Triggers what Hepburn observed: Here in the heart of the universe, we got our first real snow of the year today.
Even that wasn't much. Still, we declared a snow holiday, and entertained more worthwhile pursuits.
We rewatched part of Love in the Afternoon, the 1957 film. We'd already rewatched it over the weekend as part of our earlier puzzlement concerning age and gender in 1950s films.
It's a Billy Wilder film; it was superbly made. It also makes no apparent sense, except to the extent that it does.
Love in the Afternoon starred Audrey Hepburn, age 27-28 in real life, and Gary Cooper, age 55-56. Within the film itself, Cooper seems to be maybe 62. Hepburn, the great gamine, third greatest female star of the classic Hollywood era, seems to be 19 or 20.
Inevitably, their characters fall in love. And no, it makes no apparent sense, except as a marker of this peculiar era.
If it wasn't Billy Wilder, you'd almost say this was some sort of hidden tribute to a cult of seducing underage girls. That said, Wilder also made The Apartment, which presents an early, remarkably unvarnished portrait of male sexual misconduct, along with Some Like It Hot, in which Jack Lemmon invades the hareem (on the train ride to Florida with the all-female band), only to discover that Marilyn Monroe is completely decent and sincere.
She's nothing like the lascivious image his all-male leering had conjured. We'd compare it to Marlon Brando's discovery, in the undercard of On the Waterfront, that Eva Marie Saint is a more admirable person than he is.
We can't explain Love in the Afternoon. Richard Brody said this:
BRODY: Billy Wilder’s 1957 comedy “Love in the Afternoon," didn’t do well at the box office. Wilder blamed, in part, his casting: “The day I signed Gary Cooper for this movie, he got too old,” Wilder said (as reported in Charlotte Chandler’s book about the director, “Nobody’s Perfect”). Cooper was fifty-six; his love interest in the movie, an innocent young conservatory student, played by Audrey Hepburn, seems about twenty...You explain it. We can't, at least not at this point, though we plan to rewatch more.
As a younger person, Hepburn lived through the Second World War in the Netherlands. (She was born in 1929). We offer this to encourage you to ponder our previous post:
In addition to other traumatic events, she witnessed the transportation of Dutch Jews to concentration camps, later stating that "more than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him, and he stepped on the train. I was a child observing a child."For the full story, click here.
Last night, we saw two young women from Nigeria, each apparently 19 or 19, "sharing their stories" on PBS. As they did, the terrible people on cable news were working quite hard in their ongoing corporate-sponsored attempt to bring our world to an end.
The western world survived that war. Can it survive talk radio, the partisan Internet and the ongoing moral/intellectual squalor of full-blown tribal cable?
Also this, for whatever it's worth: "Hepburn appeared in fewer films as her life went on, devoting much of her later life to UNICEF. She had contributed to the organisation since 1954, then worked in some of the poorest communities of Africa, South America and Asia between 1988 and 1992.
"She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in December 1992. A month later, Hepburn died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63."