I need to watch more Audrey Hepburn. According to the credits, this is her introduction and itís a fantastic one. Sheís able to play the prim and proper woman of class and distinction and also the hilariously drugged misfit. Her performance, to me, is the heart of the film. Even a little moment, like losing her shoe in the opening scene, is wonderful to watch Hepburn react to her situations.
Therefore, itís a shame sheís put up against Gregory Peck. I donít think heís a bad actor, but heís often a dry one and here heís sort of a bore. He tries to be playful, but Peck just comes across as so reserved and stoic that I often feel aware of his acting. I canít help but compare him to Cary Grant, in part because I think his character is similar to the character in His Girl Friday. But Peck lacks the charm and the pacing of Cary Grant, which Hepburn desperately needs to play against.
Itís still a hilarious film even if Peck is a bit dull. The situations are just ridiculous enough to be funny without feeling over the top and there are some smart jokes sprinkled in here and there. Sometimes, itís a bit too obvious. Almost every interaction Peck and Eddie Albert have feel like the most paper thin ruse that anyone should be able to see through.
The ending is fantastic. A lot of these films can end being overwrought, unrealistic or just downright silly, but here, the film sets up a great exchange for these characters without it feeling forced, inappropriate or trying to spell out too much for the audience. Itís an ending I desperately wish was a conclusion to a better film because, damn, it might be one of my all-time favorite endings now.