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Two for the Road (1967)

Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron, more...
Director: Stanley Donen
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Genre: Foreign, UK, Quest, Road Movies
Running Time: 111 min.
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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In preparing his romantic comedy Two For the Road, director Stanley Donen decided to utilize many of the cinematic techniques popularized by the French "nouvelle vague" filmmakers. Jump cutting back and forth in time with seeming abandon, Donen and scriptwriter Frederic Raphael chronicle the 12-year relationship between architect Wallace (Albert Finney) and his wife (Audrey Hepburn). While backpacking through Europe, student Finney falls for lovely music student Jacqueline Bisset, but later settles for Hepburn, another aspiring musician (this vignette served as the launching pad for the film-within-a-film in Francois Truffaut's 1973 classic Day for Night). Once married, Finney and Hepburn go on a desultory honeymoon, travelling in the company of insufferable American tourists William Daniels and Eleanor Bron and their equally odious daughter Gabrielle Middleton. Later on, during yet another road trip, Finney is offered an irresistible job opportunity by Claude Dauphin, which ultimately distances Finney from his now-pregnant wife. Still remaining on the road, the film then details Finney and Hepburn's separate infidelities. The film ends where it begins, with Finney and Hepburn taking still another road vacation, hoping to sew up their unraveling marriage. While critics did nip-ups over Stanley Donen's "revolutionary" nonlinear story-telling techniques, audiences responded to the chemistry between Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, not to mention the unforgettable musical score by Henry Mancini. Note: many TV prints of Two for the Road are edited for content, robbing the viewer of Finney and Hepburn's delightful "Bitch/Bastard" closing endearments. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

All-Surface Portrait of a Marriage by talltale July 23, 2006 - 1:54 PM PDT
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Watchable more for its snazzy editing and the clothing, haircuts and cars of the period (the 1960s) and less for director Stanley Donen's and writer Frederic Raphael's attempt to do a film about modern marriage, TWO FOR THE ROAD unfortunately remains as big a disappointment now as it was 40 years ago. This is either one of Raphael's worst screenplays, or Donen and his cast were unable to breathe real life into the script.

Instead we get overdone characters such as the Eleanor Bron/William Daniels couple and their insufferable little girl, and worse Audrey Hepburn, whom I had thought I loved. Watching her here, unable to toss off or throw away a single line (which simply MUST be done more than occasionally with Raphael's style of flip, in-the-moment speech), she seems quite simply not very believable (though lovely as ever and dressed, of course, to the nines). Instead of subtly uncovering a wealth of buried treasure via clever, offhand dialog--as is usually the case with Raphael's work--everything seems surface and brought home with wheelbarrow and shovel.

From the first, Finney mentions to Hepburn something to the effect of, "Are we going to fight the whole time?" And then they do--with short respites filled with too-heavy laughter, chemistry-free smooching or other couples fighting. And Donen's scene at Chantilly with speeded-up camera work (a 60/70s trope that calls dreadful attention to itself) isn't even very amusing. As to the film's look at "marriage," well, every single marriage I know of--rich, poor or middle class--is infinitely more interesting than what we see here. In the end, "Two for the Road" seems remarkably shallow: all-surface (great clothes, cars, scenery), all the time. Though that may be what the Donen/Raphael team wanted, it is not what filmgoers--then or now--cared to see.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.75)
20 Votes
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