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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.
I recently caught this little gem of a film on a retro program and it
was a trip well worth it. William Wyler was a genius directing
throughout his film career. Here he's in top form.
The only way this film could have been conceived was with the charming presence of Audrey Hepburn in her first appearance on a Hollywood film. She is without a doubt, an angel who was sent to this earth to delight the movie audiences in whatever movie she happened to dignify with her appearance in.
Some people have compared Audrey Tatou with the incomparable Audrey Hepburn. Seeing Ms Hepburn in Roman Holiday will certainly change the minds of those comparing fans. Audrey Hepburn was a star's star! She exudes charm, intelligence, elegance, and beauty. Just one look from her could disarm Gregory Peck forever.
The only wrong note of this production was the way the writer, Dalton Trumbo, was treated since he had been blacklisted by the anti-communist faction lead by Sen. McCarthy and company. In the end, Mr. Trumbo was vindicated in having his name recognized as the writer of Roman Holiday.
This film is a feast to the eyes in that glorious cinematography and Rome as a background. This was Hollywood at its best. Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn will be forever young any time we take a look at this classic that I'm sure will live and charm its viewers whenever they take a chance to see it for the first time, or like some of us, for another loving look.
A plot as slender as Audrey Hepburn but oh what magic! If you've never
this jewel, you're to have one of the best evenings of your week, your
Perhaps the key to this movie's success is restraint - in the dialogue, in the music, in the cynicism of Peck and cronies at the movie's beginning. No one gushes - all is understated - but how one feels its power.
I hope everyone has experienced a day such as they - with someone they come to care for - as much as they. It's my wish for the world.
Audrey Hepburn's first big film role cast her as a Princess of country
unknown, making a state visit to Rome. Bored of the endless run of
openings, dedications and so on, she decides to see something of the city,
and runs into American newsman Gregory Peck. He recognises her as the
missing Princess and plans to scoop a major interview for his syndicate,
with the help of pal Eddie Albert and his hidden camera.
Hepburn is an absolute joy, particularly when her hair is shorn down to the classic urchin cut and she takes a motorcycle ride. Peck, too, is served well by this kind of role, and the romance of the city of Rome helps their relationship to develop during their 24 hours of freedom. Roman Holiday is one of those rarities which are truly perfect and memorable, a real girly flick with beautiful photography and a sparkling script. Highly recommended, and especially so in the wonderful recent restoration.
A Holiday worth celebrating every day of the year. The Princess awakens from her slumbers in this classic fall-from-innocence, coming-of-age tale with a royal twist. Audrey Hepburn stakes her claim as the most perfect woman who ever lived. Gregory Peck at his best as the ne'er-do-well American reporter who guides her chastely from girlhood to womanhood. What can I add? One of the finest movies ever made. Now will you please stop reading this review and rent the movie, for heaven's sake? ...Now, according to the rules, this review has to go for at least 10 lines. And yet I've said everything I have to say about Roman Holiday. It is perfect. Rent it. Or better yet, buy it. You won't regret it. There, now that's 11 lines, that ought to do it.
Constantly advised, overprotected, and bored with her royal duties,
Princess Anne, on holiday in Rome, evades her protectors and sneaks out
at night to discover how the ordinary Italians live...
Exhausted from a claustrophobic schedule, she collapses in a public place
Passing by is Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), a newspaper reporter who was planning to interview the Princess the following day
Not realizing who she is, he eventually takes her to his apartment where she spends the night on his couch
After discovering her identity, Bradley charms the runaway princess for the exclusive story he visualizes writing He calls his carefree photographer friend Eddie Albert and proposes to spend the day with her and experience everything she has always desired to
Audrey Hepburnthe exquisite incognito princess who finds romance in the capital city of Italy not only lets down her long tresses, but also gets a more fashionable cut, as she blossoms to embrace a life she knows she cannot keep
Hepburn received an Oscar for Best Actress in recognition of her gamine charms and for her great acting ability
If you like to remember Princess Anne at the café ordering champagne for lunch; smoking her "very first" cigarette; dancing on a barge on the Tiber River; hitting the royal agents with beer bottles; and testing the legend of 'The Mouth of Truth;' don't miss this delightful movie with three legendary stars
Audrey Hepburn doesn't have a vulgar bone in her body: she breezes through this comedic romp with the spirit of a saint on holiday. When a princess escapes the castle while touring Italy, a down-on-his-luck American reporter chances to meet her and smells a good story. A joyful fairy tale, but with the heartbreak of reality at the finale, and what sweet sadness there is in those final shots! Hepburn won an Oscar for Best Actress, and deserved it. Gregory Peck is almost playful in his scenes with her, and Eddie Albert is a perfect buddy-match. Director William Wyler sets up the story very gingerly, but he cuts loose as well, and the whole picture plays like a delectable dessert. ***1/2 from ****
With a very nice blend of fantasy and reality, and two very likable stars,
"Roman Holiday" is both entertaining and thoughtful. Sometimes it is very
funny, and at other times it makes you feel a great sympathy and warmth
towards the characters. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck are ideal in the
leading roles, and the story is very clever in getting a lot of mileage out
of a simple idea without pushing things too far, which makes it quite
The idea of Princess Ann (Audrey) slipping away unnoticed and unrecognized for a day of fun and freedom from responsibility is of course fanciful, but it works for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is Peck's role as a pragmatic newsman. He is a good balance for Hepburn's charm and energy, remaining calm and logical without ever becoming cold or distant. You feel as if you could spend a lot more than a couple of hours in their company. And how could you improve on Eddie Albert's performance as Peck's photographer friend? The movie also adds in the atmosphere of Rome itself, with some creative scenes that make good use of the setting.
There are many fine moments in a story that at times seems almost like a daydream, and then it brings the characters back to reality in a moving way. It's not an easy combination to pull off, but here it all fits together very well, to make the kind of classic worth remembering, and one which you can watch and enjoy more than once.
When Roman Holiday was in the planning stages William Wyler envisioned
either Elizabeth Taylor or Jean Simmons in the role of the princess.
When neither proved available, he and Paramount studios decided to do a
Scarlett O'Hara type search for an unknown for the part. The film then
would only have Gregory Peck as the star to draw the people in.
But when Peck saw the screen test and also realized the film would rise and fall on the performance of the princess part, he insisted on top billing for Audrey Hepburn. Audrey had only done a few small bit parts in some English films up till then, however Peck insisted on the billing of her right after him with 'introducing Audrey Hepburn' as her title credit.
In the same way that William Holden credited Barbara Stanwyck with helping him get through Golden Boy, Audrey Hepburn credited Gregory Peck with her performance in Roman Holiday. As well as William Wyler who still has a record of more people getting to the Oscar sweepstakes for his films than any other director.
Roman Holiday is simple and delightful film about a young princess of some unnamed European country who gets tired of her programmed routine and wants a break from it. In Rome while on a European tour, princess Audrey fakes an illness and runs off for a day of fun.
An American wire service reporter Gregory Peck finds her and realizes he's got an exclusive. So he chaperones her around without letting her know she's on to him. He even gets photographer Eddie Albert to help him out.
Eddie Albert got the first of two nominations for Best Supporting Actor for Roman Holiday, the second one being The Goodbye Girl. He lost to Frank Sinatra for From Here to Eternity. Though Albert is funny in this film, for dramatic work I never understood why he was not nominated for Attack or for Captain Newman, MD.
If you're thinking that the film is starting to bear a resemblance to a continental It Happened One Night you would be right. And if that's your thinking it will come as no surprise to learn that Frank Capra originally had the idea to film this. The property reverted to Paramount as part of his settlement to leave that studio after doing two Bing Crosby films.
I wish Paramount had done Roman Holiday in color though. Darryl F. Zanuck over at 20th Century did Three Coins in the Fountain in gorgeous color and later on MGM did The Seven Hills of Rome also in color. Still the Roman locations really add a lot to Audrey's adventure.
When Oscar time Audrey Hepburn in her first starring role and really first role of any consequence won an Oscar for Best Actress. Until the day she died Audrey Hepburn had charm enough for ten, you can't help but love her in anything she ever did. Even if the film she did was not that great, Audrey sparkles through.
Even in black and white, the Eternal City with Audrey and Greg make anyone young at heart.
I could just write my one line summary over and over again, but that would make for a rather dull comment, so I won't (stop cheering in the balcony!). In addition to the wonderful Ms. Hepburn, Gregory Peck does his typically superb job and Eddie Albert turns in a delightful (but no doubt painful, for him) performance in this incredibly charming jewel of a film. This film made me an incurable romantic for life! *sigh* I'd better quit before my apartment becomes a wind-tunnel! Joyously, happily recommended!
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