Like a cheap wine, TWO FOR THE ROAD has not stood up well to the passing of time. What seemed so chic in 1967 looks like a soap opera with jumpcuts today. Still, one must measure it by the temper of the times; in 1967, it was on the money. A small cult of aficionados feels that the film
remains one of the best of the genre.
Audrey Hepburn and architect Albert Finney are a married couple taking a car trip from England to the French Riviera. They are about to visit the home of Dauphin, the Frenchman who helped the successful Finney get his first break. From the nature of the biting dialogue between the two, it's
obvious that this is a marriage in jeopardy. Flash back to a dozen years before when Finney and Hepburn first met. He's a backpacking student looking at European buildings, and she's one of several female music students going to a festival. Finney is attracted to Jacqueline Bisset but winds up
with Hepburn as the other women all come down with chicken pox. They travel together to the edge of the sea and decide they are in love and will get married. Flash forward to their next trip on the Continent. They are newlyweds traveling with William Daniels, Eleanor Bron, and their incorrigible
daughter, Gabrielle Middleton. This little girl is enough to sour any woman from having a child, but Hepburn manages to overcome her hatred for the little brat. She and Finney make a pact never again to travel with anyone else. On yet another trip along the same road, Hepburn tells Finney that she
is pregnant, and they meet Dauphin, who gives Finney his chance to go from minor jobs to major homes in the south of France. The film cuts between past, present, and future, presenting Finney having a one-night stand with Karyn Balm and Hepburn submitting to the amorous advances of Georges
Descrieres, a sober intellectual who turns out to be far too dour for Hepburn's lighthearted personality. The two are reunited and realize that, through it all, they love each other and no amount of petty quarreling or even major spats will ever divide them.
Finney's character remains essentially the same throughout, a slightly boorish lout. Hepburn changes visibly from a naive waif to a mature wife and mother to a bored matron. There were some complaints that Hepburn was too old for Finney, but she is actually just about seven years his senior. Her
career had been twice the length of Finney's, and people were just used to seeing her more often. The usually fastidious Hepburn was dressed by Mary Quant, Paco Rabanne, Ken Scott, and others, and, wonder of wonders, she even wore blue jeans. Location scenes were done in Paris, Nice, St. Tropez,
La Colle sur le Loup, and Beauallon. Good aerial photography by Guy Tabary and an excellent score by Henry Mancini also enhance the film. Although Bron plays an American, she is actually a British actress who scored in HELP, ALFIE, WOMEN IN LOVE, and the Dudley Moore-Peter Cook production,
BEDAZZLED, also directed by Stanley Donen. Donen's direction here is a trifle trendy and frantic, with sometimes jarring results.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Like a cheap wine, TWO FOR THE ROAD has not stood up well to the passing of time. What seemed so chic in 1967 looks like a soap opera with jumpcuts today. Still, one must measure it by the temper of the times; in 1967, it was on the money. A small cult of… (more)