Saturday, February 27, 2010
After reading High Society by Donald Spoto and loving it, I picked up Enchantment by him at the library. Enchantment is a biography of Audrey Hepburn, my favorite actress. Since I like Hepburn even more than I like Grace Kelly and I enjoyed Spoto's work, I expected to love Enchantment. But I didn't. Maybe I set it up for failure by expecting too much, or maybe I just lost interest because I was already familiar with Hepburn's life.
My now husband, then boyfriend bought me a book on Hepburn for my birthday the first year we were dating. It's full of beautiful photos and her basic life story. Since it was more about photos, I expected to find out more information from Spoto's book, but I don't feel like I learned much new information, and most of what was new to me was negative. I knew Hepburn had relationships with a few costars such as William Holden, but the book was rather full of affairs and failed relationships. Those were discussed in a rather unflattering manner. I felt like Spoto put Grace Kelly up on a pedestal and tried to knock Hepburn down a bit.
I did enjoy the first few chapters about her childhood. I knew she had suffered as a child during WWII, but this gave many more details than my glossy coffee table book did.
I surprisingly didn't enjoy reading about her movies as much. I think Spoto focused too much on some of the details around the movies that had nothing to do with Audrey to the point where my mind would wander and I would lose interest. I like getting a bit of behind the scenes info, but I felt like he just got off track a few too many times.
I am glad he praised my all-time favorite Hepburn movie, Paris When It Sizzles. It's hilarious, and it's the movie that made me fall in love with her. It doesn't get much press, and when it does it seems like people don't get that it's supposed to campy. She's wonderfully funny in the movie and encourage you to check it out if you haven't seen it.
But for this book, I think there are probably better biographies of Hepburn out there. Spoto has written a ton of old Hollywood biographies, and I will still pick up some of his about people he likes more, such as Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock came up frequently in both the Spoto books I read and you can tell Spoto worships him, so I think that would be a stronger book, as well as his biography of Marilyn Monroe. So, I still plan to pick those up some day.