Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
Joe Bradley is a reporter for the American News Service in Rome, a job he doesn't much like as he would rather work for what he considers a real news agency back in the States. He is on the verge of getting fired when he, sleeping in and getting caught in a lie by his boss Hennessy, misses an interview with HRH Princess Ann, who is on a goodwill tour of Europe, Rome only her latest stop. However, he thinks he may have stumbled upon a huge scoop. Princess Ann has officially called off all her Rome engagements due to illness. In reality, he recognizes the photograph of her as being the young well but simply dressed drunk woman he rescued off the street last night (as he didn't want to turn her into the police for being a vagrant), and who is still in his small studio apartment sleeping off her hangover. What Joe doesn't know is that she is really sleeping off the effects of a sedative given to her by her doctor to calm her down after an anxiety attack, that anxiety because she hates her... Written by
After filming, Gregory Peck informed the producers that, as Audrey Hepburn was certainly going to win an Oscar (for this, her first major role), they had better put her name above the title. They did and she did. See more »
When Ann and Joe are on the scooter, her words don't match her mouth. See more »
Paramount News brings you a special coverage of Princess Ann's visit to London, the first stop on her much-publicized goodwill tour of European capitals. She gets a royal welcome from the British, as thousands cheer the gracious young member of one of Europe's oldest ruling families. After three days of continuous activity and a visit to Buckingham Palace, Ann flew to Amsterdam, where Her Royal Highness dedicated the new international aid building and christened an ocean liner, ...
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This charming comedy is justly famous as the film that made the whole world fall in love with Audrey Hepburn and half the world want to run out and buy a Vespa scooter. Hepburn was always beguiling, but in some of her later roles she tended to overplay the winsomeness. Here every note she hits is just about perfect.
And speaking of notes, pay special attention to the score by the great Georges Auric. If the film had been produced in the manner of modern romantic comedies, the sound track would have been larded with pop hits by Perry Como, Dinah Shore, and Frankie Laine, which would have done an awful lot to destroy the magic. Instead Auric's complex, vibrant, evocative music complements the story's inherent lyricism without upstaging it. In an era of bombastic film scoring, this seems a miracle.
Someone once said that Audrey Hepburn's was the beauty of possibility and transformation -- she was always in motion, always becoming something else. "Roman Holiday" is very much of a piece with that notion. On the surface, the film is about a princess who disguises herself as a "commoner". But in truth she's actually pretending to be a princess, at least at first. She finally becomes authentic -- is transformed and prepared to deal with her destiny -- only through the ennobling power of love and sacrifice. That's one heck of a mythic subtext and does a lot to explain "Roman Holiday's" enduring power.
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