|ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953)|
|"I've never been alone with a man before, even with my dress on. With my dress off, it's MOST unusual."|
|Time: 118 mins.|
Rating: Not Rated
Won Academy Awards for Best Actress, Costume Design and Screenplay. Nominations for 6 other awards, including Best Picture.
It took awhile, but I finally saw this film all the way through and, boy, am I glad I did. It's rare to find an onscreen couple with such great chemistry and magnetism. It's obvious in every moment that Hepburn and Peck were having a marvelous time...or at least that's what they make you believe. This was Audrey's first major film role and it's not hard to see why she became an instant movie star. The camera just loves her and so will you. She plays Anya, a beleaguered European princess, who skips out on her duties just for one day and falls in love with a reporter, played by the incredibly handsome Gregory Peck. This was the first film I've ever seen with a young Gregory and I have to say that I've really been missing something. I never realized how handsome he was.
They play off each other's strengths wonderfully, allowing you to really get under the skin of these two characters. You never find out what country Princess Anya is really from, but that doesn't really matter. She's her country's PR person and her presence is in constant demand at every state function under the sun while she's visiting Rome. The strain of having every minute of her time scheduled finally causes her to have a breakdown. Her secretary calls the doctor who gives her something to sleep. However, she escapes the castle before it takes effect and wanders into her own Roman adventure.
She luckily finds herself in the very capable and honorable hands of Joe Bradley, an American exiled to Rome who needs that one big story to pave his way back to the United States. Once he discovers Anya's true identity, he believes he's found his meal ticket home. What he doesn't anticipate is falling under her spell as she enjoys the only day of true freedom she has ever known. It's all about the money and fame at first, but in the end he just can't make himself blow the lid off her day of adventure. After all, she trusted him...and fell in love.
Anya and Joe manage to do just about every fun thing there is to do in Rome in 24 hours and it's fun to watch their escapades. Though this is a romantic comedy, there are some poignant moments in the film, especially when the couple is forced to part. They never speak of her true identity, but both of them knows that what they're feeling can never exist outside this one stolen moment. It's a film that would never be made today because many people would consider the ending to be unhappy. I just consider it realistic. I have to admit I wanted it to be different, but that's life.
It's a somewhat well-known fact that William Wyler wanted to direct this film in color, but I'm glad he didn't get his way. Black and white lends so much more style to movies. The way the light hits Audrey Hepburn's face is pure magic. It makes you concentrate more on the actors than the scenery. Wyler was considered one of the best women's directors and this film is a pure example of why. This could have been just another hokey romantic comedy, but it's not. It stands the test of time because of the talent involved and the way the story is told. If you're looking for a realistic, fun romance, ROMAN HOLIDAY is a must see. I can't wait to watch it again.