Release year: 1953
Director: William Wyler
Screenwriter: Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton, Dalton Trumpy
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert, Hartley Power, Harcourt Williams, Margaret Rawlings, Tullio Carminati
Ratings: 3 Oscars: Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn), Best Writing, Best Costume Design. 7 Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Eddie Albert), Best Director, Best Screenwply, Best Cinematography Black/White, Best Art Direction Black/White, Best FIlm Editing. 1 Golden Globe: Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn).
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #126, week 45 2016
Bored and tired with her life Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) runs off and into the buzzing life of Rome. Here she meets American newsman Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) who lies about who he is and offers to show her the town, as he sees the chance for a scoop.
Legendary director William Wyler (Wuthering Heights, 1939) directed this romantic comedy which manages to mix daydream-like events with down-to-earth reality and made everyone fall in love with the classy Hepburn (My Fair Lady, 1964). Opposite the equally classy Peck (To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962) she delivers a delicate and charming performance as the sheltered princess, making us enjoy watching her spread her wings as much as Peck’s character does. The story is quite simple, leaving us free to enjoy the beautifull city of Rome along with the two of them, as they race around the eternal city on the Vespa made iconic by the movie. The movie is a delightful mixture of light-hearted sequences of enjoyment and more the more heavy subject of responsibilty and duties. With George Auric’s vibrant score, the aesthetic Pictures, and well-written dialogue Roman Holiday is a true classic bound to keep its place as one of the best romantic comedies made.
Despite Paramount’s wish to film the movie in Hollywood, William Wyler insisted it was shot on location. They agreed but only with a much lower budget, which is why the movie was shot in black and white.
The nobility in the scene with the Embassy Ball were all real Italian nobility who donated all their salaries to charity.
The original writer, Dalton Trumbo, was blacklisted as one of the legendary Hollywood Ten, and therefore could not receive credit for the screenplay, even when it won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture Story. Instead, his friend, Ian McLellan Hunter, one of the writers of the final screenplay, took credit for the original story and accepted the Oscar. Trumbo’s wife, Cleo, was finally presented with the award in 1993, long after his death in 1976. The Oscar she received was actually a second one, because Hunter’s son wouldn’t give up his father’s Oscar. Thus, two awards for Best Motion Picture Story of 1953 exist. The story credit was corrected to credit Trumbo when the restored edition was released in 2002, nearly fifty years after the original release.
Picture copyrights: Paramount Home Video