The average person either adores Audrey Hepburn and/or Marilyn Monroe, or thinks they were overrated. In my opinion, yes--they have been overexposed, but I believe that when it comes to their talent, they were underrated. Let me explain...
Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe: Overexposed
Even during their lives, the media hounded Hepburn and Monroe--as they do with stars today. Reporters, paparazzi, were always in search of a story about these Hollywood beauties. Today, movies are still being made about them (Marilyn in particular), songs being dedicated to them. You can't go anywhere without seeing a poster, figurine, article of clothing, or any other item or collectible with their faces on it. Why do people idolize and admire them so much? Let's be honest, it's more for their beauty and style.
Most young ladies, or young men who look up to or follow these women do so mainly because of how they look. When a lot of people think Audrey Hepburn they think "fashion", "black dress", "Breakfast at Tiffany's". When people think Marilyn Monroe, they think "sex symbol", "blonde hair", "gorgeous face". I notice that very few people refer to their work on film...
Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe: Underrated Actresses
Now I know, I know--some people will look at this and think "Marilyn Monroe? ACTRESS? Hahaha!" and some even think the same with Audrey Hepburn, but let's give it a more in-depth look.
Marilyn Monroe played the "dumb blonde" and "sexual blonde" roles throughout the majority of her career. But based on some of the things I've read, Marilyn wasn't a dumb person at all. She made mistakes, sometimes put heart before mind--but dumb? I don't think so. Like a lot of stars, particularly in Hollywood, Marilyn didn't have a happy childhood and an unhappy childhood can lead to an unhappy life if no one tries to help or if the person doesn't try to help themselves. Happy childhood or not, Marilyn Monroe took an image (that was probably molded for her by somebody else) and made a trademark out of it. Today, the name "Marilyn" alone carries a lot of weight.
Marilyn Monroe played the kind of roles that had been played countless times before, but nobody made "their own" like Marilyn did. Marilyn also studied acting, so it wasn't like she was just some pretty face who was thrown into movies. I must admit, that sometimes that "voice" could drive me a little crazy, but it was a part of her image, her persona. Marilyn Monroe was a superstar and icon even before she passed away and I believe if she had not perfected her public persona in the way she did, she probably wouldn't have reached that level of fame until after she died.
Have you ever heard her real speaking voice by the way? Click this link below to listen to her talk a little bit about her childhood.
I believe if Marilyn Monroe were given (or had taken--whichever) more serious roles like her roles in Clash By Night, Niagara, and The Misfits (especially "The Misfits") she would have not only perfected her acting skills, but she would have gone down in his story as a sex symbol and a legendary actress, and not just as the quintessential sexpot. I don't believe she was incapable of playing other roles, but I do believe the stereotypical roles may have hindered her growth.
Now, I believe Audrey Hepburn would be less of a problem to explain. More people consider Audrey an actress than they do Marilyn, but there are really some who don't consider one at all. Audrey Hepburn has been called a "model in movies" and things to that extent. A lot of people didn't consider Audrey an actress, I think it's because they let her appearance blind them.
The way her eyes widened in some scenes and how her neck stuck out; her gazelle-like body. People looked at (and still do) her and immediately saw that model, therefore they quickly labeled her and turned the page. As mentioned before, because Audrey was a great dresser on-screen and off, she has unfortunately become more of a fashion icon than a great actress. She put so much emotion and truthfulness in each of her performances--from her spirited role in Roman Holiday to her raw role in A Nun's Story and to her quirky portrayal of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. I don't have to talk much more about Audrey, all I can say is simply watch her movies. I believe her performance in Wait Until Dark was her best.
You can tell Audrey studied the blind and she seemed to have perfected every detail, from not looking directly into people's eyes (as I have seen actors do before) to convincing the audience that she really couldn't see any furniture in her way. I know I was convinced.
Check out the trailer below:
What is your take on this?