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Two for the Road

One of the most stylistically influential films of the sixties, 1967's TWO FOR THE ROAD is a dramatic showcase for Audrey Hepburn and the late Albert Finney.

They star as Joanna and Mark Wallace, celebrating their tenth anniversary with a road trip to some memorable places in the history of their relationship.

All is not ideal. They've grow withdrawn, simmering with resentment and discontent. Director Stanley Donen (Singing in the Rain, Charade) and writer Frederic Raphael (Darling) craft a very clever story, challenging us by constantly flipping back and forth in time.

We see the couple as they meet, as they fall in love, as they marry and as they grow apart, but never in sequence. The structure keeps you on your toes, with the humor, love and happiness of the early years contrasting with their later years that are filled with money, but little love.

Hepburn is gorgeous, smart and terrific as Joanna. You want to smack Finney up the head for losing focus on her and the relationship, but neither are perfect.

Jacqueline Bisset is stunning as a young friend of Joanna's, the year before "Bullitt" and three years before she would explode in "Airport".

Some of the funniest sequences are their road travels with Cathy and Howard Manchester and their obnoxious daughter. Eleanor Bron (Cathy) and William Daniels (Howard) are as good as it gets as comic foils.

Beautifully photographed in the South of France by Christopher Challis (The Deep) and set to one of Henry Mancini's best music scores, it's great to look at and listen to from start to finish. Even Maurice Binder of OO7 fame knocks out some interesting main titles.

Writer Raphael would approach another married couple's relationship 32 years later when writing Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut".

Both depict a couple in danger of losing everything and define the decades they are set in.

A huge hit in the day, Hepburn and her wardrobe defined fashion for many years following. Luckily for us, great writing and acting is always in style. TWO FOR THE ROAD still resonates and gets an enjoyable B.

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