel love stories played out on the screen. Although not an obvious hit and hard work in places it offers an interesting screwball performance by Hepburn, even if the sparks did not fly with her screen partner William Holden.
On the DVD: The Audrey Hepburn Collection offers a nice clean widescreen transfer for three of its movies, but Sabrina is a full-frame transfer that lacks something in comparison. All but Breakfast at Tiffany's (which has a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack) are mono sound transfers, which is only a real disappointment in Funny Face because of George and Ira Gershwin's score. The special features are also lacking, with only a trailer offered on two of the films and a mildly interesting documentary on Sabrina. The best is the featurette on Funny Face, which charts the success of Paramount in the 1950s, but offers nothing a film fan would not have known already. All in all this is an attractive box set, but perhaps one for the die-hard Hepburn fan only. --Nikki Disney
Breakfast At Tiffany's-A young New York writer sponsored by a wealthy woman falls in love with the charming, impulsive and eccentric call girl that lives n ext door. Based on a story by Truman Capote.; Sabrina-The classic original starring Audrey Hepburn, William Holden and Humphrey Bogart. The chauffeur for a wealthy family sends his mous ey daughter to Paris to broaden her horizons and help overc; Funny Face-A fashion editor and a photographer choose a shy bookstore attendant as their 'quality woman.'; Paris When It Sizzles-A film writer tries out several script ideas with his secretary as heroine and himself as the hero or villain.