I have an idea for a movie. We’ll cast the two romantic leads from today’s biggest film, Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington of Avatar, as an attractive young couple. We’ll follow them through a cute courtship, then veer into their squabbles over money, child-rearing, and sex. For good measure, we’ll have them cheat on each other. Sound like something you’d like to see? No?
It’s a tribute to old-time star power that Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney pull off this scenario so effortlessly in Two for the Road, director Stanley Donen’s 1967 comic drama. And yes, there is a lot of humor in the movie.
Donen uses flashbacks and flash-forwards to chronicle 12 years in the lives of Mark and Joanna Wallace, allowing us to see up close how even an apparent match-made-in-heaven can falter. With the wrong actors, this wouldn’t work, but hey, we are talking Hepburn and Finney here. Hepburn, as she so often played in her career, is physically frail yet deceptively tough. Finney is all gruff and bravado, yet deceptively soft.
The lush cinematography is a bonus as the Wallaces embark on a series of road trips in Europe — many of them quite funny. And once again, I find myself praising the musical talent of the film’s scorer, Henry Mancini.
So do the Wallaces have a happy ending? I won’t say, but I will say I’ve thought about which ending — split up or stay together — would make for a more satisfying film, and that’s a very tough call. Grade: A-
Director: Stanley Donen Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron, William Daniels, Claude Dauphin, Nadia Gray Release: 1967
Watch the Trailer (click here)
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