Friday, 27 July 2012

Roman Holiday (1953)

 After coincidentally watching Breakfast at Tiffany's last Thursday night, and Roman Holiday a week later, Thursday is old school night, unless a better offer comes along. I'd have gone with something more alliterative like Old School Sunday, but that would have required some basic level of planning this.

Anyway, Roman Holiday. Another Audrey Hepburn comedy/drama in which she plays a rather timid and slightly quirky character that exudes charm. You get the feeling that she was such a beguiling person that it wasn't feasible for her to play someone as equally smooth and delightful.That's not to say she wasn't a good actress either, she fully deserved the Academy Award she took away from this film, just that she was very, very good at creating a certain image.

Hepburn stars alongside Gregory Peck (of Atticus Finch fame) as the two spend a day out in Rome after a chance meeting brought about by some rather unethical administration of hard drugs. It's a relationship built on two major lies though: Princess Anne does not let on that she's royalty who just wants to experience a normal life, and Joe Bradley tells her he's a salesman when in fact he's a journalist who has twigged who she is and is after a scandalous scoop. My only criticism of the film is really that these two deceptions seem to be treated on the same level, when one's rather innocent and the other pretty underhanded.

Once you get past the things that anchor the film in its time (the lack of colour, the frankly distracting 4:3 ratio and the mono sound) you do get a film that's obviously a labour of love and application of craft. Even without the brilliance that colour can add to a location, Rome leaps off the screen and embodies the magical effect that a simple day trip with the right people can have.

Plus, it's got what has to be one of my favourite 'no context' lines in a while "It's always open season on princesses".

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