When I consider my celebrity crushes over the years, a few come to mind: Paul McCartney when he was a Beatle, Warren Beatty when he was in "Heaven Can Wait," Robert Redford when he was in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," Bradley Cooper NOW.
But my biggest and most long-standing crush is on a movie with a captivating and beguiling actress, a handsome leading man, sports car convertibles and the picturesque countryside of the south of France ... sigh ... they me at bonjour.
Yes, I fell hopelessly in love with "Two for the Road," an utterly charming movie from the 60s that remains my very favorite to this day, and is the source of my mad crush on Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, who play married couple Joanna and Mark Wallace.
It takes me all of two seconds to lose myself in this movie, starting with the animated sports car criss-crossing the screen in the opening credits. Director Stanley Donen used what was at the time an innovative technique of displaying the couple's complicated relationship through a series of road trips, bouncing scenes from the present to the past and back again, over the course of more than a decade.
The chemistry of petite gamine Hepburn and boyishly handsome Finney gives an authenticity to their portrayal of a couple whose relationship is at varying times blissful and in shambles. Like most couples.
The repartee is genius. Witty, sophisticated, provocative.
Mark: Are you a virgin?
[Joanna seems shocked by the question]
Mark: Thought you were. Can always tell.
Mark: I was two years at the University of Chicago.
Joanna: Studying virgin detection?
Mark: What kind of people just sit like that without a word to say to each other?
Joanna: Married people?
Joanna: [upset] You just want me to become a beautiful memory, the sooner the better!
Mark: Who said anything about beautiful?
This lovely film, uplifted by the haunting and achingly beautiful score of Henri Mancini, is one I can watch over and over and never grow tired of. Mancini, incidentally, said that although the scoring was the most difficult in his career, the music he composed for this movie was always his favorite.
I adore Audrey Hepburn's other movies, especially Breakfast at Tiffany's, Charade, Roman Holiday and Wait Until Dark. It pleases me to know that in real life she was a down-to-earth woman who was unspoiled by her beauty and had a positive outlook on life.
Her sense of style was impeccable, but honestly, she would have looked gorgeous in anything.
When her acting career ended, she devoted much of her time to international children's rights, becoming Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. She traveled extensively in Africa and Latin America to bring attention to the plight of poverty-stricken children.
In "Two for the Road" and her other movies, Audrey Hepburn's style and grace fill the screen. In her life, she brought light and joy to millions. She and Albert Finney made me fall in love with them and with great movies.