S T O R Y.....G L I T T E R S,......O N E....O F....M O V I
Patricia | Queens, New York, USA | 09/01/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ROMAN HOLIDAY is a spectacularly romantic, wonderfully well-acted movie. It is styled a "comedy", but could also be a styled a tragedy.
It is the story of Princess Ann, (AUDREY HEPBURN), from an un-named European country, (always called "her country" in the movie), who finds her duties boring and irksome in the extreme. (The beginning scenes, wherein the Princess loses her shoe, and is forced to dance with perhaps the most boring selection of fictional diplomats ever assembled for any movie -- are priceless!) Finally, in the early evening hours, she finds a way to sneak out of her country's embassy, (where she is sting during a good will visit to Rome), and see the "real" world.....
A naive, (but intelligent) Princess, finding her way into the "real" world for the first time, could have wound up in a lot of trouble. She had no money with her, (royalty never carries money -- leaving that to underlings to do), and to top things off, she had been given a sleeping potion, the delayed action of which starts to work just as she hops off the truck that took her out of the embassy, and finds a seat near a Roman fountain. Kidnapping, white slavery, ransom holding....any number of terrible things might have come to the runaway princes -- but, (luckily!), she is found by American newsman-in-Rome, Joe Bradley, (GREGORY PECK), who, after some deliberation, takes her to his small apartment to shelter for the night. Joe is preplexed by this beautiful girl's seeming contradictions, (she is well-dressed, well-educated -- yet he found her on the streets alone). Later, going to his boss, he discovers, (from a newspaper story of the Princess's sudden "illness" -- and the photo that accompanies it), that the girl he has found is actualy the "ill" princess, (the "illness" obviously being a cover story, to explain her disappearance from a group interview she was supposed to give the press earlier in the day.) Smelling an exclusive -- and a way to get out of Rome, and back to where he wants to be, (New York City), Joe calls up his photographer-friend, Irving Radovitch, (EDDIE ALBERT), and the two of them make plans for "the story of the year" -- if not the decade, about the REAL Princess Ann, disclosing her innermost secrets and desires.....
The princess meets Joe's rather insensed landlady, a kindly barber, some street vendors, dances at a local festival -- and has a fateful meeting with some "men in black" from her country. As these events go on, she and Joe find they are beginning to care very much for each other.........
Cary Grant was orignally supposed to play the part of Joe Bradley, and many people seem to think he would have been perfect for it. I must strongly disagree. Mr. Grant -- whatever type of person he was in real life -- had a screen persona of the very slightest rakish kind. Gregory Peck, however, had a screen persona of, (usually), total and complete integrity -- and I feel that this is what was needed in the role of Joe Bradley, a newspaperman longing to go back home, desperately needing the funds to do so, but who finds that he simply cannot do so, for to earn this money, he would have to betray the woman he has come to love, and love very much.... For me, Gregory Peck -- later the sterling "Atticus Finch" of 'To Kill A Mockingbird', and the stalwart hero of so many other films -- fit the role of 'Joe Bradley', to a tee. A role-model for all men to look up to, (and all women to swoon over! -- sigh!)
It is said that this movie was inspired by the tragic Princess Margaret-Peter Townsend affair. Also, it is said that this movie
was John F. Kennedy's favourite film, and it is easy to see why. His first true love was the beautiful actress, GENE TIERNEY. As both were rich, beautiful, and Catholic, one would think it would be a match of which both families would approve. Unhappily, Ms. Tierney's family, (very conservative French Catholics), did not think that Mr. Kennedy, (Irish-Catholic), was good enough for her (!), and so they had to part. In a much later interview, (near the end of her life), on the Phil Donahue show, Ms. Hepburn was asked which of her movies was her favourite. "Roman Holiday", she said without hesitation, and the audience seemed to agree with her. This exchange was edited out of the later showings of this program -- and I cannot think why. "Roman Holiday" WAS Audrey Hepburn at her luminous, and most beautiful best. One could say she was BORN to play this role, as she was, in actuality, the daughter of a Belgian baroness. Many, many people agree that this is Audrey Hepburn's best movie. I am one of them!