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Audrey Hepburn 7-Film Collection (Roman Holiday/Sabrina/War and Peace/Funny Face/Breakfast at Tiffany\\\'s/My Fair Lady/Paris Wh

Paramount // Unrated // October 9, 2021
List Price: $55.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Stuart Galbraith IV | posted November 10, 2021 | E-mail the Author

Paramount's Audrey Hepburn 7-Movie Collection, one of several repackagings of Hepburn titles, is a very economical set worth having, even if you already own one or several of the tiles already. The set consists of Roman Holiday (1953), Sabrina (1954), War and Peace (1956), Funny Face (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), My Fair Lady (two discs, 1964), and Paris -- When It Sizzles (1964). All but the last title are good-to-great films. The only other Paramount-Hepburn title not included is Bloodline (1979), but their rights to that film may be limited to the U.S. and Canada, and it's not much better than Paris -- When It Sizzles in any event. Online retailers are generally selling this set for around $45, which comes to around $6.40 per movie, a real bargain. The video transfers are all great and some but not all the films have extensive special features.

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) grew up in Belgium, England and, during World War II, in Nazi-occupied Arnhem in the Netherlands. After the war she studied ballet in Amsterdam but began appearing in movies beginning in 1948. She then moved to London where she appeared in early British television and had small parts in a number of British films (including Laughter in Paradise and The Lavender Hill Mob before winning a major supporting part in Secret People (1952). She made her Broadway debut in the play Gigi, which led to her casting in William Wyler's Roman Holiday, only after Elizabeth Taylor and Jean Simmons proved unavailable. Originally, Gregory Peck alone was to receive above-the-title billing, but in an act of generosity rare in Hollywood, he suggested he and Hepburn share top billing. (She gets an "and introducing" credit, despite her earlier film credits.)

I'd only seen Roman Holiday all the way through once before, and that was more than 25 years ago, so long along ago I probably watched it on American Movie Classics when they actually ran American movie classics. In any case, on one hand I remembered the film in detail but had forgotten completely just why it's so great.

The simple story, taking place over a period of just 36 hours or so, features Hepburn as Ann, crown princess from a never-identified foreign country, in Rome on the last leg of a whirlwind goodwill tour. Barely out of her teens, she's grown weary of her cloistered, fuddy-duddy life. She's already veteran royalty but completely unformed as an individual, with zero life experiences beyond her royal obligations.

She suffers a meltdown and, shortly after receiving a sedative to calm her, she escapes into the night, falling fast asleep on a public bench where Joe Bradley (Peck), freelance reporter for the American News Service, finds her. Not recognizing her and believing her drunk, he very reluctantly puts her to bed in his small apartment. The next morning, however, he realizes she's Princess Ann, whom by this time her handlers realize that she's gone missing, but issue a press release falsely claiming that she's been stricken with a sudden illness.

Conspiring with photographer friend Irving (Eddie Albert), Joe sees a golden opportunity, an exclusive with the princess cavorting around Rome, with Irving secretly snapping pictures of her adventures with a camera hidden in a cigarette lighter. As far as Ann is concerned, Joe's simply terribly kind and generous. Ann, for her part, also lies to Joe, claiming to be a runaway student named Anya. Nevertheless, the pair enjoy a series of adventures: she gets a haircut, the visit a café, see the Colosseum, ride a Vespa scooter, go dancing, etc.

This was the Roman Holiday I had remembered: funny, charming, with expert use of real Rome locations, including the Spanish steps and, famously, the Mouth of Truth. What I had forgotten was the picture's much more serious and, ultimately, quite moving third act. Ann and Joe fall in love, and Joe begins having second thoughts about exploiting her flight from princessly expectations.

Dalton Trumbo's story and screenplay (the blacklisted writer's credit "restored," an incredibly foolish practice by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences that rewrites history rather than educating viewers) and Wyler's direction make this essential part of the story play to perfection. The adventures of Ann and Joe are grounded in reality; only Joe's over-the-top behavior to keep Irving in line (spilling drinks on him, etc.) cross over into (clumsy) slapstick. The imagined happy, Hollywood-type ending, of Ann and Joe getting married, would betray all that came before, a funny, sweet, and romantic interlude that can only be fleeting. Ann and Joe, who never reveal their true identities or motives during their adventures together, equally realize that theirs is a relationship that cannot, under these terms, continue. She has her royal responsibilities and Joe, for his part, accepts this. And, boy-oh-boy, their final parting and mini-reunion is their real guises has real emotional impact.

Roman Holiday won multiple awards, including an Oscar and Golden Globe for Hepburn, but the film's impact is still being felt. In Japan, for instance, nearly 70 years after Roman Holiday's release, Japanese women still dress and wear hairstyles and makeup modeled after Hepburn's runaway princess, her carefree adventures indelibly etched into the public consciousness. (*****)

Sabrina is mid-level Billy Wilder, a modern Cinderella story with Hepburn's title character the daughter of a chauffeur (John Williams) living and working on the Larrabee estate. Sabrina is in love with David (William Holden), the thrice-married playboy of the Larrabee family, but since she's a teenager with a penchant for sitting in trees watching him from afar, he pays her no notice and she attempts suicide, only to be rescued by David's no-nonsense older brother, the responsible businessman Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart).

Sabrina is shipped off to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, returning home an attractive and sophisticated woman. David, mistaking the blossoming Sabrina for Old Money, sets his sights on the calculating Sabrina exactly as she hoped, but he's already engaged to another young woman from high society, a marriage arranged by Linus to a) get David to settle down, and, b) to facilitate a huge corporate merger.

To prevent this from unraveling, Linus arranges to have David sit on champagne glasses, effectively immobilizing him for several days, with Linus taking David's place in Sabrina's life until he can ship her off to Paris and out of David's life forever. Ah, but then the unexpected occurs: Sabrina and Linus fall in love.

Sabrina was the first of many films in which her male partner was far older. (Here, Hepburn was 24-25, Bogie was 54.) Holden, his hair dyed blonde, looks and acts the part with perfection, though Bogie is playing a character pretty far removed from his usual screen persona, even relative to his ‘50s parts. It wasn't a happy shoot, with Bogart curmudgeonly throughout, complaining often about Hepburn's limitations as an actress, and throughout the production hostile toward both Holden and Wilder. Only after the film's release did Bogart apologize to Wilder, admitted he behaved badly, and admitted the film turned out well. He was right, however, that he had been miscast, though the offbeat decision to use him and even the actor's unhappiness during filming reaps as many benefits, helping Linus coming off as a great businessman living an isolated, unrewarding life.

The film lacks the bite of Wilder's best films, but it's got sweet romantic charm to spare, and the three leads plus Williams are all terrific. And, on a personal level it was watching Sabrina that I learned how to crack eggs with one hand, so there's that. (****)

A U.S.-Italian co-production directed by King Vidor, the 1956 War and Peace has been, justifiably, completely eclipsed by Sergei Bondarchuk's massive 1960s multi-part epic, a film series vastly superior in every respect, including Audrey Hepburn's performance as Natasha. Hepburn, luminous, looks the part, so much so even Russian audiences embraced her and she influenced the later casting of Ludmila Savelyeva in Bondarchuk's version. Nevertheless, Savelyeva's performance has far more depth and nuance.

A tapestry tracing the personal evolutions of Tsarist aristocracy and military officers during the French invasion of Russia by Napoleon (here well played by Herbert Lom), Leo Tolstoy's novel has been greatly distilled, even at its three-and-a-half hour length, here with less focus on history and major military battles and strategies and more on the love lives of its three principal characters: Natasha Rostova (Hepburn), Pierre Bezukhov (Henry Fonda), and Andrei Bolkonsky (Mel Ferrer, Hepburn's husband at the time).

The main source of the film's criticism is the casting of Fonda, at 50 playing a character who, at the beginning of the novel, is a mere 20. But Fonda's age really isn't the primary problem: director Bondarchuk, 45 when his War and Peace began production, is outstanding as Pierre despite his obvious middle-age. Rather, the problem has more to do with Nebraska-born Fonda simply being unshakably American, even emblematically Americana. When in a particularly embarrassing scene Fonda's Pierre clenches a fist and shouts, "Damn you, Napoleon! Damn you to hell!" it's like watching Tom Joad or young Mr. Lincoln, hardly the outburst of a Russian aristocrat.

Indeed, what really sets this War and Peace off-kilter is the makeup of the production: American, British, Italian and even Swedish actors in most of the leads, with varying degrees of acceptability. Mel Ferrer, normally a cold, placid, and uninteresting film actor, is actually quite good as Andrei, as is British actor Barry Jones as Count Rostov, Natasha's father. But Vittorio Gassman's Prince Anatole looks anything but Russian, and Swedes Anita Ekberg (as Helene) and May Britt (as Sonya) are dubbed with English-accented voice.

Yet the oddest and most jarring of these acting incongruities was the terrible decision to have the Russian peasants and foot soldiers speak with cockney accents, most notably John Mills's Platon Karatayev, the philosophical prisoner slogging through the snow with Pierre late in the story. All this, combined with a production that resembles a strange fusing of Hollywood, Italian, and British visual styles, give War and Peace a decidedly inauthentic look.

This is not to say the film is a failure. Overall, it's an acceptable adaptation, just one that only rarely comes to life. Jack Cardiff's VistaVision cinematography is in some sequences outstanding, the best example being the dual between Pierre and Dolokhov (Helmut Dantine), shot on a snow-filled soundstage flanked by leafless tree branches and a hazy, winter sun.

There are far fewer battle scenes, but the main one in this 1956 version is on a scale comparable to Bondarchuk's eye-popping epic. One memorable shot follows Pierre as he climbs a hill to see the battle from above, the camera panning and tracking across a huge battlefield with thousands and thousands of soldiers in the distant, the scene looking like an incredible diorama in a military museum. Likewise, the fall and burning of Moscow seems to have been filmed on a huge backlot set encompassing several long thoroughfares recreated full-scale, much like the later Soviet film.

It's clear that, for Hepburn, carrying the lead in such a huge epic, at this point in her career she still needed good direction. She had that, clearly, in William Wyler and Billy Wilder, but far less so in King Vidor. In the first half of the story, Hepburn is much too animated, incessantly gesturing with her hands, turning her head about manically, and flashing that million-dollar smile, all to suggest Natasha's youthful innocence. She's much better later in the film, caring for and reconciling with a wounded Andrei, and maturing through the many tragedies of war. She looks perfect, but the performance isn't really there. (***1/2)

One of the best musicals of the 1950s (and much superior to the film version of My Fair Lady, about which more later), Funny Face is a delight through-and-through. Hepburn is effortlessly charming and beautiful, getting to show off her dancing skills and pleasant (if not particularly strong) singing voice; co-star Fred Astaire is terrific and, unsurprisingly, has several outstanding dance numbers; worldly Kay Thompson nearly steals the film from the leads in a rare film appearance; director Stanley Donen breaks free from the Arthur Freed-MGM house style, despite the film's strong MGM presence behind the scenes; the movie makes outstanding use of Parisian locations; the Gershwin songs are lovingly rendered, and it's all in super-sharp VistaVision.

Maggie Prescott (Thompson), publisher of the influential Quality fashion magazine, is a force of nature, turning her offices upside-down in search of her publication's latest campaign blitz. After settling on "Think Pink!" she leads star photographer Dick Avery (Astaire) and supermodel Marion (supermodel Dovima, who warrants a documentary about her sad, fascinating life) to a Greenwich Village philosophy bookstore as the backdrop for a photoshoot.

Bookish shop assistant Jo Stockton (Hepburn) is rightly appalled by everyone's rude behavior, but later Dick believes Jo the perfect choice to build Quality's latest campaign around. Maggie is at first skeptical, but Dick's photos of Jo convince her. Jo is reluctant to have anything to do with this crazy bunch, but they offer her a free trip to Paris -- famous designer Paul Duval (Robert Flemyng) is giving Quality magazine an exclusive -- and Jo is swayed by the opportunity to finally meet her mentor, French philosopher, Émile Flostre.

In Paris, Jo proves that she indeed does have the Right Stuff to wow the fashion world, but things get complicated when a distracted Jo forgets appointments while searching for Flostre in the bohemian French Quarter, and further when she and Dick fall in love, with Dick's old-fashioned notions of romance clashing with Jo's proto-beatnik determination to spend time in darkened coffee shops with her mentor, he clearly more interested in her body than her mind.

The project began at MGM but moved to Paramount when that studio refused to loan out her services. Nevertheless, Funny Face's cast and crew is populated with longtime MGM talent: Donen, producer Roger Edens, arranger Adolph Deutsch, and even actress Kay Thompson, who had been a vocal coach and arranger at MGM during the 1940s. Donen's visually stylish film is built around (and Astaire's character based upon) innovative fashion photographer Richard Avedon, who served as a visual consulted and provided many of Dick's photos. Pictorially, much of Funny Face is like a 1950s issue of Vogue or Harper's Bazaar come to life.

Nearly all the musical numbers are memorable: Thompson's outstanding "Think Pink!" is an early highlight; "How Long Has This Been Going On" uses Hepburn musically better than anything in My Fair Lady; "Bonjour, Paris!" exudes excitement with its picture postcard tour of Paris, etc.

Again, Hepburn is teamed with a co-star old enough to be her father, but even at 57 Astaire moves like a far younger man: nearly the same age, sometimes I can barely walk across a room, let alone dance gracefully with an umbrella, as Astaire does magnificently here. The picture's screenplay serviceably gets from Point A to Point B but is clunky in depicting Dick as anti-intellectual, sarcastic, and peculiarly possessive toward Jo, who rather unaccountably fall in love while barely knowing one another. Only Astaire's great charm makes this palatable. For Hepburn, Funny Face is an almost ideal showcase for her talent and beauty: the well-chosen wardrobe looks beautiful on her, she's funny and adorable, dances better than many of Astaire's previous co-stars and the songs chosen for her match her limited range, she "acting" through them as much as singing them. (****1/2)

"There once was a very lonely, very frightened girl. She lived alone except for a nameless cat." - Paul Varjak describing Holly Golightly

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), the Blake Edwards film of Truman Capote's novella and adapted by George Axelrod, is much-beloved, arguably the signature starring role of Audrey Hepburn's career. When she died, TV news obituaries invariably opened with clips of her singing "Moon River" from this film. Nevertheless, Breakfast at Tiffany's is a strange animal: at times it's transcendentally charming, sophisticated, and effective, while in other ways it's embarrassing, crude, and cheaply melodramatic.

The film sticks to Capote's story fairly closely. Holly Golightly (Hepburn) is a chic and well-paid if flighty escort for Manhattan's jet-setting elite. She becomes friends with a new neighbor, Paul Varjak (George Peppard), a once-promising novelist now living as a kept man for married socialite Mrs. Failenson (Patricia Neal). Paul is fascinated by Holly's strangely carefree attitude, one that shuts out a past that refuses to go away and has no consideration for tomorrow, and which also stifles genuinely intimate personal relationships.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is all over the map, with a great film trying to break free of obvious Production Code-imposed restrictions on its content, a charming but miscast leading actress, and occasional crude attempts at humor that work against other elements that were quite adult by 1961 Hollywood standards.

Though the film is fairly explicit in stating that Paul is screwing Mrs. Failenson for money, that she's married, and that she's paying for his ornately decorated apartment and wardrobe, Holly's career as a high-end call girl is bandied around so sheepishly that it becomes thoroughly unreal. The film never actually comes out and says so; the most explicit statement about Holly's profession is that she makes "$50 for a trip to the powder room," an arch euphemism if ever there was one. The film dances around this to such a degree that the dark side of prostitution isn't just not shown, there's virtually no implication of a dark side at all, like the similarly ridiculous, even reprehensible depiction of the profession in Pretty Woman (1990). It's highly likely many Americans in 1961 walked away from the film without ever realizing just what Holly did for a living.

Audrey Hepburn was never more beautiful and charming, but a far cry from the Marilyn Monroe type author Capote had originally envisioned. Early on we learn that Holly is actually a backwoods girl, transformed into a passable chic Manhattanite by Hollywood agent O.J.Berman (Martin Balsam) and others. Needless to say, it's near impossible to imagine Hepburn an ex-hillbilly, straining her character beyond all credibility. Conversely, Hepburn has since become so engrained in the public's mind as Holly Golightly that it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role, yet others (Kim Novak to name one) probably would have been far better-suited.

Another big problem with the film is its occasional lapses into crude slapstick, especially all of the scenes involving Holly's beleaguered upstairs neighbor Mr. Yunioshi (Mickey Rooney), a grotesque Asian stereotype, complete with round glasses and gigantic buck-teeth. Sticking this type of appalling stereotype into the otherwise mostly sophisticated film is rather like plunking Jerry Lewis into the middle of Titus Andronicus.

Had Breakfast at Tiffany's been directed, for example, by Mike Nichols in 1967 (The Graduate closely matches its sensibilities), instead of by Blake Edwards in 1961, the result might have been vastly superior in some ways while losing a lot of its charm in others.

The picture does work in many respects and there is much to like, even in scenes that are appealing in spite of their misguidedness. The evocative (and, for 1961, unusual) opening titles, with Henri Mancini's lovely "Moon River" heard over otherwise silent images of Holly's early morning window shopping at Tiffany's, coffee and croissant in hand, is beautifully done. Edwards shows his stuff in a lengthy party sequence that, while broadly comic, is undeniably funny and effective.

But the film's real strength lay in how it explores the darker sides of Holly and Paul and their eventual romance (not a part of the book). Her self-destructive nature rings true in the final act, while scenes involving Paul and Doc (Buddy Ebsen, an inspired casting choice), a man from Holly's past, are handled with impressive sensitivity and verisimilitude. (****)

The only total failure of this collection is Paris -- When It Sizzles (as its title card reads), which was shot in the summer of 1962, but not released until April 1964. Why? When Paramount's executives saw the finished film, they deemed it unreleasable. Having now seen it, I can attest that they weren't far off. A perfectly dreadful comedy, Hepburn and co-star William Holden are charming, giving perfectly good performances. The dialogue is sharp and the humor sometimes witty. And yet, terrible it is.

Holden plays hack screenwriter Richard Benson, ensconced in a Paris hotel suite to write a 138-page screenplay that producer Alexander Meyerheim (Noël Coward) will be picking up in 48 hours. But Richard hasn't written one word of the script, so when typist Gabrielle Simpson (Hepburn) arrives to type up the nonexistent screenplay, Richard confesses all and together they conspire to throw one together in just two days. So far, so good.

At this point, the film begins alternating between the growing desperation (and burgeoning romance) in Richard's hotel suite with the film-within-the-film, The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower which, in their imaginations, features thinly-disguised versions of Richard and Gabrielle, characters also played by Hepburn and Holden.

It's here where the movie quickly unravels. After some moderately playful business about the nature of movie credits, title songs, dissolves, etc. most of the film-within-the-film consists of unfocused parodies of movie genres and clichés. Though most of the time Richard's script is something like a poor man's Charade, it pointlessly digresses into other movie genres. At one point, for instance, there's an extended spoof of Dracula movies, Richard's alter-ego transformed into a vampire who chases Hepburn's heroine all around an extremely elaborate cave set. (It looks like the one built for The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, though most of Paris, including interiors, was shot in Paris). The film-within-the-film gets progressively sillier and increasingly disjointed, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy in a manner anticipating the dreadful, aimless comedies of later ‘60s films like What's New, Pussycat? and Casino Royale.

The picture might have worked had the film-within-the-film actually been good instead of deliberately bad. Paralleling the blossoming romance of Richard and Gabrielle with their screenplay counterparts is not a bad idea, but the imagined story is completely uninvolving. Instead of getting drawn into these fantasy characters and their separate but related stories, these scenes mostly serve as an excuse to get the stars into elaborate costumes and exotic poses. George Axelrod's screenplay was based on an earlier French film, Holiday for Henrietta (1952), which I've not seen, but the basic concept is nearly identical to another, later French comedy, Le Magnifique (1973), with Jean-Paul Belmondo playing a pulp novelist of spy novels working under a similar deadline from his apartment, his story intercut with increasingly chaotic scenes from this new novel. Jacqueline Bisset (who had appeared with Hepburn in Two for the Road) plays the novelist's neighbor and the heroine in the spy story stuff. That film isn't a total success either, but the imagined material is consistent with an actual plot.

Apparently, the project was doomed from the start. Paramount exercised an option they held over both Holden and Hepburn. Holden, who reportedly had an affair with Hepburn during the making of Sabrina, was drinking heavily -- it's about here where he begins aging prematurely -- but Hepburn had no interest in rekindling their onetime romance. And, from the outset, they seemed aware they were making a turkey. To their remarkable credit they exhibit none of this onscreen, even toward the end when, incredibly, the romance angle gets serious all of a sudden (I thought I would scream at this point). (* 1/2)

I hadn't seen My Fair Lady in many years but I'm glad I watched this Blu-ray of the film's expensive restoration. Some of my complaints about the film were lessened, and I was able to find many fine qualities, especially in George Cukor's direction, that I hadn't appreciated before.

The movie, of course, adapts the long-running 1956 Lerner and Loewe musical, itself adapted from George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play Pygmalion, about a phonetics professor, Henry Higgins, attempting to transform a lowly Cockney flower-seller, Eliza Doolittle, into a "lady" he can successfully pass off to high society. The musical starred Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews but for the film, producer Jack L. Warner wanted neither, hoping to cast Cary Grant as Henry Higgins but begrudgingly settling on Harrison, but did get Audrey Hepburn to play Eliza Doolittle, coarse cockney flower seller in Edwardian London.

My main, longtime beef about the film has always been how miscast Hepburn is. No amount of soot smeared across her face can erase Hepburn's innate elegance and refinement and, more distractingly, Hepburn lacked the voice to sing Eliza's songs. When, in the lead-in to "The Rain in Spain," the audience hears Hepburn's own voice abruptly turns the singing over to Marni Nixon (who dubbed all her songs) unreality takes over. Hepburn, though not terribly good at lip-synching, acts as well as Nixon sings, but Nixon's singing never really "acts" in tandem with Hepburn, and vice-versa.

Watching it again, though, all these years later, I found myself admiring Hepburn's cockney scenes more than I had before. Betty Hutton's transformation in Annie Get Your Gun (to cite one example) may be more startling, but Hepburn earns points for her obvious commitment to the part.

Another complaint I still think hurts the picture is that, following the aftermath of the embassy ball, the film still has about 40 minutes to go with no more than 10 minutes-worth of drama left to tell. It gets very draggy with business from Eliza's other suitor, Freddie (Jeremy Brett), my vote for the most superfluous character in a Tony-winning show, until it finally dawns on Higgins that he's become accustomed to Eliza's face.

The restoration brings out many qualities I hadn't noticed before. The film won Academy Awards for its art direction and cinematography (among others), and the Blu-ray shows why. The sets of Henry Higgins's home especially are extremely good, even more so the way this and other sets are subtly lit. Most color Hollywood movies of this period tended toward harsh over-lighting, but in My Fair Lady is, throughout, subtle and tasteful. I also liked Cukor's many subtle touches, such as including both hansom cabs and early automobiles in the opening scene, symbolizing England's transformation out of a Victorian era into the Edwardian one.

(The Blu-ray also catches details I hadn't seen before, such as the obvious bulge in Higgins's tie where they hid his wireless microphone, the actor insisting on performing all his songs live.)

I also found myself admiring Rex Harrison's performance all the more. Whether playing famed conductor Sir Alfred De Carter, Julius Caesar, Pope Julius II, or Dr. Doolittle, Harrison brought to the screen a personality uniquely his, yet here I was surprised by the complexity he (and Shaw's play) bring to the character. A recent Broadway revival of My Fair Lady unwisely changed the show's ending, seemingly to head off accusations of misogyny, but Henry Higgins is in no way a misogynist. Nor is he misanthropic or particularly antisocial. Rather, he delights in exploring the world in his own way, going his own way, never deliberately rude or crass but instead oblivious to how his words and actions occasionally might upset others, namely Eliza. So that when Eliza proves a sensation at the embassy ball, Higgins congratulates himself for his hard work and ingenuity while completely ignoring Eliza's own efforts. It's a rather fascinating, almost unique screen characterization. (**** 1/2)

Video & Audio

Paramount's Audrey Hepburn 7-Movie Collection packs seven titles on eight discs in an oversized Blu-ray case. Filmed in a variety of formats -- standard- and widescreen black-and-white, VistaVision (two films), 1.85:1 widescreen color, and Super Panavision 70 -- all the films look very good-to-great. My Fair Lady, filmed in 65mm and restored, comes off best, while the large-format VistaVision titles (War and Peace and Funny Face) look very good though I've seen even better VistaVision films on Blu-ray, even lesser titles like Artists and Models and We're No Angels. I have what is apparently an older Blu-ray of Sabrina that's incorrectly presented in 1.37:1 standard, but the disc here is widescreen. As these titles, with the exception of Paris -- When It Sizzles have all been released to Blu-ray at least once before at various times, their audio/subtitle language options vary. Similarly, those previously released to Blu-ray retain all their original Extra Features.

Parting Thoughts

A must-have for those that don't already own these titles, and a maybe-have even if you own some or even most of them, the Audrey Hepburn 7-Movie Collection is a DVD Talk Collectors Series title.

Stuart Galbraith IV is the Kyoto-based film historian largely absent from reviewing these days while he restores a 200-year-old Japanese farmhouse.

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