This collection of Audrey Hepburn’s most memorable starring roles has been available on DVD since early 2019, but has only now been released on Blu-ray. Any partial collection of her works is certain to disappoint fans of omitted titles, but the seven films here make for a legitimately strong survey of her career. Starting with her early black-and-white breakout roles in Roman Holiday and my personal favorite, Sabrina, then moving through her most iconic performances in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady, and Funny Face, the set covers the absolute essentials and then also throws in the epic adaptation of War and Peace and perhaps her least-known romantic comedy, Paris When it Sizzles.
The one recurring theme in these films is Paramount’s weird insistence on romantically pairing her with ridiculously older men, from Bogart in Sabrina (30 years difference) to Astaire in Funny Face (also 30 years) to Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (21 years). Really the only age-appropriate suitor is George Peppard in Tiffany’s at one year older, with the runner-up being William Holden at 11 years older, who is also coincidentally the only two-time love interest, appearing in both Sabrina and Paris When it Sizzles. It’s understandable that established leading men were needed for box office security, but viewed through today’s standards it just seems preposterous to see the spritely young ingénue paired with men with one foot in the grave.
While the set doesn’t include any new bonus features, it is stuffed with legacy features on the five most essential films. Breakfast at Tiffany’s seems to have the most content, ranging from features on Henry Mancini’s music contributions to a look at Hepburn’s incredible style in the film to a making-of featurette. My Fair Lady is close behind with footage from the production kick-off dinner, the Los Angeles and British premieres, and an interesting look at Hepburn’s alternate vocals. Sabrina and Funny Face both dive into the fashion aspects of the films, with Sabrina also including an overview of co-star William Holden’s years at Paramount as well as a documentary about the film. Roman Holiday has features on Hepburn’s Paramount years, Paramount in the ‘50s, reminiscences about Hepburn, as well as the story of how screenwriter Dalton Trumbo fell from the A-list to the blacklist. The box set’s bonus features are a welcome treasure of additional information for Hepburn fans and help to distinguish this set as a high-quality product rather than a cheap cash grab.
Surprisingly for a legacy collection, the set also includes digital copies of all seven films, but since this is a Paramount product, those copies are only redeemable on VUDU or Apple and do not cross over to other platforms. The digital versions skimp on bonus features, with only a very select few from the box set appearing on VUDU, so if you’re interested in savoring all of the bonuses, the discs are the way to go.
As for image and sound quality, there’s no indication that any restoration work was done for this set, but whatever sources were used are impeccably presented, with no evident defects and crisp visual and auditory clarity. Color grading retains original subdued tones rather than oversaturating, and sound gets DTS-HD and Dolby options. The films have been beautifully preserved and shine on Blu-ray, making this collection a must-have for curious newcomers as well Hepburn aficionados who haven’t already purchased their favorite individual titles or want to consolidate into one compact box.
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