A black and white British drama that shows off Audrey Hepburn's extensive classical ballet training more than either of her big Technicolor musicals did airs Friday, August 22nd, on cable's Turner Classic Movies. If you're a Hepburn fan, you may want to watch it and/or record it.
The 1952 British thriller is called Secret People. It focuses on the complex issue of political anarchy vs. doing the right thing. We're taken to London in the 1930s. A waitress, a sweet foreign refugee trying to survive and live a peaceful life, gets involved in the assassination plot against a dictator. Her father lived and died under the dark cloud of government tyranny. Audrey Hepburn plays the working class refugee's youngster sister, a ballet dancer. "It's her whole life" is how the older sister, Maria, proudly describes Nora's dancing. Maria adds, "She's always talking about her dancing, her agent, her classes." The casual remark will be used in the web of intrigue.
Nonetheless, Secret People is driven by one excellent performance by sad-eyed Valentina Cortese as the refugee caught up in the political plot. She makes this intrigue worth watching. So does young Audrey.
It was not just elegance, loveliness and sophistication that got her the Oscar-winning role. It was all that plus definite screen charisma and acting talent.