ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953)

ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953)

Directed By: William Wyler
Written By: Ian McKellan Hunter & John Dighton
Story & Screenplay By: Dalton Trumbo (Uncredited)
Cinematography By: Frank F. Planer & Henri Alken
Editor: Robert Swink 

Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert, Harcourt Williams, Margaret Williams 


A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome.


When Hollywood was allowed to present an cynical Romantic fantasy. That has the sting of reality towards the end.

I have seen a bunch of Audrey Hepburn films before and while she is beautiful and timeless in each of them. None has appealed and caught my attention as this one has. I have enjoyed a few but other then CHARADE. None of her other films felt as alive. Though CHARADE is full of intrigue. It stays in a level playing field as far her performance in it Goes. That never truly shows as many stakes. In this film she is worldly and wide eyed. Yet always classy.

I can’t say I have watched as many Gregory peck films, but he is always strong and effective. Though stiff in a more natural way.

For some reason I always believed it to be Filmed in color. So watching it in it’s natural black and white was a nice surprise.

One of the qualities of classic films like these are the grandiocity, the costumes and background and locations always in style. The sets and backgrounds huge and eye catching. Unnecessary in size though appreciated as they help create their own world. As many here feel like castles and works of art themselves. Even when you know it’s not necessarily real. In this film they filmed in Rome and used real sites as their backyard immediately upping the production and it’s appeal.

First the film plays like a drama though reveals little moments of humor. That is more charming and born out of dialogue and character details more then hijinks and wacky situations.

While Natalie Portman has a modern day resemblance to Ms. Hepburn and maybe even physically have similar appearance and charm. Mrs. Portman takes roles that are more dramatic, demanding and diverse then Ms. Hepburn really ever had a chance to play and might not be as believable as she seemed to mostly play in romance, musicals, comedies and the rare light hearted drama. Though a grilled once in awhile too.

Dazzling as the movie is in it’s charm that it seems only yesteryear can bring. They don’t make them like this anymore and it’s a shame. So you admire it more as It seems an achievement and skill that is missing and whose inherent quality will never be repeated. Maybe it’s just the romantic in me. That is mesmerized by this film. Especially when i don’t think it would be much to write home about originally. Just more of the same only originally and in the past. There is a certain innocence In it’s appeal and asks nothing from you not takes anything for you.

Mesmerize might be too strong a word. More of a crush where your not about passion and sex. Nothing so deep. You just like it as it’s cute and you have fun with them. They constantly put a smile on your face. You want to spend more and more time with them. As you are never bored In Their company and have a certain influence over you and don’t have a control over your feelings about them.

Enjoyment a fantasy that leaves an aftertaste that can be bitter as it lives up to it’s title. The film is memorable and everlasting though in the end after all an excursion, a holiday that can’t last forever as that would be too much of a good thing. Which would make seems it cease to be special or one of a kind. After all it is usually a vacation from ourselves.

Celebrate the good times. It will never be as good again. I can admit to having a weakness for what seem to be sad love stories. Where the two people in love can’t be together for whatever reason. To me feels a bit more truthful. Which makes it feel personal. While upsetting the audience. Not giving the crowd what they want.

The stakes stay low as far as story. It never comes into any dirty or inappropriate places. Nor does it even raise the eyebrow of suggestion. Almost like a more reality based fairytale for adults more then anything else around.

When we are all long gone. This film will still be around seducing it’s viewers. Having it’s own personal relationships with those viewers. Though it will still be around as a commentary and testament of a lost culture and civilization of society whether fiction or non-fiction.

Just as Ms. Hepburn’s appeal appears to me now more as an adult as an ideal in the romantic sense. A true lady elegant like human Disney character. Who looks good in anything. She a a woman never a fame, chick or other woman nor lusty.

As Rome appears to her character so vividly and full of Life. not so refined and stiff as she has seen apart from humanity and the world in a bubble. Only to be marveled at never really interested with or interrupted. The fantasy of lie in it’s symbolic simple base dream element.

Experience life be allowed a certain freedom that she has rarely experienced. To the point that she almost breaks down in the beginning. Hearing her schedule. Even he spare embarrassment of a misplaced show for to foot pain could be a scandal. That is how much pressure she is under and always watched closely.

It is a shock to see Eddie Albert in this film. As I only know him As the buttoned up farmer in GREEN ACRES. Here how is a womanizing beatnik photographer. His repeated slipping and pratfall scenes is pure hilarity.

There is something to admire in the gentleman of yesteryear on screen. Sharp dressed, strong, and mannered. With a slight sinister edge in their eyes

In the end this is a romantic fantasy that is secretly wishes for and believed it could happen. When traveling abroad.

The fact of this being a fairy tale is even referenced itself in a scene. The film gets serious towards the end. So it’s book ended in the story. I’m not preaching to the converted as the film is already considered a classic to many.

Gregory peck this stands as one of his more familiar roles. Solid, stiff and sturdy. He mainly seems to have a certain machoness. At least for me, as I will admit I need to catch up on more of his starring roles. Though would prefer someone more of a Cart Grant type in this role. His casting here is part of the surprise that works for the film. As he is hardly one thinks of when it comes to a romantic lead.

It’s true they don’t make them like this anymore. Romance movies thirst have comedy and drama in them but stay inventive and even if the stakes aren’t very high the skill of the filmmaker and screenwriter is to make them feel like they are.

This Is one of those films that just makes you feel so warm and comfortable as you watch it. It’s a film that is an escape and fantasy but has some feeling of truth or relatable. It has a certain class and charm.

It’s a film where if I really could I would dissect it scene by scene moment by moment and still don’t feel I could accurately describe it correctly or even replicate the strength of it’s filmmaking and feelings

Almost like when you fall in love or admire someone. You can endlessly tell or say your feelings and thoughts, but can never accurately describe it accurately. No matter what it feels incomplete. Though it should be rather simple. I believe because to fully describe it means here is an ending and clear definition and none of us even no matter how hard we try can we exactly define every essence of our feelings. Maybe because it is a fantasy we want to believe so much that it is real. As while we get an overview we forget or neglect what came before it the little Intircities of the characters and their lives. The things that make up reality and our lives as well as our relationships. We seem to forget that this dream or fantasy is the work of an imagination not only heightening reality but also making it so smooth they’re is no other direction but a satisfying ending.

It stays entertaining and feels like they have substance and are not afraid for the characters it to end up with one another in the end and still feel romantic. Even if just letting us witness and experience the magic of a short term love affair that neither the characters nor us in the audience will forget it’s not just a fling but an everlasting memory we all will want to relive and remember

There are just some films that are timeless and feel like they have been dipped in just enough magic and stardust that they seem timeless even if they are obviously of their times and era.

Which is what it feels like watching this compared to many of today’s and even yesteryear romance films. As those seem to go for the spirit of films such as these but fall short. Be it because of being contrived or feeling standard yet never making the film feel quite as special, organic or original. This film is a fairy tale that is convenient yet feels charming where it all works and feels like it was aimed at something and every decision in the making feels thought out and works.

Grade: A+