THE AUDREY PROJECT

I would like to begin by thanking the many illegal pirating websites (as well as less-illegal sites, like The Internet Archive, or Amazon Prime, which has a surprisingly large collection of obscure old movies) that made this project possible, because believe it or not, some of these movies just don’t exist anymore in any honorable, legal form (ahem, MONTE CARLO BABY).

This venture all began with a list of New Year’s Resolutions. My yearly resolutions are sacred, mind you. Well, really they’re more of a glorified bucket list. Anyhow, the docket for 2019 included (but was certainly not limited to) the following:

  • Bake a cake from scratch
  • Upcycle a piece of clothing
  • Go dumpster diving
  • Do goat yoga (okay, technically I never actually did goat yoga myself, but I did get a job wrangling adorable baby goats for a goat yoga company, which ended up being even cooler. So there.)
  • Read Paradise Lost
  • Get a spray tan
  • Go rock climbing
  • …and watch every single Audrey Hepburn movie in chronological order.

(Of all of those, approximately 3.5 have been completed so far—now nearly halfway into 2020—and I don’t want to talk about it.)

Consigning myself to this cultural pursuit felt quite a la whatsherface in Julie & Julia, except I didn’t cook several hundred gourmet French recipes in the course of a year—I sat in bed watching several dozen movies and I still didn’t even make my deadline—and I didn’t really become more like Audrey, because I’m still just about anything but a gamine brunette. So not really like Julie Powell—more like a couch potato trying to justify a bout of laziness by masking it with claims of studying class and grace. I will say, though, having come to the end of this project, while I don’t consider myself a film buff (yet), I am extremely proud of my new ability to throw around the names of actors, directors, and producers from this era of the silver screen.

Here’s the breakdown: Audrey Hepburn appeared in 30(ish) movies. The first was actually a documentary of sorts, and after that her film career began with One Wild Oat and ended with Always. One film, Monte Carlo Baby (which I loathe with every fiber of my being for reasons that shall be discussed shortly), was recorded in two languages with two separate casts, with Audrey being the only repeat cast member—so does it count as one or two films? Hence the 30ish. As part of the pursuit, I also wanted to watch Audrey’s series Gardens of the World, for which she was posthumously awarded an Emmy, as well as a few film tributes (namely The Audrey Hepburn Story), and films for which she was offered leading roles but ended up declining (Westside Story and Cleopatra, although I find Elizabeth Taylor a bit terrifying, so I still haven’t gotten around to watching the latter).

Without further ado, let’s dive in.