Roman Holiday is a 1953 romantic comedy film directed & produced by William Wyler (Funny Girl, Ben-Hur, The Big Country, & The Desperate Hours). It was written by Dalton Trumbo (Papillon, The Horsemen, Spartacus, & Johnny Got His Gun), Ian McLellan Hunter (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Eye Witness, & The Adventures of Robin Hood), & John Dighton (The Devil’s Disciple, Champagne Charlie, & The Next of Kin). It was produced by Robert Wyler (Detective Story, The Heiress, & Anybody Here Seen Kelly?). It was nominated for 10 Oscars & it won 3. The budget was $1.5 million & it grossed $12 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
Ann (played by: Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My Fair Lady, Charade, & Sabrina), a crown princess from an unnamed European nation is on a state visit to Rome. She becomes frustrated with her tightly scheduled life & secretly leaves her country’s embassy. The delayed effect of a sedative makes her fall asleep on a bench, where Joe Bradley (played by: Gregory Peck from The Omen, Cape Fear, To Kill a Mockingbird, & How the West Was Won), an expatriate reporter for the “American News Service” finds her without recognizing who she is. Thinking that she is intoxicated, Joe lets her spend the night in his apartment. The next morning, Joe gives his editor, Mr. Hennessy (played by: Hartley Power from Island in the Sun, Dead of Night, & Living Dangerously) false details of his attendance at the princess’ press conference. When Hennessy informs him that the event had been cancelled & shows him a news item about the princess’ “sudden illness”.
He realizes who is asleep in his apartment. Seeing an opportunity, Joe privately calls his photographer friend Irving Radovich (played by: Eddie Albert from Spider-Man: The Animated Series, The Twilight Zone, & Green Acres) to ask him to secretly take pictures. Hennessy offers to pay $5000 for the article & exclusive interview with the princess. He bets Joe $500 that he won’t be able to get it. She leaves his place to enjoy her newfound freedom. Joe follows & “accidentally” meets Ann on the Spanish Steps. This time, he convinces her to spend the day with him. That night, at a dance on a boat that her barber had invited her to, government agents called in by the embassy spot Ann & try to forcibly take her away. Joe, Irving, & the barber rush in to save her from the abductors. Joe is falls into the river & Ann jumps in to save him. They swim across & kiss as they sit shivering on the riverbank. Both of them are still hiding their true identities from each other. What will happen next for the two strangers????
Roman Holiday is one of the best romantic comedies & films from the 50’s of all time. You fall in love with Ann just like Joe is in the movie. Audrey Hepburn gives a performance of a lifetime in Roman Holiday & she definitely deserved winning the Oscar for this role. Audrey Hepburn was so classy & beautiful, a true leading lady when it came to Hollywood. I love the innocence of her character. She discovers so much about herself in a such short amount of time. She had a few small roles before this but nothing major. This is one of the greatest debuts ever when it comes to movies. Gregory Peck honestly never gave a bad performance in his entire career & he was a great counterpart to Hepburn in this. The con man that falls for his work. Their chemistry is one of the greatest love connections in cinema history. The supporting cast was really good but the two leads just brought everything to a whole new level. You couldn’t keep your eyes off them & it just building up as time went on. I’ve always heard about this one but I didn’t check it out until I got this brand new Paramount Presents release. I was sleeping on it & I hope others will give it more attention after this home video resurrection. They try so hard in the sub-genre but this one was effortless & felt so natural with everything. After all these years, it still holds up. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Paramount Pictures! This 1080p (1.37:1) transfer is from a brand new 4K restoration. I’ve always said it but I think Black & White feature look amazing in HD. I did a little research & compared this new version to the past home video releases, this one blows them all away! This is the best it’s ever looked anywhere. It’s loaded with a variety of audio options which includes English: Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Mono, German: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, Italian: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, & Japanese: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the release. This one sounds great especially for being so old but don’t expect it to rock your speakers or anything like that because it’s not that type of film. All of the dialogue is crystal clear & the music has a nice boost to it. It had a huge variety of subtitles that includes English, English SDH, French, German, German SDH, Japanese, Spanish, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Swedish, & Thai. Very impressed, this is a top notch technical home video release from Paramount!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features from Paramount Pictures! Just a warning, a few extras from the previous release are not on here so you might want to hold on to it but this blu ray is still loaded with all kinds of bonus material. “Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on Roman Holiday” is almost 7 minutes & it’s exclusive to this release. The famous critic & know historian drops all kinds of knowledge about Roman Holiday. He covers the director & the two leads. He tells a few stories & goes over some facts about the production. “Behind The Gates: Costumes” is a little over 5 minutes. This shows some of Paramount’s most famous clothes, outfits, & props from their long history in movies. “Rome With A Princess” is almost 9 minutes. It goes over various locations for the classic film. It has clips & lots of information about the subject here. “Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years” is almost 30 minutes. This is a mini documentary about the legendary actress & her films with Paramount Pictures. They go over her beginnings & early life before acting. They chat about her amazing debut in Roman Holiday & how she was the Oscar for it. They talk about Sabrina & some of her other projects at the studio. They go over the legacy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Lots of information about that production here. They discuss her look, fashion, broadway, & her relationships. This is a great inside look into Hepburn’s career at the studio plus her personal life during it. “Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist” is almost 12 minutes. It has interviews with friends, collaborators, & people who knew the infamous screen writer. They chat about the man, writer, & the person who didn’t back down in Hollywood. They go over his work & the trouble that he got into during the black list. “Paramount In The ’50s” is a little over 9 minutes. This feature focuses on Paramount Pictures greatest films & moments from the 50’s including this one. “Remembering Audrey” is a little over 12 minutes. It has interviews with her family. They go over her career a little bit but they mainly talk about her as a person. They bring up how humble she was. She never thought high of herself. She didn’t watch her own movies. They chat about how normal she was & she always thought she could do better even after all the praise she got. 3 different “Trailers” for Roman’s Holiday. 4 different “Image Galleries” which includes Production, The Movie, Publicity, & The Premiere. Paramount Presents releases always have amazing packaging. This has a fold out slipcover with poster, clear case with additional artwork/photos, & a digital code. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!