Last week I bought a copy of The Nun's Story (the book) off of Amazon. I lucked out because as I did a search for the book, there happened to be a copy of it with Audrey on the cover, released in an edition that came out right when the movie was coming out. The book isn't being printed anymore, so if you want a copy for yourself, it's going to have to be an old one. If you're all nice, I might end up buying more copies like mine and giving them away. :)
Anyway, I was standing in a hallway reading while I was waiting, and twice in 10 minutes people actually noticed what I was reading! The first time a lady I vaguely knew walked by and noticed, and she said "Oh yeah, Nun's Story. I remember seeing that in high school!" I was shocked because she didn't look nearly that old. "Didn't that have Audrey Hepburn?" I said yes, and she said "That was a beautiful lady." I smiled and said that I loved her, and the lady said "Good! You look like her." I said thank you, it'd be nice to be like her, and we parted ways. Not 10 minutes later a man I know walks by and asked what I was reading. I showed him the cover and he said "Oh, Nun's Story. That book looks 50 years old! Wasn't that a movie?" I said yes, the movie was based off of this book, and he said "Who was in it? Audrey Hepburn?" I said yes again, and he said "That was a good movie. You should see it." He seemed shocked that I had.
Both of these people were older than me, old enough to have been around (though young) when the film came out. I had totally forgotten how well the movie did when it actually came out, and how popular the book was beforehand. While the younger generations only seem to know Audrey for Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady, people who were around during her career still remember her by her more powerful films, where her acting talent truly showed. That's not bashing her talent in other films, but most younger fans agree that when they do finally watch The Nun's Story, a whole new side of Audrey opens up to them. I guess that's how people felt when the film first came out, too. Even people who weren't fans of hers sat up and took notice of her performance.
And if you were interested, the book is just as good as the movie. As Donald Spoto's biography points out, screenwriter Robert Anderson stayed very true to the book, and the book itself is very engaging. It isn't dull or dry as a lot of big hits in the day were (have you tried reading Ben-Hur?), and is still very readable to modern generations. It's a shame that it is out of print, because I'm a sure a lot of Audrey fans would love to read it after seeing the film, and it's worth the read.
Speaking of Robert Anderson, I also found a copy of his book After, written about his supposed love affair with Audrey during Nun's Story, on Amazon. This book too is out of print and harder to find, but my copy should be here any day. I may regret spending even $5 on it and I feel vaguely guilty over buying a book that might be exploitative, but curiousity just keeps getting the best of me. I'll let you know how it turns out after I read it, and if it's worth pursuing.