Audrey Hepburn: 7-Movie Collection – Blu-ray Review

Breakfast at Tiffany's - Audrey Hepburn

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Blake Edwards’ Breakfast at Tiffany’s, much like Truman Capote’s novel, doesn’t contain much in the way of a plot. At the same time, Breakfast at Tiffany’s cleverly bypasses some of the book’s more controversial issues without losing its message. For the most part, the film’s narrative follows the day-to-day exploits of the two central characters, Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) and Paul Varjak (George Peppard). Thankfully, Blake Edwards’ lively tone adds a charming and playful vibe to the film. Similarly, the incredible charisma of Hepburn and Peppard helped elevate the less-than-eventful nature of George Axelrod’s screenplay. 

However, as the comedic elements decrease and heavier drama takes its place, the film’s length becomes more and more problematic as the film progresses. For one thing, the movie’s underwhelming third act combined with an increased emphasis on the darker plot points and plot twists magnifies the issues masked by the charm of Tiffany’s two leads. Yet, the complexities of Holly and her conflict with the other characters make her much more interesting.

Sure, Holly may not be a role model, and she’s downright annoying at times, but Holly is a person you love because of Audrey Hepburn. It’s difficult not to be amused during the lighter scenes of flirtation between Hepburn and Peppard. By the time the delightfully upbeat and feel-good finale arrives, Breakfast at Tiffany’s establishes itself as a captivating romantic comedy that lives up to its place as a classic of the genre. Despite its erratic atmosphere, it’s a consistently watchable mix of laughs, love, and sorrow.

Of course, we can’t talk about the film without talking about Mickey Rooney, who plays Holly’s unpleasant Japanese neighbor. Yes, Mr. Yunioshi is blatantly racist, and Rooney is a caricature, all the way down to his buckteeth. It’s an element that makes you cringe and almost spoils the fun of an otherwise charming and touching film.

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

Video

Breakfast at Tiffany’s hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The highlights and shine off the various jewelry and sparkly gowns and are absolutely beaming. At the same time, the shadows and dark areas are deep blacks as well. The colors play a fundamental element in the film… At least in terms of the various outfits and gowns in the movie. Unfortunately, the skin tones have a warm, overly orange unnatural look to the actors. There is a slight flicker during several scenes in the film. Not to mention, there are several scenes where the source footage looks overly sharp, which you can see through the black outlines around the objects on the screen. There’s also a distinct medium-sized film grain that’s consistent throughout. Despite these issues, the video transfer looks marvelous for a several-decade-old film.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Audio

Breakfast at Tiffany’s hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Although the audio initially came out as a mono mix, Paramount released Breakfast at Tiffany’s as a 5.1 DTS mix. So, how does one create a surround sound mix from a mono track? By expanding the mix to feature the atmospheric effects and Henry Mancini’s fantastic score. The atmospheric effects such as the party music and city noise fill up the entire soundstage. Henry Mancini’s stellar score also fills up the soundstage with the instruments separated to give it a fuller sound. Of course, even with all of the restoration done on the audio, the dialogue still gets priority since this is a dialogue-heavy flick.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Special Features

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Commentary by Producer Richard Shepherd
  • A Golightly Gathering
  • Henry Mancini: More than Music
  • Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s The Making of a Classic
  • It’s so Audrey! A Style Icon
  • Behind the Gates: The Tour
  • Brilliance in a Blue Box
  • Audrey’s Letter to Tiffany
  • Galleries
  • Theatrical Trailer
Features Assessment

Golightly Gathering is a unique retrospective where background actors and others get a chance to talk about the film’s cocktail party scene. Henry Mancini focuses on the man behind the music of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Those who knew Mancini the best talk about his career and his personality. Mr. Yunioshi is a logical and rational discussion about one of the most racist and controversial characters in history. Cancel culture vehemently protests the film, but this documentary talks about the character through logic instead of anger.

Making of a Classic is a modern retrospective feature where the cast and crew of Breakfast at Tiffany’s talk about their experiences. It’s So Audrey has friends and admirers talk about Audrey Hepburn’s iconic style. Behind the Gates is a promotional feature where Paramount page Heather Weingart takes you on a tour of the Paramount lot. Next, Brilliance in a Blue Box features the design director for Tiffany & Co., John Loring, talking about the history of the luxury jewelry retailer. For Audrey’s Letter, John Loring returns to narrate and read Audrey Hepburn’s foreword for the 150th-anniversary book that was published in 1987. 

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Funny Face - Audrey Hepburn

Funny Face

As a whole, Funny Face is a charming yet relatively generic musical. As a story, much like a lot of Audrey Hepburn flicks, is a Cinderella-style story. Unfortunately, there’s not much in terms of depth to the story. At the same time, it’s awkward to see the nearly 30-year age gap between the romantic leads, Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn. 

So, Funny Face works best when you focus on the surface pleasures that make Funny Face so happily distracting. The colors that burst across the film give Funny Face such a fun visual flair. Also, the costumes by Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy are elegant in a way that always works in harmony with Hepburn’s slender frame. 

Plus, the film features some timeless songs that originated in the 1927 Broadway hit of the same name. These songs from Ira and George Gershwin, including “Funny Face,” “’S Wonderful,” and “Bonjour, Paris,” the whole film essentially serve as a means to showcase these tunes. At the same time, Funny Face features some incredible dance choreography by the legendary Fred Astaire. From the “Let’s Kiss and Make Up” matador dance in a moonlit courtyard to Hepburn’s long café dance, Funny Face has some exceptionally choreographed routines and highlights the stunning agility of its nimble cast. Astaire’s dance routines are how you forget that Fred Astaire is 57 and Audrey Hepburn is 27. You become too mesmerized by the agility of the 57-year-old dance god.

Overall, Funny Face isn’t of the same level as some of the classic musicals of the era. Much of Funny Face‘s achievements reside in the captivating likeability and gracefulness of the cast and the film’s vibrant, colorful sets and costumes. It’s a film that’s all style and no substance, but you’ll be having too much fun to care.

Movie Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Video

Funny Face hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. For the most part, the brightness and black levels are spot-on. Yet, the best thing about the video transfer is the colors. Funny Face features an eclectic palette of colors that are presented beautifully in this Blu-ray release. And there’s no better example than the film’s opening scene where a glut of colors fills the “Quality” offices. There are several scenes where the source footage looks overly sharp, which you can see through the black outlines around the objects on the screen. Similar to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the picture looks superb for a several-decade-old film.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Audio

Funny Face hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. On the whole, the 5.1 remix of Funny Face is a conservative one. There’s extremely low usage of the surrounds as most of the activity occurs in the front channels. Nevertheless, the audio mix sounds incredibly crisp. Any and all age-related imperfections have been eliminated. At the same time, no distortion creeps into the mix, even during highly active sequences. All the musical numbers benefit from improved fidelity and fill the room with ease. When it comes to the dialogue, it’s always clear and intelligible, as are all the song lyrics.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features

Funny Face‘s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Kay Thompson: Think Pink!
  • This is VistaVision
  • Photographers Exposed
  • The Fashion Designer and His Muse
  • Parisian Dreams
Features Assessment

Think Pink is a loving produced featurette that celebrates the one-and-only Kay Thompson. We learn a lot about Thompson’s incredible life through the words of her friends and colleagues. Thompson was quite a dynamo during her day, and you’ll get to see why with this extraordinary documentary. Technical nerds will thoroughly enjoy the comprehensive VistaVision featurette. The feature highlights the importance of the format in its battle against the popularity of television. The featurette illustrates the form’s enhanced clarity and brilliance and has photographic experts explaining the technical aspects of the cumbersome process and outlining the various pitfalls of using it.

Photographers Exposed is primarily a feature promoting how today’s fashion photographers set up and execute their fashion shoots. It’s a bit interesting to see the inner workings of a fashion shoot, but it doesn’t provide much information about Funny Face. Believe it or not, as beautiful as Audrey Hepburn was, she had massive insecurities about herself. The Fashion Designer and His Muse shows the close professional relationship between Hepburn and iconic fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy. The feature focuses on how Givenchy soothed Audrey’s physical insecurities and how his outfits imbued her with confidence. With Parisian Dreams, film historian Drew Casper analyzes the film’s Cinderella story, and how the influences of DonenAvedon, and Paris helped Funny Face go from a standard musical into something more.

Special Features Rating: 3/5 atoms

My Fair Lady - Audrey Hepburn

My Fair Lady

After watching My Fair Lady again, my thoughts remain the same as when I reviewed the film earlier this year. For my original thoughts on the film, click here.

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

Video

My Fair Lady hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 2.20:1 aspect ratio. Much like the Ultra HD release of My Fair Lady, this film sparkles on Blu-ray. The bright whites are vibrant, and the black levels are inky throughout. The colors are quite gorgeous and are easily the transfer’s best feature. From the opening scene, you can see the sparkling hues looking as natural as ever. The detail clarity is strong, but the picture does appear soft every now and again. There are also occasional age-related issues such as dust and speckles, but the print still looks to be in fine shape.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Audio

My Fair Lady hits Blu-ray with the same 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track as the Ultra HD Blu-ray that came out in May. For my thoughts on the audio mix, go here.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features

My Fair Lady‘s Special Features Blu-ray disc has the following features on it:

  • Special Features
    • More Loverly Than Ever: The Making of My Fair Lady Then and Now
    • 1963 Production Kick-Off Dinner
    • Los Angeles Premiere 10/28/1964
    • British Premiere
    • George Cukor Directs Baroness Bina Rothschild
    • Rex Harrison Radio Interview
    • Production Tests
      • Lighting
      • Wilfrid Hyde-White Make-Up
      • Rain/Set
      • Covent Garden Lighting Test
      • Alt. Higgins/Pickering Screen Test
    • Alternate Audrey Hepburn Vocals
      • Show Me
      • Wouldn’t It Be Loverly
    • Comments On a Lady
      • Andrew Lloyd Webber
      • Martin Scorsese
  • Galleries
    • Cecil Beaton Sketches
    • B&W Stills
    • Color Production Stills
    • Documents and Publicity
  • Trailers
    • Teaser Trailer with City Tags
      • Hollywood
      • New York City
      • Boston
      • Philadelphia
      • Washington D.C.
      • San Francisco
      • Chicago
    • With Pride Trailer
    • Awards Trailer
    • Theatrical Reissue: Poster Illustration
    • Reissue: Poster Illustration Reserved Seats Trailer
    • Reissue: Poster Illustration Awards
    • Theatrical Reissue
  • Theatrical Featurettes
    • The Story of a Lady
    • Design for a Lady
    • The Fairest Fair Lady
  • Awards
    • Rex Harrison BFI Honor
    • Rex Harrison Golden Globe® Acceptance Speech
    • Academy Awards® Ceremony Highlights 4/5/65
Features Assessment

The bonus features are similar to the ones found on the Ultra HD release of the film. You can find my thoughts on these features here.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms

Paris When It Sizzles - Audrey Hepburn

Paris When It Sizzles

The vivacious romantic comedy Paris When It Sizzles was a rewritten remake of the 1952 French film La Fete à Henriette. Unfortunately, it never amounts to anything more than an uninteresting mess. It’s kind of surprising since Paris When It Sizzles reunites William Holden and Audrey Hepburn, who last appeared together in the 1954’s Sabrina.

Richard Benson (William Holden) is a successful Hollywood screenwriter living in Paris. Sadly for him, he has a drinking problem that has put his whole career on hold. His producer Alexander Meyerheimer (Noël Coward) is in Cannes and wants the finished script turned in for the film, The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower. Meyerheimer gives Richard a two-day ultimatum to finalize the screenplay. Unfortunately, Richard hasn’t even started the script. Thus, Richard hires a live-in secretary, Gabrielle Simpson (Audrey Hepburn), to aid in his dilemma. Much of the suspense, stems from if they will finish the screenplay or not.

Unfortunately, since Richard is an alcoholic, it seems to have had a great effect on Holden during the shooting of Paris. After all, he was an alcoholic in real-life. He’s typically a great actor, but the combination of his affair with Hepburn and his drinking might’ve played into his lackluster performance. Not to mention, the affair must’ve also played into the flat romantic chemistry. Yet, the problem with Paris is that it’s constantly on the verge of hilarity, but it never quite goes the distance. While audiences should appreciate the manic fun and the meta tone, they try too hard to be clever. 

Overall, Paris When It Sizzles is a film that doesn’t quite live up to the amount of talent in front of and behind the camera. Not to mention, the laughs fall just a bit short despite its fun and manic storyline.

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms

Video

Paris When It Sizzles hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The contrast of the picture is a bit low. So this Blu-ray release doesn’t exactly showcase the brightness and black levels adequately. Yet, the black levels and the picture brightness is excellent throughout. Unfortunately, there is a lot of inconsistency when it comes to color grading. For the most part, the color saturation is a bit faded with a warm color temperature. Yet, for the most part, the film is free of any issues. Although a majority of the set shots are clear of any blemishes, the exterior location shots are full of dust, specks, and flicker.

Video Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Audio

Paris When It Sizzles hits Blu-ray with a Mono Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. For the most part, the audio mixes are devoid of any issues. In other words, there are no distortion or age-related hiss, pops, or crackles in this mix. The voices are clean and clear, and the score fills the soundstage nicely. Although they have their limitations due to the nature of the mix, this mix is quite impressive considering how old this film is.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features

Paris When It Sizzles‘ Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Theatrical Trailers
    • Paris When It SIzzles
    • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
    • My Fair Lady
Features Assessment

As you can see, not much effort was put into the bonus features of Paris When It Sizzles. So, unless you want to check out the vintage theatrical trailers for the three films listed, then these features are all skippable.

Special Features Rating: 0/5 atoms

Roman Holiday - Audrey Hepburn

Roman Holiday

With Roman Holiday, an unknown Audrey Hepburn became a Hollywood star with the release of this charming romantic comedy. Oscar-winning director William Wyler delivers a somewhat overlong and exceedingly meticulous journey that seemingly grows more and more captivating as the movie progresses. Roman Holiday‘s story is also reminiscent of the Disney princess movies of the modern era. The film follows Princess Ann, who yearns to experience the world outside of her royal duties. If that’s not a Disney princess plotline, then I don’t know what is. The flick was certainly ahead of its time.

The movie’s success is mostly due to the exceptional charisma of its two stars. Hepburn’s performance was excellent, and it’s understandable why she was cast. After all, her mother was a real-life Baroness. Thus, Hepburn had a certain grace and elegance about her, which made her believable as a princess. Also, she has a fun, frivolous side that allowed her to hit the right comedic notes. At the same time, Peck was a terrific counterpart to Hepburn, and it’s easy to see how they could fall in love almost instantly. In turn, it made us fall in love with them too. Not to be outdone, there’s a hilarious supporting performance by Eddie Albert as Gregory Peck’s newspaper photographer sidekick.

Overall, Roman Holiday not only holds up today, but it’s also a captivating watch. Although the episodic narrative can be, at times, a little on the hit-and-miss, Roman Holiday ultimately comes off as a thoroughly pleasant romantic drama. Nevertheless, the film is not overly complex with its storyline. Despite that, the plot is not always predictable and obvious. It’s a movie that truly embraces the joys of life and showcases the magic of Rome.

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

Video

Roman Holiday hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.37:1 aspect ratio. Because the film’s original nitrate negative no longer exists, Paramount used the best existing sources—a 35mm dupe negative and fine grain print—for this restoration. Thankfully, this 4K restoration is a truly remarkable job that makes Roman Holiday look brand new. First of all, the video transfer has some rich blacks, bright whites, and beautiful shades of grays. Although some scenes look softer than others, that’s most likely due to the less-than-ideal sources available. 

Despite all that, a lot of credit should go to those who worked on the restoration project because not a single blemish will be found in this restored print. If you think about the level of deterioration that previously plagued this film, this is quite a feat. For the most part, the picture has some crispness to it. Viewers can easily make out the fine details in various subjects, such as the costumes and production design. The grain is evident, which leads to a filmic look, but thankfully, it’s not distracting. Overall, fans of the film will marvel at this restoration effort.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Audio

Roman Holiday hits Blu-ray with a Mono Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. Considering the source and when the film was made, the vocals are still clear as day and easy to comprehend. Even though it’s a mono track though, there is Georges Auric’s score sweeps across the entire soundstage. Not to mention, the sound effects have plenty of depth to them. Yet, the best part of the audio is that there are no distortion or age-related hiss, pops, or crackle in this mix. It’s not a dynamic track but the presentation is genuine and authentic, which is exactly what classic film fans are looking for.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features

Roman Holiday‘s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on Roman Holiday
  • Behind the Gates: Costumes
  • Rome with a Princess
  • Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years
  • Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist
  • Paramount in the ’50s
  • Remembering Audrey
  • Theatrical Trailers
    • Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer
    • Original Theatrical Trailer
    • Theatrical Re-Release Trailer
  • Galleries
    • Production
    • The Movie
    • Publicity
    • The Premiere
Features Assessment

Filmmaker Focus has Leonard Maltin talking about director William Wyler and stars Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, and Eddie Albert. Maltin also reflects on why shooting in Rome was a big deal. Costumes feature Paramount Archivist Randall Thropp, who takes us through a closet of vintage costumes. At the same time, this feature covers the work of legendary costume designer Edith Head. He showcases several costumes alongside a series of stills showing what film they were worn in. 

Rome with a Princess is a travelogue where it features all of the landmarks that Hepburn and Peck visit in the film. The Paramount Years is a clip-filled is a biographical retrospective about Audrey Hepburn—from her early years to the final film she filmed for Paramount. Dalton Trumbo is a fascinating featurette highlighting the tumultuous life of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Those unfamiliar with his life story should definitely check this out. 

Paramount in the ’50s is a promotional featurette from 2000 which pays tribute to the exceptional Paramount movies of the 1950s. Remembering Audrey is a heartfelt tribute where Sean, Audrey’s son, and Robert Wolders, her long-time companion, recall Audrey’s life. They talk about her difficult childhood in Nazi-occupied territory, lingering insecurities, her friendship with fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, and her extensive charity work with UNICEF.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms

Sabrina - Audrey Hepburn

Sabrina

Sabrina may not be Audrey Hepburn’s best film, but it’s certainly her most charming. The movie comes hot off the heels of her Oscar win for Roman Holiday. However, for the other roles, it was a hit and a miss. At first, director William Wilder wanted Cary Grant to play Linus, but he opted out. Instead, the role was taken by Hollywood legend, Humphrey Bogart. 

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Bogart was a menace on set. He complained that Hepburn required too many takes to get her dialogue right, and was convinced that he was wrong for this kind of film. He was right though. At this point in his career, Humphrey Bogart didn’t star in a flat-out comedy. It’s usually been an action-adventure comedy like To Have and Have Not or Beat the Devil. Despite his egregious actions, Bogart later apologized to Wilder for his behavior on the set.

Regardless, both Bogart and Holden might have been too old to play the competing siblings, but they both have the gravitas to pull audiences into the movie. This is especially true for Bogart as he gets to showcase a side we’ve never seen before. As I said earlier, he’s primarily known for his dramatic roles. At the same time, like most of Hepburn’s roles, her grace and beauty are on display in every scene. Also, William Holden has such a playful charm in his performance.

Overall, Sabrina is like any other romantic comedy, both past and present, but there’s a lot to like that keeps the heart of the film relevant and appealing several decades later. It also remains one of the most charming films that Audrey Hepburn has done. 

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

Video

Sabrina hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Warner’s Blu-ray, which was mastered from Paramount’s transfer, provides a glorious reproduction of Charles Lang’s richly textured cinematography—most of which were created on soundstages and backlots. The grayscale for Sabrina is pitch-perfect. The whites are vibrant, the blacks are deep and inky, and there are beautiful shades of gray everywhere in between. Everything leads up to a nice contrast that gives the picture depth. Also, any video issues like dust, specks, and flicker are non-existent in this Blu-ray release. At the same time, the video transfer has a nice crispness to it. There’s also a pleasant-looking film grain that’s distinct but not distracting. Not bad for a film that’s several decades old.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Audio

Sabrina hits Blu-ray with a 2.0 Mono DTS-HD Master Audio track. The mono track delivers good quality sound that’s devoid of any age-related defects, such as hiss, pops, and crackles. Also, no distortion ever appears in the mix. The depth in the audio allows the full-bodied orchestrations and the film’s soundtrack fill the room with ease. Sound effects, such as shattering glass or the car engines, come through cleanly, creating a crisp audio track that defies its age. Lastly, the dialogue is always clear and intelligible.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features

Sabrina‘s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Audrey Hepburn: Fashion Icon
  • Sabrina‘s World
  • Supporting Sabrina
  • William Holden: The Paramount Years
  • Sabrina Documentary
  • Behind the Gates: Camera
Features Assessment

Fashion Icon focuses on Audrey Hepburn and how her unconventional look and style changed society’s definition of beauty. The featurette also examines Audrey Hepburn’s influence on today’s fashion. Sabrina’s World explores the Long Island Gold Coast and the town of Glen Cove. More specifically, it takes a look at the lavish mansions and the historical significance of a place where the wealthiest families in America used to live. Supporting Sabrina delves into the wonderful supporting cast of the film. For a lot of the supporting cast, they have gone on to have great careers, which this featurette covers. 

William Holden: The Paramount Years is a lengthy biographical feature about the prolific leading man. It covers a variety of moments in his life—from his career starting in Pasadena to his shocking and tragic death in 1981. Sabrina Documentary is simply one of those bland behind-the-scenes featurettes from the DVD era. Camera is another feature in the continuing Behind the Gates series by Paramount. As the name suggests, Camera examines the different types of cameras used by Paramount over the years. 

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

War and Peace

For the most part, War and Peace was a laborious and clumsy epic about Napoleon’s failed Russian invasion of 1812. King Vidor’s film tries so hard to turn his international cast into Russians, but even that failed. Not surprisingly, it took the Russians to make the definitive screen version of Leo Tolstoy’s massive novel. With a massive 1967 production that ran six hours in its U.S. edit, the film won the Best Foreign Language Film at the ’69 Oscars. 

For the 1956 film, Hollywood teamed up with Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis to adapt the book. The problem was it took an army of credited and uncredited writers to condense Tolstoy’s gargantuan novel into a single palatable film. What resulted was an unmitigated mess of a film that desperately wanted to be the next Gone With the Wind. Unfortunately for Hollywood, they didn’t learn their lesson when De Laurentiis’ family tried to do the same thing with Dune, as they tried to condense that book into a single film. As a result, War and Peace only had a few impressive battle scenes, but it put most of its focus on the dreary love triangle coming into shape.

Another problem with the film came from the lack of charm from its lead actors. Yes, this includes the ever-so-lovely Audrey Hepburn. When you can’t properly put Audrey Hepburn’s charisma on screen, then you’re doing something wrong. Sadly, that’s what happened here. As for Mel Ferrer and Henry Fonda, they both do their best, but they are not right for their roles. Henry Fonda is too old to play the young Pierre Bezukhov, and Mel Ferrer is too stiff to play Prince Andrei Bolkonsky.

Overall, War and Peace is a disjointed and clumsy effort in adapting Tolstoy’s massive novel. However, if you’re looking for a better version, then look no further than Sergey Bondarchuk’s film.

Movie Rating: 2/5 atoms

Video

War and Peace hit Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. War and Peace were photographed in Paramount’s VistaVision widescreen process. This Blu-ray transfer doesn’t quite showcase the magic of the VistaVision format. Unfortunately, that’s because this is NOT a new 1080p scan, but seemingly a port from the old DVD release. From the moment the VistaVision logo appears, you automatically see the poor condition of the video transfer. The picture is full of severe fading and constant age-related issues. Not to mention, the colors look washed throughout, and the flesh tones are frequently orange or pink. There is also a darkness that sneaks in from the edges of the screen throughout most of this presentation. Also, the film grain has been digitally scrubbed throughout—occasionally resulting in waxy-looking images and a loss of fine detail. When there the grain is present, it skitters unnaturally. 

Video Rating: 2/5 atoms

Audio

War and Peace hit Blu-ray with a Mono Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. The mono soundtrack is serviceable, with the dialogue being the obvious primary focus. The audio has a good but limited dynamic range. However, the special effects have a low-punchy feel to them. The audio mix also has a proper reproduction of Nino Rota’s score. The choir and the pageantry of the period come in with such intensity. The age-related issues that appear in the video also occur in the audio mix. In the film’s quieter moments, you can hear a faint airy hiss coming from the front channels. Luckily, the vocals sound crisp throughout.

Audio Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Special Features

To fit the 208-minute film and reach an adequate bitrate of 24 Mbps in a single Blu-ray, War and Peace come with no special features at all.

Special Features Rating: n/a


Overall, The Audrey Hepburn: 7-Movie Collection is the perfect collection for fans of the actress/fashion icon/humanitarian. Although the collection features some films that aren’t very good, the amount of greatness in this collection outweighs the bad.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

The Audrey Hepburn: 7-Movie Collection is now available in stores on Blu-ray.

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1721 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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