William Wyler’s 1953 classic “The Roman holiday”comes as a pleasant delight for people who have a fetish for rom-com movies. Roman holiday exudes an adorable romance between a princess (Audrey Hepburn) and a press correspondent Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) in the backdrop of a picturesque Rome. Here is what the movie has to offer to us..
Tired by her extremely claustrophobic ,overprotective and “under the scanner” lifestyle Princess Anne runs away from her palace in the desire of doing what she always wanted to do. Exhausted and drowsy, she dozes off on a park bench somewhere in middle of Rome. Joe Bradley encounters the sleeping princess and takes her to his apartment for safety reasons where she spends the night in his room. Joe Bradely believes her to be a drunken girl and treats her roughly until he discovers that she is the Royal Highness, Princess Ann who was apparently taken ill last night.
Joe Bradely, accompanies the princess on her “once in a lifetime” outing with the furtive motive of taking an exclusive interview which he had promised to his boss for an extravagant sum of 5000 dollars. His friend, Iriving, a photographer joins him and photographs the princess from his deceptive cigarette lighter camera. Ann frolics in the streets of Rome, enjoying her fairy tale, incognito under the name “Anya”. As Ann and Joe spend more time together, his affection for her grows and desire for the extravagant reward wanes off. When her fairy tale finally comes to an end, Ann is caught between her love for Joe Bradely and her royal duties. Contrary to the viewer’s predictions, Joe and Ann seal their romance with a smile and she walks off into her palace, wiser and more sensible
“Princess Ann: I have to leave you now. I’m going to that corner there and turn. You must stay in the car and drive away. Promise not to watch me go beyond the corner. Just drive away and leave me as I leave you.
Joe Bradley: All right.
Princess Ann: I don’t know how to say goodbye. I can’t think of any words.
Joe Bradley: Don’t try. ”
And subtly shows the coming of age of the princess-
“Princess Ann: Your Excellency, I trust you will not find it necessary to use that word again. Were I not completely aware of my duty to my family and to my country, I would not have come back tonight… or indeed ever again!”
Later in the press conference, Ann is stunned seeing Joe and Irving standing with the press. In lieu of selling the photographs for money, Iriving gifts them to Ann and Joe conveys to her that her secret is safe with them. Ann expresses her love and gratitude towards Joe implicitly in her generalized speech and leaves the conference. Joe lingers around the hall for a while and leaves us with tearful eyes and overwhelming surge of empathy.
“Roman Holiday” is subtle, classy and elegant. Audrey Hepburn’s innocence and Joe Bradley’smagnetism weaves together a beautiful story of love without any intimation of vulgarity. There are moments when we are amused as well as attracted to the naivety of Audrey Hepburn. Her slender,delicate body compliments to that of the character of Anne. Gregory Peck’s charming voice and killing looks keep our eyes riveted on him. Though Gregory Peck has a notable screen presence, Audrey Hepburn steals the show and overpowers him throughout their shared screen space.
A splendid storyline, not pushed too far, realistic and simple,lays the foundation for this all-time classic movie. Topped with a top notch cast and a picturesque milieu- what else can anyone ask for?
This movie surely goes into the “must watch list” as it offers to us , the best cast, the best setting and the most colourful yet heart-breaking tale of classic love written in the times of “black and white”.