Movies, Pop Culture and the Arts, Special Projects, The Ultime Oscars Project

Roman Holiday (1953)

Since I recently found out that Breakfast of Tiffany’s (the only Hepburn movie I was able to watch) is celebrating its 50th year of release, I dig unto my DVD collection and decided to watch it again.

So I watched more Hepburn movies because, well, I have no other things to do (e.g. life). Also, I just remembered that more than two years ago, I wrote about starting a new project which included reviewing old movies. Do you know how many old movies I have already watched in the past two years? Plenty. Do you know how many I’ve ACTUALLY reviewed and posted here? None. After two freakin years.

Since I have no life to talk about here anymore on my blog, I now write less compared to this blog’s earlier years. So to keep the ball rolling (and to feel good about the $$ I pay for this blog’s hosting), I’ll TRY to resurrect (no, I think the proper word is START) the old movie review project.

Since I already have the Audrey Hepburn DVD on my player, I’m going to start with Hepburn movies.

The first flick I’m going to review is William Wyler’s Roman Holiday. I chose this because Gregory Peck’s on it.

Let’s start.

Roman Holiday (1953)
Directed by William Wyler
Starring: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert
Genre: romcom

Princess Anne (the ever gorgeous Audrey Hepburn), a royalty from an undisclosed country, was touring some cities in Europe, being royal and official and all (read: she’s told what to do everytime which implied that she’s not really having a good time). Her schedule was so restricted and limited, and everything she’s going to say and do was regimented.

One night, while in Rome, she’s had enough. She sneaked out of the extravagant palace (or that really nice place where royalties stay when in Rome). This actually happened while she was induced with what seemed to be a sleeping ‘shot’. I’ve tried that, it’s not easy. But enough about me.

While almost-sleeping on a public bench, Anne was found by American journalist Joe Bradley (also the ever gorgeous Gregory Peck). Not realizing that the girl was in fact THE Princess Anne, Joe tried to get rid of her by constantly asking her where she’s going. Anne always answer “The Colosseum” but Joe figured out that maybe she’s lying.

Not wanting to leave her alone, Joe took her to his apartment where he allowed the princess to doze off. The next morning, Joe saw a newspaper with the princess’s face on it and he realized that the girl on his apartment was Anne, and he then promised his editor for an exclusive interview (who wouldn’t right?).

When Anne woke up, Joe pretended not to know her (she called herself ‘Anya’). One thing led to the other and the two, with photographer Irving (Eddie Albert) were having a blast in Rome. And by ‘blast’, I mean Anne and Joe kinda fell in love.

Sure, we’ve all seen the storyline – a royalty falls in love with a commoner and yadah yadah. It’s basically a fairy tale. Roman Holiday is no different. In contemporary era, I’d say the story reminds me of Chasing Liberty, Notting Hill and just about the majority of Disney princess fairy tales. I would also like to compare it to First Daughter, but I forgot how that went (I can only remember the ending).

Roman Holiday is a very charming movie. The black and white format paired with the lovely setting (ROME!), you have yourself a movie you want to watch cuddling someone. Also, don’t expect for a laugh-out-loud comedy. There might be a chuckles every now and then, though. But that does not mean that the movie is less entertaining.

Maybe what made this movie work are the characters and the actors. I was very amused with the Italian ‘extras’ – the taxi driver, the barber, Joe’s landlords and the dude who kissed Audrey at one point. They were very funny and amusing but did not at all overdo being hilarious.

From what I’ve read I found out that this is Audrey’s first starring role, and she won bunch of awards for it. I’m not surprised at all. She’s very elegant onscreen, perfect for a princess. The former part of the movie (pre-Joe parts), she was sporting long locks (which she later had cut). She oftentimes remind me of Scarlet O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) in Gone with the Wind (pre-marriages parts). They look a like a little.

In fact, she’s my favorite part of the movie – well, Hepburn AND Princess Anne. I love how the character evolved – starting off as a childish little princess, and transforming into an elegant lady.

And Gregory Peck?

I’ve watched him on To Kill A Mockingbird and that’s a serious movie. In Roman Holiday, he played a light character who was very very charming (I’m using the word charming a lot, am I?). I love the chemistry between him and Audrey. And I also love it when he spoke Italian. Oh, I just love him! Did I mention that I love him?

What separates the Roman Holiday from some Disney fairytale was the ending (hint hint!) I can’t really reveal very much without giving away how the movie ended. But it’s fresh and also…. no, I’m going to stop there.

Imagine this: most parts of the movie were practically fairytale material- an impossibility (is that a word?). Well, it’s not everyday you meet a royalty – and to actually have that royalty fall in love with you, right? Then as Roman Holiday approach its end, and when you least expected it… BOOM! The real world smacks you right in the face. You’d be like ‘Whoa. What happened?”.

But all was well.

Maybe I should watch First Daughter again.

October 8, 2011