Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Roman Holiday (1953). Not even a quibble


slaytonf
 Share

Recommended Posts

For a moment, I considered titling this thread 'The Flaw in Roman Holiday.'  But the thought that it might cause even the smallest wrinkle of dismay to cross Audrey Hepburn's brow made me hesitate.  No, you can't say this charming, airy romance has anything to criticize about it.  Normally I don't go for this kind of movie, but William Wyler, our country's best director ever, whipped up such a wonderful, frothy confection, that's it's impossible not to fall in love with it.  He had a lot of good material to work with.  Foremost, of course, was Audrey Hepburn, that most gracious and graceful of actresses.  Her sparkle, her artlessness, her sweetness would be enough to conjure even the sourest personality.  She even had an effect on Gregory Peck, the coat hanger in his jacket seeming to be of plastic, instead of wood.  The ancient city itself has a starring role, captured by two great cinematographers working with him, Henri Alekan (Beauty and the Beast 1946, Wings of Desire 1987), and Franz Planer (The Nun's Story 1959, The Children's Hour 1961).  Dalton Trumbo wrote the script, along with John Dighton (Kind Hearts and Coronets 1949, The Man in the White Suit 1951).  So there's nothing to find fault with.

 

But there is something.  It's not even a quibble, really.  Just a thought.  When they--Ann, Joe, and Irving--are standing by the wall covered with plaques, and make plans to go dancing on the barges that night, it's still no later than mid-afternoon.  What I wonder is what happened in the intervening hours?  It seems a big leap to make.  Now I know time is one of the most elastic elements in movies, and it's possible to have a scene take place in the dead of night, and the next moment people walk outside to meet the breaking dawn.  But might not Wyler and the others have come up with a mini-interlude to bridge the gap?  Not that it would make the movie any better, or fix something.  Just make it possible to enjoy it a little longer.

 

Roman Holiday.  Tuesday, March, 28th.  11:45 a. m., Pacific Daylight Time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a moment, I considered titling this thread 'The Flaw in Roman Holiday.'  But the thought that it might cause even the smallest wrinkle of dismay to cross Audrey Hepburn's brow made me hesitate.  No, you can't say this charming, airy romance has anything to criticize about it.  Normally I don't go for this kind of movie, but William Wyler, our country's best director ever, whipped up such a wonderful, frothy confection, that's it's impossible not to fall in love with it.  He had a lot of good material to work with.  Foremost, of course, was Audrey Hepburn, that most gracious and graceful of actresses.  Her sparkle, her artlessness, her sweetness would be enough to conjure even the sourest personality.  She even had an effect on Gregory Peck, the coat hanger in his jacket seeming to be of plastic, instead of wood.  The ancient city itself has a starring role, captured by two great cinematographers working with him, Henri Alekan (Beauty and the Beast 1946, Wings of Desire 1987), and Franz Planer (The Nun's Story 1959, The Children's Hour 1961).  Dalton Trumbo wrote the script, along with John Dighton (Kind Hearts and Coronets 1949, The Man in the White Suit 1951).  So there's nothing to find fault with.

 

But there is something.  It's not even a quibble, really.  Just a thought.  When they--Ann, Joe, and Irving--are standing by the wall covered with plaques, and make plans to go dancing on the barges that night, it's still no later than mid-afternoon.  What I wonder is what happened in the intervening hours?  It seems a big leap to make.  Now I know time is one of the most elastic elements in movies, and it's possible to have a scene take place in the dead of night, and the next moment people walk outside to meet the breaking dawn.  But might not Wyler and the others have come up with a mini-interlude to bridge the gap?  Not that it would make the movie any better, or fix something.  Just make it possible to enjoy it a little longer.

 

Roman Holiday.  Tuesday, March, 28th.  11:45 a. m., Pacific Daylight Time.

Is it really a budding romance between Peck and Hepburn, in the traditional sense?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't find it all that HARD not to fall in love with.

 

Nice movie, sure.  But not the "great" romance flick a lot of people try to make it out as.  But then again....

 

I've never understood nor fallen prey to the "allure" of Audrey Hepburn.  It's long been MHO that her cloy, sticky sweetness was both overplayed and rated.  A competent enough actress, she really didn't NEED that kind of hype to find good roles and put in a satisfying performance.  I think both Hollywood and her fans did her  great disservice forcing and holding her in that pidgeonhole.

 

 

Sepiatone

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a moment, I considered titling this thread 'The Flaw in Roman Holiday.'  But the thought that it might cause even the smallest wrinkle of dismay to cross Audrey Hepburn's brow made me hesitate.  No, you can't say this charming, airy romance has anything to criticize about it.  Normally I don't go for this kind of movie, but William Wyler, our country's best director ever, whipped up such a wonderful, frothy confection, that's it's impossible not to fall in love with it.  He had a lot of good material to work with.  Foremost, of course, was Audrey Hepburn, that most gracious and graceful of actresses.  Her sparkle, her artlessness, her sweetness would be enough to conjure even the sourest personality.  She even had an effect on Gregory Peck, the coat hanger in his jacket seeming to be of plastic, instead of wood.  The ancient city itself has a starring role, captured by two great cinematographers working with him, Henri Alekan (Beauty and the Beast 1946, Wings of Desire 1987), and Franz Planer (The Nun's Story 1959, The Children's Hour 1961).  Dalton Trumbo wrote the script, along with John Dighton (Kind Hearts and Coronets 1949, The Man in the White Suit 1951).  So there's nothing to find fault with.

 

But there is something.  It's not even a quibble, really.  Just a thought.  When they--Ann, Joe, and Irving--are standing by the wall covered with plaques, and make plans to go dancing on the barges that night, it's still no later than mid-afternoon.  What I wonder is what happened in the intervening hours?  It seems a big leap to make.  Now I know time is one of the most elastic elements in movies, and it's possible to have a scene take place in the dead of night, and the next moment people walk outside to meet the breaking dawn.  But might not Wyler and the others have come up with a mini-interlude to bridge the gap?  Not that it would make the movie any better, or fix something.  Just make it possible to enjoy it a little longer.

 

Roman Holiday.  Tuesday, March, 28th.  11:45 a. m., Pacific Daylight Time.

 

 

Yes, there is a bit of a jump there. I've noticed that before. Maybe they just went to have dinner or something (and Irving left for his "big development") or maybe Wyler felt the travelogue section was long enough and cut something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't find it all that HARD not to fall in love with.

 

Nice movie, sure.  But not the "great" romance flick a lot of people try to make it out as.  But then again....

 

I've never understood nor fallen prey to the "allure" of Audrey Hepburn.  It's long been MHO that her cloy, sticky sweetness was both overplayed and rated.  A competent enough actress, she really didn't NEED that kind of hype to find good roles and put in a satisfying performance.  I think both Hollywood and her fans did her  great disservice forcing and holding her in that pidgeonhole.

 

 

Sepiatone

The only performer put into a "pidgeonhole" was Walter Pidgeon.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, there is a bit of a jump there. I've noticed that before. Maybe they just went to have dinner or something (and Irving for his "big development") or maybe Wyler felt the travelogue section was long enough and cut something.

 

They did what my Italian relatives often do in the afternoon;  they took a nap.

 

This way they are rested for the evening which doesn't start until 10 PM.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Roman Holiday" is one of two 1950s films that I wish had been filmed in color. The other: "The Devil's Disciple" (1959), starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Sir Laurence Olivier.

 

 

 

Yes, it's a shame. Wyler agreed to it to keep costs down to be allowed to film on location.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw this just a few years ago for the first time. I was not an especially avid Audrey fan. I had seen her in Breakfast and Nun and was duly in favor of her but that didn't prepare me for what I what I saw in Roman. I was bowled over. I remember thinking what it would have been like to walk in the theater at that time and see this flimsy little person on the screen for the first time. I think she had done something before but this was (I believe) her first real outing. I'm still not a great fan but count me among those who second all the superlatives that are said about her in Roman. I don't remember her acting exactly but just showing up did it for me.

 

I remember liking the bookends. The long middle part that is dominated by The Eternal City seemed forced and I didn't feel that Gregory was particularly adept at comedy. In the early part of the film I remember Audrey striding across the room in a towel. The Press Conference that wrapped it all up was best. "I should like to speak to the ladies and gentlemen of the press." They didn't rush it. She graciously took her time (thank you, movie) and I am grateful that when she finally reached the newspaperman, neither said anything. Did I read somewhere that the English aristocrats would have disapproved if they had done so?

 

//

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Slayton,

 

Dont they get into a horse drawn carriage at the Wall of Wishes? Maybe they toured the city for a few hours before hitting the Tiber..

 

HEY, I just thought o' somethin' here!

 

Were there perchance any bowling alleys in Rome at the time? I mean, bowling sure took off in early-'50s here in the STATES anyway.

 

And so if there WERE, maybe THAT'S how they killed a few hours during that time? And MAYBE Wyler just left that footage on the cutting room floor? Yeah, maybe Greg or Audrey, OR maybe BOTH of 'em sucked so bad at bowling and threw so many into the gutter that Wyler decided not to show that in his finished product?

 

(...okay, okay...maybe not...it was just a thought) ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Slayton,

 

Dont they get into a horse drawn carriage at the Wall of Wishes? Maybe they toured the city for a few hours before hitting the Tiber..

 

 

Just watched the movie again.  My time sense about the events of the movie were wrong.  From a line Princess Ann says when she leaves Joe Bradley's apartment at the beginning of her day, it's already 1:30 in the afternoon.  So considering all their adventures, maybe it's not so great a jump from the Wall of Wishes to dancing on the barges.  It was the quick transition from daylight to night that seemed a discontinuity to me.

 

I remember liking the bookends. The long middle part that is dominated by The Eternal City seemed forced and I didn't feel that Gregory was particularly adept at comedy. In the early part of the film I remember Audrey striding across the room in a towel. The Press Conference that wrapped it all up was best. "I should like to speak to the ladies and gentlemen of the press." They didn't rush it. She graciously took her time (thank you, movie) and I am grateful that when she finally reached the newspaperman, neither said anything. Did I read somewhere that the English aristocrats would have disapproved if they had done so?

 

//

 

Now there you are in the minority.  Not that it's bad.  I'm in the minority on a lot of things.  But most people would say the best parts of the movie are the adventures during the day.  My favorite scene is the one at the beginning where they are all three in the cafe, with Joe mangling Irving to keep him from saying too much.  The timing is just perfect.  I laugh every time I see it.

 

Is it really a budding romance between Peck and Hepburn, in the traditional sense?

 

 

No, not in the traditional sense.  Nobody realizes it's a romantic comedy, even Ann and Joe, until the end.

 

And for all those for whom Roman Holiday doesn't put into a muzzy trance, well, all I can say is that I regret your loss.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just watched the movie again.  My time sense about the events of the movie were wrong.  From a line Princess Ann says when she leaves Joe Bradley's apartment at the beginning of her day, it's already 1:30 in the afternoon.  So considering all their adventures, maybe it's not so great a jump from the Wall of Wishes to dancing on the barges.  It was the quick transition from daylight to night that seemed a discontinuity to me.

 

 

Now there you are in the minority.  Not that it's bad.  I'm in the minority on a lot of things.  But most people would say the best parts of the movie are the adventures during the day.  My favorite scene is the one at the beginning where they are all three in the cafe, with Joe mangling Irving to keep him from saying too much.  The timing is just perfect.  I laugh every time I see it.

 

 

 

No, not in the traditional sense.  Nobody realizes it's a romantic comedy, even Ann and Joe, until the end.

 

And for all those for whom Roman Holiday doesn't put into a muzzy trance, well, all I can say is that I regret your loss.

No actress has ever made a greater impression in her first major role as Audrey did in this film.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just watched the movie again.  My time sense about the events of the movie were wrong.  From a line Princess Ann says when she leaves Joe Bradley's apartment at the beginning of her day, it's already 1:30 in the afternoon.  So considering all their adventures, maybe it's not so great a jump from the Wall of Wishes to dancing on the barges.  It was the quick transition from daylight to night that seemed a discontinuity to me.

 

 

Now there you are in the minority.  Not that it's bad.  I'm in the minority on a lot of things.  But most people would say the best parts of the movie are the adventures during the day.  My favorite scene is the one at the beginning where they are all three in the cafe, with Joe mangling Irving to keep him from saying too much.  The timing is just perfect.  I laugh every time I see it.

 

 

 

No, not in the traditional sense.  Nobody realizes it's a romantic comedy, even Ann and Joe, until the end.

 

And for all those for whom Roman Holiday doesn't put into a muzzy trance, well, all I can say is that I regret your loss.

 

 

Yes.  Wasnt it around noon when Peck woke up (oversleeping the press conference)? So it must've been late afternoon by the time of the wall (hadnt really given it much thought until this discussion). But it does seem like something is missing there after they go for the carriage ride. Possibly it was just some dialogue as Peck and Audrey drove around that Wyler decided to cut to keep the running time down to 2 hours...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...