Princess Ann, Roman Holiday: “I’ve never been alone with a man before, even with my dress on. With my dress off, it’s MOST unusual.”
I fell in love with Audrey Hepburn when I was a little girl. There is nobody else like her. She was not the best actress (not that she was bad either), but she had a natural, striking beauty and charisma. She became, and still is, a style icon. Everybody says ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’ when naming their favourite Audrey film, but mine has always been Roman Holiday.
Directed by William Wyler in 1953, Roman Holiday was the match that lit the flame of my obsession with Italy and all things Italian.
Audrey plays Princess Ann. She is young and evidently fed up with carrying out royal duties. Ann wishes to engage with real people and experience the daily occurrences ordinary people take for granted.
Gregory Peck is incredibly handsome in this film and his natural stoicism is perfect for his role as Joe Bradley, the American News Correspondent based in Rome.
Princess Ann escapes one night and is found by Joe, who, realising who she is, thinks he will end up with a superb exclusive story on the young royal. However, things take a rather different turn.
When you consider the movies around in this era, most of them have the Hollywood ‘happy ending’. Without spoiling it for newcomers, I will only say that Roman Holiday was ahead of its time in that regard and that makes the ending more powerful for it.
Roman Holiday is for lovers of retro clothing and scooters, travel, Italy, romance and charm. If you haven’t seen it before, light the candles, grab a glass of prosecco and watch it with your best friends.
Princess Margaret was so taken with Audrey Hepburn in this film that she reportedly said “why, she could almost certainly be one of us”
The scene with the Bocca della Verita was adlibbed by Gregory Peck, hence Audrey’s reaction is genuine
Roman Holiday was almost directed by Frank Capra (of It’s a Wonderful Life) with Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor as the leads
Roman Holiday was the first American film to be shot entirely in Italy
The film was shot in black and white because William Wyler did not want to detract from the beauty of Rome