Welcome to this month's segment of the Rewind, highlighting great films made before the year of my birth, 1976. I have been meaning to do a spotlight on my favorite actress, Audrey Hepburn, but picking the right movie is the challenge. She made many truly great films over the course of her career and I wanted to pick one that may not have been as common.
It's easy to pick out her brilliance in roles like My Fair Lady and Breakfast at Tiffany's. I also truly love the original Sabrina, with Humphrey Bogart, William Holden and Hepburn. My favorite movie with her is Charade, co-starring the impeccable Cary Grant. These films are great, but they are to easy. I may do a spotlight one day on Charade, but I want to recommend Wait Until Dark, starring Hepburn, Alan Arkin, and Richard Crenna.
Made in 1967, Hepburn is a blind woman living in an apartment who accidentally comes into possession of a doll full of heroine. Alan Arkin plays the heavy who wants to get the doll back, and Crenna is the love interest. Made in the same vein as a Hitchcockian thriller, all of the action takes place in the apartment. Much like Hitch's films Rope and Rear Window, creating a very tight, claustrophobic set. There are many twists and turns in the story, and nothing is ever as it seems. I don't want to give too much of the plot away, as each twist builds towards the thrilling climax between Arkin and Hepburn. Needless to say, the thrills are surely on par with the best of Hitch or M. Night Shamalan.
Hepburn is very convincing as a blind woman, alone and frightened, who resolves to survive. Alan Arkin, who you may know from roles in Little Miss Sunshine and the upcoming Get Smart, is very menacing and imposing.
Hepburn earned an Oscar nomination for this role, and it's clear to see why. The lighting and story elements are fantastic, and it's very taut. Wait Until Dark was also the last movie she made before taking a nearly 10 year hiatus to raise her children. She walked away at the top of her game, and only chose projects that would allow her to be with her family after that.
The truth is it is hard to find a bad film to recommend with Audrey involved. In my opinion, she was the last great classy glamour actress, the kind that so perforated the 30's and 40's. They started dying off as the great studio era waned in the 50's, but not without giving us one last movie great, Audrey Hepburn.
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