Six Damn Fine Degrees #14: Two for the Road

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness.

In 1951, when she had a small appearance in The Lavender Hill Mob as Chiquita (sadly not having seen the film, I cannot tell whether this means she played an actual banana), Audrey Hepburn wasn’t yet the movie star that she would later become. Roman Holiday was still two years away, then came Sabrina, War and Peace and Funny Face, and in 1961 she made her iconic appearance in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Much has been written and said about what exactly Hepburn’s character in that film, Holly Golightly, is exactly: is she merely selling companionship needy men, or is she selling sex? Truman Capote, who wrote the novella the film was based on, called her an “American geisha”, but he didn’t exactly answer the question.

In any case, for all of Hepburn’s tremendous charms and attraction, she never struck me as particularly sexual in her performances; her characters were largely cute as the cutest of kittens, but also oddly innocent, almost to the point of sexlessness. On screen, she always came off as something of an anti-Marylin Monroe.

So consider my surprise when I found out that she was in a film written by Frederic Raphael, whose other works include Eyes Wide Shut. Yes, Stanley Kubrick’s last film. Yes, the one with the orgy that caused Warner Bros. to digitally alter the respective scenes, Austin Powers-style, to avoid an adults-only NC-17 rating.

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