"I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live." (Princess Ann)
About a month ago, I promised to start reviewing films with Audrey Hepburn starring or at least performing a supporting role. Although much time has passed, I am eager to keep my promise, and I am beginning with a great romantic comedy, Audrey's first major movie, 'Roman Holiday', directed by William Wyler. Yes, that William Wyler who also made 'Ben-Hur' (1959) and 'The Best Years of Our Lives' (1946). Nevertheless, the motion picture under consideration is not so long and not so epic, but very sweet and pleasing.
Princess Ann (Hepburn) is surrounded by the crowds of high-ranking people and relentless obligations of her own, before her people, royal family, and country. Naturally, every clear-cut day leads her to boredom and hysterical fits, as her heart reaches for the sky: normal life of freedom and joy... Once, in Rome, she manages to escape from her legal warders and finds herself in the charming-for-the-princess world of ordinary people, where she meets the journalist Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) and his friend photographer Irving Radovich (Eddie Albert), who successfully conceal their professions from the runaway blue-blood youngster, hoping to have a hand in a sensation to pay their bills.
The first American film, shot entirely in Italy, amazes with the variety of locations and energy of the Eternal City, which make many funny situations happen. In this film, there are scenes for laughter and there are moments for tears. From the very beginning, we see a fun story, presented in a smile-provoking way, but in a minute the situation may change and what we see is a poor girl entrapped in an artificially beautiful palace. One of the most interesting scenes takes place near the wall on which the inhabitants of the city on seven hills hang plates, when their dreams come true. At that time Ann's wistful face displays much more than if she said a tirade.
'Roman Holiday' is an amazing bittersweet romantic comedy that was one of the best rendering a journalist-in-love dilemma, what we saw in 'It Happened One Night' and what we saw in some recent not so good films. However, this film combines great light humor and impressive casting, which leads to an extra thought. Due to Wyler's wish to make the movie in Italy, they had to cast an unknown actress for a leading role in order to meet expenses. That's how and why the star of Audrey Hepburn was born, and only for the better of the silver screen.
Rating: 5 stars (see what that means)
What did you think of the film? How would you rate it? Any other thoughts are more than welcome.