Oscar Movies: Two for the Road (1967)

A much underestimated picture, Stanley Donen’s (“Charade”) inventive romantic comedy, “Two For the Road,” pays homage to the stylistic innovations of the French New Wave.

This is most obvious in his manipulating the time structure, jump-cutting back and forth from past to present and back.

In his Oscar-nominated scenario, writer Frederic Raphael chronicles the twelve-year-relationship between architect Mark Wallace (Albert Finney) and his wife Joanna (Audrey Hepburn), with all the highs and the lows spats, cheating).

While backpacking through Europe, as a student, Wallace falls for a music student (Jacqueline Bisset), but later decides to go after Joanna, another aspiring musician.

This vignette served as the launching pad for the film-within-a-film in Francois Truffaut’s 1973 Oscar-winning classic “Day for Night.”

Once married, the couple goes on a desultory honeymoon, travelling in the company of insufferable American tourists (William Daniels and Eleanor Bron) and their irritating daughter Gabrielle Middleton.

Later on, during yet another road trip, Wallace is offered an irresistible job opportunity by Maurice Dalbret (Claude Dauphin), which distances him from his now-pregnant wife.

Still remaining on the road, the film then details the duo’s separate infidelities.

Obeying symmetry, the film ends where it begins, with Finney and Hepburn taking still another road vacation, hoping to sew up their unraveling marriage.

While critics praised Donen’s non-linear storytelling, audiences responded to the charisma of and chemistry between the stars, Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, who are very attractive and appealing in this film.

The film boasts yet another strong musical score by Henry Mancini.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Story and Screenplay (Original): Frederic Raphael

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context

The winner of Original Screenplay was William Rose for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”

Credits

Running time: 102 Minutes.

Directed by Stanley Donen.

Written by Frederic Raphael.

Released: April 27, 1967.

DVD: November 1, 2005