This movie shows how we are on that pivotal point, here in 1957, between the glamour and bright plastic world that began after WWII and edging our way into the black sleek smoke filled rooms of Beatniks.
The contrast between the sultry questioning loner of the Beatnik is even contrasted with the brash ‘devil may care’ big band sound in this modern dance Audrey portrays. The slinky bass notes and modern Martha Graham jerking movements contrast the big brass explosion of the very Hollywood synchronized dancing.
Even the characters portray the changing attitude of my times here in the 1950’s. The ever growing big Madison Avenue NYC world of Fashion and Magazines in Technicolor contrasted with the quiet scholastic modern Audrey who has a mind of her own and sees through it all. The eventual marriage of the two main stars is, in a sense, a marriage of these two worlds. Many feminists might point out that despite the hints of ‘freedom’ of the female character, she is still only happy when she is frothed in creamy white and married to the ‘man’ at the end. Yet, we must remember, that most people do want an outcome of being in a long term relationship. The very notion that denying a natural outcome is both juvenile and really besides the point. To me, this movie, this year 1957, really is the edge of the crevasse which will stretch before us of the coming 1960’s.
Even Audrey Hepburn’s beatnik-esque attire of all black slim clothes and flats ( a look now synonymous with Hebpurn herself) is the portrayal of the two worlds of big showy Madison Avenue extravaganza star mingled with the trouser wearing black coffee drinking Beatniks increasingly becoming frustrated with their countries move towards more SHOW than Substance. Now, don’t get me wrong I love the old Hollywood films and their over the top dance numbers and color to me make them Art. Performance and Design combined. I would rather see a streaming loop of these on a museum wall than what passes for ‘performance art’ now a days. But, still, the point those Beatniks were coming to see, the sale of their country to the big company over the ‘little guy’ is starting to feel more real to me. Of course, had they not become so dependent on the growing drug culture and segway into what the Hippy movement became, I wonder if they could have taken a more scholarly ‘high road’ attempt at standing up for what America was before the war. We shall never know, now of course.
But, I wonder, here in my little middle class housewife role, happy in my home and garden, would the works of the Beatniks cross my path? Would I, in tandem to them, begin to wonder myself ‘what was happening to this country we fought for’ while I watch myself set aside canning, growing my own, and being more a part of the world in lieu of the ease of the supermarket, the man made machine that helps me but eats up electricity and gas? I don’t know. I wonder about this more and more as my time here passes.