TWO FOR THE ROAD
(director: Stanley Donen; screenwriter: Frederic Raphael; cinematographer: Christopher Challis; editors: Richard Marden/Madelèine Gug; music: Henry Mancini; cast: Albert Finney (Mark Wallace), Audrey Hepburn(Joanna Wallace), William Daniels (Howard Manchester), Eleanor Bron (Cathy Manchester), Gabrielle Middleton (Ruth), Jacqueline Bisset (Jackie), Claude Dauphin(Maurice Dalbret), (David), Nadia Grey(Francoise Dalbret), Georges Descrieres(David), Kathy Chelimsky (The Couple’s Daughter), Irene Hilda (Yvonne); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Stanley Donen; Fox Home Video; 1967-UK)
“More facile than poignant.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Stanley Donen (“Charade”/”Arabesque“) directs this touristy romantic comedy by keeping both eyes on the road. It features the acerbic architect Mark Wallace (Albert Finney, age 30) and his coy wife Joanna (Audrey Hepburn, age 37) of 12 years hitting the road in France, in their Mercedes, on their way to the French Rivera, and on the trip recalling the ups and downs of their relationship. It’s scripted by Frederic Raphael. Though a well-acted (with Audrey shedding her good girl image) enjoyable romp through the beautiful countryside of France, it’s more facile than poignant. The supposedly clever adult banter between the always bickering couple seems less comical than just being sour grapes, and any insights into marriage is up to the viewer to decide. My take is that this is more or less a Hollywood version of marriage (loosely based on the marriage Frederic Raphael). The film takes a non-linear trajectory, with frequent flashbacks. In one episode we see how they met on a Channel ferry, as he was a fledgling architect hitchhiking and taking photographs of the architecture in France while she was traveling with a choral group of American students led by Jackie (Jacqueline Bisset). They married and returned to Europe, and on their honeymoon traveled with an obnoxious family, Cathy and Howard Manchester (Eleanor Bron & William Daniels) and their spoiled brat 6-year-old daughter Ruth (Gabrielle Middleton), who ruined their holiday. Howard is a stiff efficiency expert who married Mark’s first love, Cathy, from his days at the University of Chicago. Their next holiday was without company, needless to say. With his wife pregnant, Mark took a solo business trip in Europe and had a one-night stand with someone he picked up on the road. The workaholic became affluent, as the neglected wife found time for romance with hubby’s bossy boss Maurice’s (Claude Dauphin) brother David (Georges Descrières). But after leaving him the couple reunite and accept who they are, as it ends with the chic couple happily calling each other bitch and bastard.
REVIEWED ON 7/4/2017 GRADE: B- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/