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Emma Thompson: 'Audrey Hepburn couldn't act'

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> {quote:title=johnm_001 wrote:}{quote}

 

> Not sure why you keep referring to Julie Andrews, when Emma Thompson never mentioned her, and she's not really part of this discussion. But, since you bring her up, the roles in *Mary Poppins* and *The Sound of Music* as played by Julie Andrews are pretty much the opposite of "twee". Yes, had Audrey Hepburn played Maria (a role she went after with full force), it would most certainly have been "twee". Julie Andrews played those roles as a determined, resourceful woman, not a waif. She is sweet, but with gumption. She doesn't need someone to rescue her. And if you think Audrey Hepburn is a better actress than Julie Andrews, well, you're certainly entitled to that opinion. I think a lot of your sentiments are solely based on emotion.

 

 

Oh because everything you said in this post was based on fact? Everything you have said against My Fair Lady & Audrey Hepburn have also been based on emotion. My fair Lady was a successful movie even without Julie Andrews and it is ranked just as high as Mary Poppins and Sound of Music on many critics and fans list.

 

I was not putting down Julie Andrews acting. I just said in comparison and based on the roles she has played I don't see how she is better actress than Audrey Hepburn. And I think Audrey has played plenty determined/resourceful and admirable women. Not just sweet waifs. To me she was admirable on and off screen (although actually I feel the same about Julie Andrews, as a person I really admire her).

 

And it doesn't matter that Emma Thompson did not bring up Julie Andrews plenty of other people have on this thread. I think it is a perfectly fair comparison.

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I guess I didn't quite go far enough in researching King and I. I am laughing, well no Gertie wouldn't have quite made the grade. I did find it interesting, something I had forgotten, was that Rex Harrison played the King in the non-musical movie version.

 

Also, I will mention Lerner's memoir again, they wanted Rex so much that he and Loewe, sweated bullets tailoring the "word-songs" (whatever) to fit Harrison's speaking voice. Rex emphatically would NOT sing and wouldn't take the part if that was a condition.

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Totally agree with you.

 

Cinderella was broadcast live on CBS on 31 March 1957 under the musical direction of Alfredo Antonini and attracted an estimated 107 million viewers. ( according to Wikipedia)

 

107 million viewers represented 62% of the American population at the time.

 

I think many Americans knew by then who Julie Andrews was.

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There seem to be many competing ideas in this thread about Audrey, Emma, Julie and God.

 

But what I think should be discussed are those examples where Hepburn's screen work is strongest and times when she was very capable as an actress.

 

For instance, I have seen no one mention her Oscar-nominated work in WAIT UNTIL DARK. She's very good in that picture. It's later in her career, and I think she has learned by 1967 to apply herself much more earnestly to her craft and really turn in a richly layered performance. In much of her earlier work, she's sincere but her acting is fluff. But by the time we get to DARK, she seems to be working harder to engage the material. It helps that she has Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna to challenge her, and Efrem Zimbalist (plus her husband Mel Ferrer as producer). If you have not seen this picture, please do. It airs on TCM on Sept 19 and Oct 3.

 

I think she also works hard in THE NUN'S STORY and in WAR AND PEACE.

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> {quote:title=Kinokima wrote:}{quote}

>

>

> Oh because everything you said in this post was based on fact? Everything you have said against My Fair Lady & Audrey Hepburn have also been based on emotion. My fair Lady was a successful movie even without Julie Andrews and it is ranked just as high as Mary Poppins and Sound of Music on many critics and fans list.

>

> I was not putting down Julie Andrews acting. I just said in comparison and based on the roles she has played I don't see how she is better actress than Audrey Hepburn. And I think Audrey has played plenty determined/resourceful and admirable women. Not just sweet waifs. To me she was admirable on and off screen (although actually I feel the same about Julie Andrews, as a person I really admire her).

>

 

Well, I am basing what I am saying on my opinion, of course, and emotion, yes. But, also fact. The fact is I saw the Moss Hart production not once, but twice. Once with Julie Andrews and Alec Clunes and once with Sally Ann Howes and Edward Mulhare. They both were as different from the film, as night and day. Yes, the songs were the same, the scenes were in the same order, the lines were the same; but in tone and attitude, and execution of the musical numbers (Get Me to the Church on Time was and incredible show-stopping dance number) it was in a completely different class. It was more exhilarating and had more scope than the Ultra Panavision 70 film. Moss Hart's direction, in my opinion (and all the people who I know who saw his show), was superior to Cukor's, in every possible way.

 

I never said you were putting Julie Andrews' acting down. I only wondered why you keep bringing her into the discussion about what Emma Thompson said, since she never mentioned her. And you brought up the word "twee" regarding Mary Poppins and Maria. I only tried to explain how Julie's performances would never be called "twee". It is not synonymous with sweet or nice, but with fragile and frail or wimpy. Julie Andrews is the further thing from fragile and frail, or mealy-mouthed or wimpy. She is assured and reliable. A dependable girl-guide. The word could not be applied to her

 

Finally, of course it was a success without Julie Andrews. You aren't reading my posts closely enough. I've already made the point that the show didn't need any of the people that Jack Warner felt it needed to made it a success. Or anyone else. The title was the star. The show was the star. Still, it wasn't the hit that Jack Warner thought or wanted it to be. He predicted that the biggest show in Broadway history would be an even bigger motion picture success. He predicted it would be the biggest success in motion picture history. He spent a fortune on the rights, his star and the production, and while the film was a hit, by any standard, it wasn't even the biggest hit of 1964. It didn't come close to the profits of *Mary Poppins*, released the same year, or *The Sound of Music*, the following year, both starring the person he thought nobody would want to see.

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> {quote:title=ClassicViewer wrote:}{quote}

>

> For instance, I have seen no one mention her Oscar-nominated work in WAIT UNTIL DARK. She's very good in that picture. It's later in her career, and I think she has learned by 1967 to apply herself much more earnestly to her craft and really turn in a richly layered performance. In much of her earlier work, she's sincere but her acting is fluff. But by the time we get to DARK, she seems to be working harder to engage the material. It helps that she has Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna to challenge her, and Efrem Zimbalist (plus her husband Mel Ferrer as producer). If you have not seen this picture, please do. It airs on TCM on Sept 19 and Oct 3.

>

> I think she also works hard in THE NUN'S STORY and in WAR AND PEACE.

 

Another show I saw on Broadway, and while I much preferred Lee Remick in the role, I really like this film, and Audrey in it. She does tend to fall into her little girl acting like a grown-up motif, when she has to act really frightened, but it's one of her finest roles. Her acting in *The Nun's Story* is completely without flaw, imo. Her role in *Breakfast at Tiffany's* is the most perfect for her, because it completely takes advantage (exploits) her presence. In fact, it defines her as an iconic film star.

And Mel was the producers, because Audrey bought the film for herself.

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I'm sure this Emma chick thinks there are things she can do that Audrey can't, but there are a lot of things Audrey could do on the screen that Emma can't either.

 

Audrey had the kind of on-screen charm and screen presence that is not taught in a formal acting school in Cambridge.

 

If Emma doesn't think that's acting, than she's obviously too far in her own forest to see the trees.

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> {quote:title=johnm_001 wrote:}{quote}

>

> Well, I am basing what I am saying on my opinion, of course, and emotion, yes. But, also fact. The fact is I saw the Moss Hart production not once, but twice. Once with Julie Andrews and Alec Clunes and once with Sally Ann Howes and Edward Mulhare. They both were as different from the film, as night and day. Yes, the songs were the same, the scenes were in the same order, the lines were the same; but in tone and attitude, and execution of the musical numbers (Get Me to the Church on Time was and incredible show-stopping dance number) it was in a completely different class. It was more exhilarating and had more scope than the Ultra Panavision 70 film. Moss Hart's direction, in my opinion (and all the people who I know who saw his show), was superior to Cukor's, in every possible way.

>

> I never said you were putting Julie Andrews' acting down. I only wondered why you keep bringing her into the discussion about what Emma Thompson said, since she never mentioned her. And you brought up the word "twee" regarding Mary Poppins and Maria. I only tried to explain how Julie's performances would never be called "twee". It is not synonymous with sweet or nice, but with fragile and frail or wimpy. Julie Andrews is the further thing from fragile and frail, or mealy-mouthed or wimpy. She is assured and reliable. A dependable girl-guide. The word could not be applied to her

>

> Finally, of course it was a success without Julie Andrews. You aren't reading my posts closely enough. I've already made the point that the show didn't need any of the people that Jack Warner felt it needed to made it a success. Or anyone else. The title was the star. The show was the star. Still, it wasn't the hit that Jack Warner thought or wanted it to be. He predicted that the biggest show in Broadway history would be an even bigger motion picture success. He predicted it would be the biggest success in motion picture history. He spent a fortune on the rights, his star and the production, and while the film was a hit, by any standard, it wasn't even the biggest hit of 1964. It didn't come close to the profits of *Mary Poppins*, released the same year, or *The Sound of Music*, the following year, both starring the person he thought nobody would want to see.

 

 

 

While it is true what you say Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music beat My Fair Lady in the box office, My Fair Lady was still a huge box office success. Maybe if could have been better with Julie Andrews but it certainly didn't fail without her. All 3 movies are on the list of top box office movies ever. And today critically they all seemed to be ranked the same. They all have around the same IMDB rating too.

 

And just because you saw the play does not suddenly make your opinion fact. It is a fact you saw the play what you thought of the movie is an opinion. I am not saying the movie was better or worse than the play. I am saying the movie was great regardless of the play. It still won best picture and is still a highly regarded classic today. It has its detractors but so does everything.

 

 

Emma Thompson said specifically that twee meant sweet with no bite. She said nothing about being weak or frail. I have seen plenty of people say both Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music are sugary sweet and that is what I was referring to (although I am a fan of both I do agree with this sentiment.) I was not trying to imply that Julie Andrews played weak or frail characters....not at all. But I also certainly do not think these were the type of characters Audrey Hepburn played either.

 

As for bringing up Julie Andrews the main thing I have been saying is Emma Thompson complained about Audrey's singing. As I said many times Audrey CAN sing, she just isn't a professional singer that can sing high notes like Julie Andrews which the role required. I think it is fair to say that if Emma is going to complain about Audrey's singing she better get someone who like Julie Andrews can sing those high notes.

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> Hibi you wrote:

>I'd hardly call a film that won 8 Oscars and went on to become one of the most financially succesful film musicals ever made cursed. Just because some naysayers thought Audrey was miscast? Audiences at the time aparently didnt think so.

 

The cruse doesn't come with the 8 Oscar win, box-office success and audience reaction. It comes with the overall response from various important corners of Hollywood itself towards the casting. And, for all the success the movie was worth, Audrey was obviously passed-up at Oscar time. She wasn't even nominated and that must have hurt bad. Both the film and Audrey carried this cruse of discontent among those in the entertainment world (quite a few) that objected to the way the film was produced. While it might be said that the movie was beautiful and somewhat entertaining, it failed along the simple line to hold a legitimacy to what it should have represented as a musical. This always leads to the casting issue. Had Jack L. Warner had his way, he would have settled for Cary Grant and then Julie might have stood a chance. But then, who knows or who can really say what might have happened? What did happen was that the motion picture carries a stigma that to this day continues on, as an example of some sort of historical element to motion pictures that personifies a bit of negativity. My guess is that Thompson made her comments based around what's been debated about for the last 46 years.

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If you don't have anything good to say about someone, just don't say anything at all.

 

Obviously, Emma Thompson has never heard of that saying.

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> {quote:title=Kinokima wrote:}{quote}

 

> While it is true what you say Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music beat My Fair Lady in the box office, My Fair Lady was still a huge box office success. Maybe if could have been better with Julie Andrews but it certainly didn't fail without her. All 3 movies are on the list of top box office movies ever. And today critically they all seemed to be ranked the same. They all have around the same IMDB rating too.

>

> And just because you saw the play does not suddenly make your opinion fact. It is a fact you saw the play what you thought of the movie is an opinion. I am not saying the movie was better or worse than the play. I am saying the movie was great regardless of the play. It still won best picture and is still a highly regarded classic today. It has its detractors but so does everything.

>

>

> Emma Thompson said specifically that twee meant sweet with no bite. She said nothing about being weak or frail. I have seen plenty of people say both Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music are sugary sweet and that is what I was referring to (although I am a fan of both I do agree with this sentiment.) I was not trying to imply that Julie Andrews played weak or frail characters....not at all. But I also certainly do not think these were the type of characters Audrey Hepburn played either.

>

> As for bringing up Julie Andrews the main thing I have been saying is Emma Thompson complained about Audrey's singing. As I said many times Audrey CAN sing, she just isn't a professional singer that can sing high notes like Julie Andrews which the role required. I think it is fair to say that if Emma is going to complain about Audrey's singing she better get someone who like Julie Andrews can sing those high notes.

 

You're apparently missing my point, or I'm not making it very well. Either way, nothing about my opinion of the film has anything to do with Julie Andrews. I'm still confused by your constantly mentioning her in your responses to me, as if I (or Emma) were making some comparison. Had Sally Ann Howes, Shirley Jones, or anyone who could both act and sing played Eliza AND, even more importantly, had Warner hired a director who understood the piece, I would most-likely have a different opinion of it. They didn't, he didn't and I don't.

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> {quote:title=JefCostello wrote:}{quote}

> If you don't have anything good to say about someone, just don't say anything at all.

>

> Obviously, Emma Thompson has never heard of that saying.

 

That doesn't apply in show business, as any number of critics would attest.

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She's not a critic. She's supposed to be a movie star.

 

How would she feel if someone in her line of work called her a pompous British **** for her selfish comments?

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In Response to what you said about show business . . . I'm reminded of what Bette said In "All About Eve" that went: In this rat race, eveybody's guilty until proved innocent!

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> {quote:title=JefCostello wrote:}{quote}

> She's not a critic. She's supposed to be a movie star.

>

> How would she feel if someone in her line of work called her a pompous British **** for her selfish comments?

 

Everyone's a critic. Getting a paycheck for your opinions makes you lucky, not better informed.

I see nothing selfish about her comments.

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I don't prefer TIFFANY'S, but that's because I dislike the racism in it and I'm not a fan of Capote's writing. And I'm not exactly sure it's a good role for her.

 

I think people became accustomed to her in light romantic comedies, but I really think her gift was as a dramatic actress. I also like her in Huston's UNFORGIVEN, even it's a flawed film...when she's challenged with more serious material, she seems to concentrate better as an actress. In frothy tales, she is gliding by on her personality and that's not acting to me, it's merely being present and reciting memorized dialogue. So I can see why Thompson doesn't appreciate her. But I think if Thompson and some of the nay sayers look at her dramatic roles, they will see that she did have aptitude as a thespian.

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*"Emma, Emma, Emma, what WAS the point of putting down Audrey Hepburn??? To get attention to your project I guess."* - Poinciana

 

"By jove, I thinks she's got it!"

 

Yes, Poinciana, it is all about drumming up interest in a "new" *My Fair Lady* which, unless it is for television, will be as big a disappointment as most of the other "musicals" put out in the past decade.

 

Not a defense , but I believe Emma Thompson was trying to express that she would like to see Wendy Hiller's "Eliza" in George Cukor's *My Fair Lady*. Though I haven't read the Shaw original, I bet the Hiller/Howard version is closer to the tone of the play than the Lerner & Loewe book for the musical.

 

And I hope Emma Thompson isn't thinking of starring in a re-make of *Wait Until Dark*. I fear everyone in this thread will be rooting for the Alan Arkin character to "off her".

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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Well, as has been said "There's no underestimating the public intelligence." What a tempest in a teapot this thread has engendered but it's sure been fun.

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> ClassicViewer you wrote:

>I don't prefer TIFFANY'S, but that's because I dislike the racism in it and I'm not a fan of Capote's writing. And I'm not exactly sure it's a good role for her.

 

Well, from the start, Truman insisted that Marilyn be cast as the legendary "Holly Golightly." Whether or not this would have worked is anybody's guess. Truman and Marilyn had become good friends during the time she lived in New York. However, the original tale was not based on Marilyn as some fans tend to think. Once Audrey signed on, the whole aura of the character and its story was changed to fit the present day atmosphere of the 1960s. Truman knew that his little tale would not be what he had envisioned, once it would appear on screen. He then wanted the tremendous star power of Marilyn to carry over the motion picture version. Certainly, Audrey was about as big as it could get, but in the long run, Truman was never pleased with the way the film turned out.

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I was around at the time. But I was too young to watch the Today show. Who was going to play in the movie wasnt a big issue in our house. My parents were too busy putting food on the table. My parents werent big musical fans. The movie didnt even play in my burg. LOL. If people were upset, they should have known better. Stage stars rarely repeated their roles in films.

 

Edited by: Hibi on Aug 12, 2010 9:09 AM

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You've heard all the tracks? How? I thought only Loverly and Show Me were released to the public?

 

They let Lucy sing in Mame. I cant believe Audrey sounded as horrible as Lucy croaking her way through that movie........

 

 

And speaking of croaking, Lauren Bacall croaked her way through 2 Broadway musicals and Katharine Hepburn too. I dont recall people caring that they couldnt sing.........

 

Edited by: Hibi on Aug 12, 2010 9:13 AM

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Where do you get this information? In all the books I've read (and I've read quite a few) I've never read anything about Audrey going after the role in Sound of Music. (I'm laughing just thinking about it)

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> {quote:title=johnm_001 wrote:}{quote}

 

>

> You're apparently missing my point, or I'm not making it very well. Either way, nothing about my opinion of the film has anything to do with Julie Andrews. I'm still confused by your constantly mentioning her in your responses to me, as if I (or Emma) were making some comparison. Had Sally Ann Howes, Shirley Jones, or anyone who could both act and sing played Eliza AND, even more importantly, had Warner hired a director who understood the piece, I would most-likely have a different opinion of it. They didn't, he didn't and I don't.

 

 

First of all I am not missing your point. I understand that your problem with the film was not just that Audrey Hepburn was cast & Julie Andrews was not.

 

You seem to be missing my point. I never said once that Emma Thompson compared Audrey Hepburn to Julie Andrews. And no my response was not implying that. All I am saying is if Emma is complaining about Audrey's singing then she better get someone like Julie Andrews who can sing those high notes. It seems Emma Thompson misunderstands why Audrey was dubbed over for the film. This has nothing to do with comparing Audrey to Julie. I was originally replying to what you said about Audrey's singing.

 

As for my comparison to the movies they have done, I was not the only one on this thread who brought up Julie Andrews. It was just a general comparison based on things that were said in this thread, not specifically to what you or Emma said.

 

And I don't keep bringing her up, I am replying back to what you are saying.

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