Friday, February 23, 2007

Audrey Hepburn's car for sale? Plus, footage from her first screentest

There was an eBay auction last week for a white Mercedes-Benz supposedly owned by Audrey Hepburn. There's a lot of speculation going around between Audrey fans, and the ad itself is very strange. The seller of the car (based in San Francisco) has a very long piece about the car up, though if you actually read the eight paragraphs, it's mainly insisting that Audrey's two favourite colours were white and red (the colours of the car), and lists every example in her films available to back up this fact. It might have been in a biography or it might have been speculation from another fan, but I had always heard that Audrey actually hated the colour red, and went so far as to tear up all red flowers in her gardens. She loved white and pastel colours both in her house and garden and on herself, and it is true that whatever car(s) she had with husband Mel Ferrer were white, and he drove them. The comments on the auction are also a bit strange and don't seem to ring true. But the part that bugs me the most is the fact that Audrey was never comfortable driving and would pretty much always have her husband or a friend drive her, and she stopped driving altogether after a minor accident and an ensuing lawsuit scared her for good. According to Barry Paris's biography Audrey Hepburn, this accident happened around the time of The Unforgiven, which was filmed in 1959. The Benz that was for sale is a 1968 model, which means it was bought and shipped to California for Audrey a full 10 years after she stopped driving. I also don't understand why she would need a car for herself in L.A. because by 1968 she had effectively stopped her career -- Wait Until Dark was released in 1967 -- to try and save her broken marriage to Mel Ferrer and raise son Sean Ferrer, and didn't start filming again until 1976 with Robin and Marian. Why would she demand her own car on standby in America when she was raising a family in Italy and effectively a "Roman housewife"? Thankfully, the reserve was not met on this auction and so no one is out the $25,000 final bid, because it would be a shame to have someone scammed into buying an otherwise lovely car worth a quarter of the winning bid in the misguided belief that Audrey Hepburn had been the sole owner of the car before the current seller (who also implies in the comments section that he/she rode in the car with Audrey and knew her). Personally, I don't believe it at all, but you are of course free to believe whatever you'd like. I'm only here to give you Audrey news, not tell you what to think. :)

As an add-on to yesterday's news about the British Film Institute, there are two news video clips that show a brief bit of footage from Audrey's first screen test! The first clip comes from BBC's website, and the quality is unfortunately not very good. Click here to view the news story, and from there you can click the film clips link in the right column, or you can just click here to watch only the video. The second news clip comes from Sky News, and I actually couldn't get this to play for me, so I'm not entirely sure if it's the exact same footage they show in the BBC clip, or how the quality is. Either way, click here to view it. As it turns out, the screentest seems to be for a 1954 film called The Belles of St. Trinian's, and Audrey was auditioning for the role of a shopgirl. Judging by the date of the film, I'd guess she got booked for Gigi and Roman Holiday instead?


Mina said...

What model Mercedes was it? The eBay auction is long dead and I was curious. Thanks!

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