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Roman Holiday

During our recent trip to Rome, one of our guides said that tourism from America really exploded after the 1953 film ROMAN HOLIDAY became a huge hit.

Watching Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck cavort around the Eternal City for two hours undoubtedly serves as a fantastic commercial for everything great about Roma. The wine, the history, the clothes, the women, the Vespas!

Old Hollywood doesn't get more polished than William Wyler's enjoyable love story. This was Hepburn's first starring role and she is alluring perfection as young Princess Ann. On an endless goodwill tour across Europe, she's bored and tired playing by all the rules of royalty. Sneaking out of the palace, she finds herself falling in love with an everyday life, away from all the castle trappings.

American Reporter Joe Bradley (Peck) finds her lounging on a bench and rescues her, taking her back to his apartment. He had no idea that a princess is asleep in his bed while he takes the couch (this is 1953 after all) until a story starts to leak that the Princess is ill and cancelling all her engagements.

In reality, the Royals are bringing in all their best agents to find her, wherever she's escaped to!

When Joe realizes that its the princess in his apartment, Peck nails big laughs as he juggles a desire to protect her while possibly getting the biggest exclusive headline of his career. Eddie Albert absolutely nails his hilarious supporting role as Joe's photographer buddy Irving. He's impossibly young and his comic timing really surprised me. It's easy to forget that he and Peck were ever this young!

Hepburn is stunning and delivers a great performance, she's as funny as she is charming. She's also a very bad driver, but when DO Princesses learn to ride Vespas?

Dalton Trumbo (Spartacus, Papillon) won an Oscar for his screenplay.

When filming was complete, Peck pulled aside Wyler and told him to put Hepburn's name above the title on the posters and the main titles, because she was going to win an Oscar. She did, earning Best Actress in her first major film role.

Filmed on location, ROMAN HOLIDAY is old fashioned perfection, a classic that surely inspired "What's Up, Doc?" in the 70's.

Celebrating it's 70th anniversary next month, August 2023, ROMAN HOLIDAY is just as enjoyable as the day it was released, earning an appreciative A.

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