Two for the Road
In preparing his romantic comedy Two For the Road, director Stanley Donen decided to utilize many of the cinematic techniques popularized by the French "nouvelle vague" filmmakers. Jump cutting back and forth in time with seeming abandon, Donen and scriptwriter Frederic Raphael chronicle the 12-year relationship between architect Wallace (Albert Finney) and his wife (Audrey Hepburn). While backpacking through Europe, student Finney falls for lovely music student Jacqueline Bisset, but later settles for Hepburn, another aspiring musician (this vignette served as the launching pad for the film-within-a-film in Francois Truffaut's 1973 classic Day for Night). Once married, Finney and Hepburn go on a desultory honeymoon, travelling in the company of insufferable American tourists William Daniels and Eleanor Bron and their equally odious daughter Gabrielle Middleton. Later on, during yet another road trip, Finney is offered an irresistible job opportunity by Claude Dauphin, which ultimately distances Finney from his now-pregnant wife. Still remaining on the road, the film then details Finney and Hepburn's separate infidelities. The film ends where it begins, with Finney and Hepburn taking still another road vacation, hoping to sew up their unraveling marriage. While critics did nip-ups over Stanley Donen's "revolutionary" nonlinear story-telling techniques, audiences responded to the chemistry between Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, not to mention the unforgettable musical score by Henry Mancini. Note: many TV prints of Two for the Road are edited for content, robbing the viewer of Finney and Hepburn's delightful "Bitch/Bastard" closing endearments.