The Magic of Audrey is a television documentary originally released in 2011, which aired several times on the Decades TV network in March. This biographical special details Audrey Hepburn’s life and career, incorporating photographs, movie clips, trailers, interviews, and newsreel clips to tell her story.
This documentary is on the short side, but still manages to give a good overview of Audrey’s life and work. Audrey’s pre-stardom life is discussed, including her experiences during World War II, her time in ballet school, and her modeling career.
The doc then goes on to highlight many of Audrey’s most well-known and beloved titles, including Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and My Fair Lady. Charade is praised as one of Audrey’s best films, which delighted me, since it is one of my personal favorites. Cary Grant’s reluctance to work with Audrey due to their age difference is discussed, as well as the fact that they came very close to working together again. (Grant was offered a role in My Fair Lady and would have loved to work with Audrey again, but thought that Rex Harrison was the best fit for the role, so he turned it down.)
Moving on to Hepburn’s later years, her humanitarian efforts are inspiring to watch, and clips of some of her international appearances and speeches are included here.
Woven throughout the documentary is discussion of Audrey’s personal life, including marriage, her struggles in becoming a mother, and of course her charity work. The actress comes across as smart, image savvy, and a very strong woman who encountered a lot of strife but made the best of her life through it all. The film can be a little bit gossipy at times in this discussion of personal matters (i.e. Audrey’s relationship with William Holden and her marriage problems with Mel Ferrer), but for the most part it’s a respectful and admiring tribute.
The Magic of Audrey doesn’t include any information that most avid Audrey fans won’t already be familiar with, but it is a nice watch that offers a reminder of why we love her, and why she is such an enduring star of the classic era. If you’re interested in watching, keep an eye out for it on your local TV schedule. It is also available for streaming rental on YouTube and iTunes.