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Emma Thompson: 'Audrey Hepburn couldn't act'

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

> 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.

 

 

I agree and disagree here. I have not seen Unforgiven but I have seen many of other Audrey Hepburn's more dramatic parts: including Wait Until Dark, The Nun's Story, Two for the Road, & The Children's Hour. I think all these roles prove she could play dramatic roles and not just the light fluffy roles that she is known for (that being said as far as movies go the only one I really love is Wait Until Dark).

 

However I disagree with the sentiment that she is not acting (just reciting lines) in those lighter fluffy movies.

 

 

As for Breakfast at Tiffany's I do love the movie but the parts with Mickey Rooney definitely bother me.

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Important corners of Hollywood? The movie is still beloved today despite (or even because of) Audrey being in it. Why the big hoopla over the restoration or adding Audrey's singing tracks. The controversy over her casting has become part of it's lore. I'm sure there are purists who dont like it, but there are many people who enjoy it (including me) Do you think young people who may watch it today care that Julie Andrews didnt get the part?

 

Edited by: Hibi on Aug 12, 2010 10:22 AM

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Working class people in my town certainly didnt care. And I didnt know anyone who owned the LP, including my parents. My point was the average working Joe could have cared less over this "controversy."

 

And as for since, I seem to remember a lot of press hoopla over Barbra Streisand getting the part in Hello, Dolly!

 

Edited by: Hibi on Aug 12, 2010 10:51 AM

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I am all for film preservation.

 

But...

 

I think BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S should be burned and should be forced into becoming a lost film. BIRTH OF A NATION is another one that should become extinct. We may argue that it's historical to keep those films, but I really don't think it serves much purpose. Why should we remind ourselves of our uglier nature, our blatant racism as human beings?

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

> 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

 

 

I have all the tracks. I also have the all the tracks to West Side Story, Lost Horizon, and many other films where the person was dubbed. In fact, you can find Audrey's original vocal to I Could Have Danced All Night, on Youtube. I have lots of things that haven't been released to the public. Doesn't everyone? As bad as I find Hepburn's singing, I would still have preferred they left her own vocals in the film. Adding a voice that didn't match hers in any way, only made things worse.

 

With Lauren Bacall, you're mixing apples and oranges. Lauren Bacall originated her two Broadway musical roles. The songs were written for her style of "singing". Nobody was comparing an already known vocal with hers. Also, we aren't talking about a beloved musical with world-famous songs, closely identified with another singer, who was available, the right age and the right talent for the role. So, she doesn't apply to the discussion, at all. Even given that, I think if Warner had gone with another singer/actress in the role, people wouldn't have been so upset. Theater queens and a few others were upset with Lucy's casting, same with Streisand's. Again, we're not talking about songs so identified with another vocalist. The most famous song from *Hello, Dolly!,* was made famous by Louis Armstrong. The most famous song from *My Fair Lady* (at the time), was made famous by Julie Andrews. For what seems like the millionth time, the original cast album of *My Fair Lady* was the biggest selling album in the world of any genre. No other Broadway cast album compared, so the fact that someone else was doing the role in the film of other musicals, didn't matter, because the music wasn't so associated with its original performer, as was MFL. Not sure why that's so difficult to comprehend?

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

> Working class people in my town certainly didnt care. And I didnt know anyone who owned the LP, including my parents. My point was the average working Joe could have cared less over this "controversy."

 

Then your town didn't contribute to it being the biggest-selling album in the world. But that was the exception, not the rule. Your town must have been extremely small if you know what everyone in the town had and felt.

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

> I am all for film preservation.

>

> But...

>

> I think BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S should be burned and should be forced into becoming a lost film. BIRTH OF A NATION is another one that should become extinct. We may argue that it's historical to keep those films, but I really don't think it serves much purpose. Why should we remind ourselves of our uglier nature, our blatant racism as human beings?

 

 

Um I hardly think Breakfast at Tiffany's is as bad as Birth of Nation is terms of racism. If we are too burn Breakfast at Tiffany's for presenting unfortunate stereotypes then we would have to burn a whole lot of films.

 

And no I don't think we should burn Birth of a Nation either. It is a part of our history as nasty as that might be and yes it does serve a purpose. What better way to understand racism then to see it first hand. Not to mention Birth of a Nation is an important film for its innovation.

 

This is quote from Roger Ebert

 

"'The Birth of a Nation' is not a bad film because it argues for evil. Like Riefenstahl?s Triumph of the Will, it is a great film that argues for evil. To understand how it does so is to learn a great deal about film, and even something about evil."

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I think Ebert's crazy. That quote makes no good sense. LOL

 

Since we have already lost some films, why not lose these? We can keep still photographs and written histories about the productions...but we can remove them from society. I know I sound like an extremist on this, but I think these films can fall into the wrong hands and an ignorant future society can use them to substantiate renewed hatred and discrimination.

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

> I think Ebert's crazy. That quote makes no good sense. LOL

>

> Since we have already lost some films, why not lose these? We can keep still photographs and written histories about the productions...but we can remove them from society. I know I sound like an extremist on this, but I think these films can fall into the wrong hands and an ignorant future society can use them to substantiate renewed hatred and discrimination.

 

 

The quote makes perfect sense. He is saying we can see what a powerful medium for evil a film can be. A film isn't bad or good because of the message it presents. And yes you can learn something from these films.

 

Yes since we have already lost some films why not lose more. Why not lose all of them. Do you know how many films from the classic era might be deemed offensive today? How many films from today might be considered offensive tomorrow?

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Clearly, you're exaggerating to make a point. I don't think we should feel threatened or be afraid to abolish some films. We abolished slavery, after all. We can still read about it to know its devasting effects on society, but we don't have to see it to learn from it.

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Yowsers! This is intense stuff you're talking about! I haven't participated in this thread because I'm fairly indifferent to the original topic, but now we're getting into totally different and absolutely controversial territory. If you really want to discuss this huge topic, I think you should either revive the "Racism in Hollywood" thread, or start another. I couldn't agree with you less, ClassicViewer, but I don't want to get into this on such an unrelated thread topic.

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Since people continue to be obsessed with comparing Audrey Hepburn to Julie Andrews (for some reason), I thought it would be fun (and interesting for those who don't remember or don't know), the various Audrey/Julie connections.

 

When the German film, *Die Trapp Familie* became the most successful motion picture in German film history, Paramount Pictures optioned the rights, for an American version of the non-musical film (Rodgers and Hammersteins *The Sound of Music* wouldn't be written for a couple more years). Paramount's intentions were to made the film with Audrey Hepburn as Maria. However, she passed on the film to make a film about another nun, *The Nun's Story*. The motion picture rights expired, and Mary Martin purchased them to adapt for a Broadway play. Her intention was to feature actual music performed by the Von Trapp Family, but she felt it should have one original song. She asked her friends, Rodgers and Hammerstein if they would write the one song. They told her that if she waited until they finished *Flower Drum Song,* they would write her an entire musical. As she is quoted, "For Dick and Oscar, you wait!" But, back to Audrey and Julie. Once R&H's *The Sound of Music* became their biggest Broadway hit, every studio set out to purchase the film rights. However, 20th Century-Fox had the right of first refusal to all R&H works, and purchased the film rights for themselves. Once that happened, every actress of a certain age wanted the role of Maria. The three who went after the role full out, were Shirley Jones, Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day. Since Doris was the biggest female movie star in the world, everyone, including Richard Rodgers and Fox studio boss, Richard Zanuck assumed she would be Maria. A couple problems with that. Neither Ernest Lehman (screenplay), who was the first person signed to the film project, nor the director, William Wyler, wanted Doris for the role. Even as Lehman sat in a Broadway theater watching the show for the first time, he envisioned Julie Andrews in the role. Wyler was convinced it was the perfect role for Audrey Hepburn, and insisted she play Maria. Lehman was so sure that only Julie Andrews could do the role, properly, that he was relentless in his campaign for her. The other film sitting on the horizon was *The Americanization of Emily*. Producer Martin Ransohoff wanted Audrey Hepburn for the role of Emily. Wyler knew this, and to both throw Lehman a bone and protect his interest in wanting Audrey for TSOM, he spoke with Ransohoff and suggested that Julie Andrews would be perfect for Emily. At the time, the proposed schedules for both Emily and TSOM, conflicted, and he knew that Hepburn, already signed to do MFL, would become completely unavailable, if she signed-on to do Emily. Meanwhile, William Wyler was replaced as director on TSOM, due to his wanting to take the film in a different direction from what Lehman had written and Zanuck agree to. Robert Wise was brought in as not only director (a job he originally turned down because of his commitment to *The Sand Pebbles,* which was now delayed due to monsoons at the location), but also as producer. As such, he now had casting approval. Lehman went to work on Wise to convince him to use Julie. Wise had no objection, other than the buzz around town, due to both MGM passing on her, years earlier, and Warner's refusal to use her, that she was non-photogenic. Since they knew she was making *Mary Poppins* for Walt Disney, they put a call into him and asked him if he would permit them to see a clip of her from the unreleased film. He agreed. Unbeknownst to them, Martin Ransohoff did they exact same thing. Once they saw the clip from Poppins, both Wise and Ranshohoff contacted her agent in New York, to negotiate a contract and she was signed to make both films, which because of the delay in replacing directors and the casting of its leading lady, the schedules no longer conflicted. The next connection was the film version of James A. Michner's best-seller, *Hawaii*. United Artists had hope to secure Audrey Hepburn for the role of Jerusha, and were in negotiations with her, when something happened. Julie Andrews not only was the star of the number 1 film of 1964, but the biggest film in Disney's history. Also, she had just won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and her agents contacted United Artists and offered her services for a considerably lower amount than Audrey Hepburn. Audrey was out and Julie was in. Two other connections were Warner Brothers *Wait Until Dark*, which was originally offered to Julie, who passed. Ultimately, Audrey Hepburn agreed to not only star, but put her own money into the production. A wise move on her part, as the film was a big hit. And finally, of course, Audrey's iconic role of Holly Golightly was directed by Julie's future husband, Blake Edwards, who was a dear friend until her death.

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

> Clearly, you're exaggerating to make a point. I don't think we should feel threatened or be afraid to abolish some films. We abolished slavery, after all. We can still read about it to know its devasting effects on society, but we don't have to see it to learn from it.

 

I am exaggerating? You are comparing films to slavery. And I am threatened by all forms of censorship. Because you censor one thing someone finds offensive then what's next.

 

I am not exaggerating at all. Granted Birth of a Nation and Triump of the Will are probably two of the most horrible films in terms of what they represent. But yes I think you can learn much more from seeing these films than reading about them (granted I have seen neither because they make me feel uncomfortable but I understand the point of not getting rid of these films). I think seeing it is the best way to learn from it.

 

But you think we should burn Breakfast at Tiffany's? There are plenty of films with stereotypes just as bad as that. Do you think we should get rid of Gone With the Wind too?

 

 

edit: Sorry to get off topic I will start another thread.

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Burning films (or making them unavailable for viewing) because someone doesn't approve of something is not only ridiculous, it's scary.

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Thanks for the tip about the other thread.

 

I knew what I was saying was extreme, but it's how I feel. I am curious about why people would defend films that hurt large segments of the viewing audience. To me, there's no justification for it.

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Let it be scary. Sometimes we have to take bold action to eradicate the mistakes of our forbears. And to use history as a lame excuse for allowing such ill-conceived entertainment and propaganda seems irresponsible.

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I really do not try and control things on this board, but I'm going to repeat that *this is turning into a very big topic,* one which others may want to comment on but wouldn't have the chance to, because they think it's about Emma Thompson and Audrey Hepburn.

If we want to get into this -and I have *very* strong feelings about it, so much so that in a way I don't want to get started - Please start another thread. Oh, and just one will do.

 

signed, Misswonderly, who normally does not like to be officious.

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Honey, you can be as type A as you want...that is your prerogative. I'm sure people still love you and respect your opinions. I do think another thread was just started...

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I'm not a "Type A"; if you read my posts you will see that I rarely get upset about anything, and almost always respond to comments that disagree with mine with a sense of humour. There's no need to be patronizing.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Aug 12, 2010 1:45 PM

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I think you are getting bent out of shape. I was saying that in a friendly, kidding sort of way. There wasn't anything mean in it. I know that it's hard to detect feeling tone sometimes through text on a computer screen. We can smile and laugh and be pleasant...no worries.

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Sorry. I have a personal reaction to the word "honey", although maybe some people use it the way I use "baby", that is , in a spirit of friendliness.

I like the expression "getting bent out of shape" ...hmm, now that I look, I'm resembling a pretzel.

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LOL...well if my direct replies to you are bothersome, I can always just keep hitting reply on my own posts, then it won't seem like I am targeting you. Sorry about the miscommunication. (I very seldom use the word 'honey.' LOL)

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I definitely wish there was a way to show people the feeling/intentions behind what we say on message boards. It is sometimes hard to judge by just words and smileys. :)

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I like direct replies, they make the converations on these boards more interesting to me. This goes for the debate I suspect we're going to get into on that new thread as well. Pas de problem.

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