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Roman Holiday

Introduction. Celebrating its 70th anniversary, “Roman Holiday” is a timeless romantic comedy considered to be one of the greatest films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. It was the film that introduced Audrey Hepburn to American audiences, and proved to be her break-out role as a star. From IMDb: “IT'S SHEER JOY. The picture that lifts your happiness high.”

Storyline synopsis. From Fathom Events: “It’s the story of a modern-day princess (Audrey Hepburn) who, rebelling against the royal obligations, explores Rome on her own. She soon meets an American newspaperman (Gregory Peck) who pretends ignorance of her true identity, in the hopes of obtaining an exclusive story. Naturally, his plan falters as they inevitably fall in love.”

Interesting background info. Hepburn plays a royal daughter in the movie. In real life, she was the daughter of a Dutch baroness and a British international businessman. The family lived variously in the East Indies, Belgium, The Netherlands, and London. Hepburn was famous for her distinctive aristocratic accent.

According to IMDb, Gregory Peck, depressed over his impending divorce from his first wife, while shooting the movie in Rome met, fell in love with, and ultimately married his second wife, Veronique Passani Peck. The couple remained together for the rest of their lives.

In a daring and expensive move unusual for the time, “Roman Holiday” was shot on location in Italy. The black-and-white cinematography is wonderful, featuring shots with many famous vistas, including St. Peter’s Square, the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, the Ponte Sant’Angelo, The Colosseum, the Forum, the Piazza del Popolo, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, the Via Della Rotonda, and the Trevi Fountain.

The script was written by Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted because of the McCarthy hearings around the time of the film’s release. Consequently, his name was removed from the credits. The latest restored version of the film has reinstated Trumbo’s name as the story writer and screenplay writer.    

Why I recommend this movie. Yes, this is a romantic comedy. But for Valentine’s Day, what else would you want? This one may be the best of all time.


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