Promotional poster for reissue
|Directed by||William Wyler|
|Produced by||William Wyler|
|Story by||Dalton Trumbo|
|Edited by||Robert Swink|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$12 million|
Roman Holiday is a 1953 American romantic comedy directed and produced by William Wyler. It stars Gregory Peck as a reporter and Audrey Hepburn as a royal princess out to see Rome on her own. Hepburn won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance; the screenplay and costume design also won.
It was written by John Dighton and Dalton Trumbo, though with Trumbo on the Hollywood blacklist, he did not receive a credit; instead, Ian McLellan Hunter fronted for him. Trumbo's credit was reinstated when the film was released on DVD in 2003. On December 19, 2011, full credit for Trumbo's work was restored. Blacklisted director Bernard Vorhaus worked on the film as an assistant director under a pseudonym.
Ann (Audrey Hepburn), the crown princess of an unspecified country, has started a widely publicized tour of several European capitals. In Rome she becomes frustrated with her tightly scheduled life, and breaks down at having to repeatedly answer "yes, thank you" and "no, thank you" to demands of her time. Her doctor gives her a sedative to calm her down and help her sleep, but she secretly leaves her country's embassy.
The sedative eventually makes her fall asleep on a bench, where Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), an expatriate American reporter working for an American news service based in Rome, finds her. Not recognizing her, he offers her money so she can take a taxi home, but a very woozy "Anya Smith" (as she later calls herself) refuses to cooperate. Joe finally decides, for safety's sake, to let her spend the night in his apartment. He is amused by her regal manner, but less so when she appropriates his bed. He transfers her to a couch. The next morning, Joe, having already slept through the interview Princess Ann was scheduled to give, hurries off to work, leaving her still asleep.
When his editor, Mr. Hennessy (Hartley Power), asks why Joe is late, Joe lies, claiming to have attended the press conference for the princess. Joe makes up details of the alleged interview until Hennessy informs him that the event had been canceled because the princess had suddenly "fallen ill". Joe sees a picture of her and realizes who is in his apartment. Joe immediately sees the opportunity and proposes getting an exclusive interview for the newspaper for $5000. Hennessy, not knowing the circumstances, agrees to the deal, but bets Joe $500 that he will not succeed.
Joe hurries home and, hiding the fact that he is a reporter, offers to show Anya around Rome. He also surreptitiously calls his photographer friend, Irving Radovich (Eddie Albert), to tag along to secretly take pictures. However, Anya declines Joe's offer and leaves.
Enjoying her freedom, on a whim, Anya gets her hair cut short. Joe follows and "accidentally" meets her on the Spanish Steps. This time, he convinces her to spend the day with him. They see the sights, including the "Mouth of Truth", a face carved in marble which is said to bite off the hands of liars. When Joe pulls his hand out of the mouth, it appears to be missing, causing Anya to scream. He then pops his hand out of his sleeve and laughs. (Hepburn's shriek was not acting—Peck decided to pull a gag he had once seen Red Skelton do, and did not tell his co-star beforehand.)
Later, Anya shares with Joe her dream of living a normal life without her crushing responsibilities. That night, at a dance on a boat, government agents finally track her down and try to escort her away, but a wild melee breaks out and Joe and Anya escape. While trying to rescue her from plain clothes government agents, Joe is ambushed and falls into a river after being struck. Ann dives in to save him, and they swim away together away from the agents, finally sharing a kiss as they sit shivering on the riverbank. Later, knowing her royal responsibilities must resume, the princess bids a tearful farewell to Joe and returns to the embassy. There she is lectured upon the sense of duty she must display, but (visibly pained) retorts that without such a sense, she would never have returned.
During the course of the day, Hennessy learns that the princess is missing, not ill as claimed. He suspects that Joe knows where she is and tries to get him to admit it, but Joe claims to know nothing about it. Joe decides not to write the story, despite the considerable amount of money riding on it. Irving first plans to sell his photographs independent of the story, but eventually decides against it.
The next day, Princess Ann appears to answer questions from the press, and is surprised to find Joe and Irving there. Irving takes her picture with the same miniature cigarette-lighter/camera he had used the previous day. When asked by a reporter which city of her European tour was her favorite, Ann first makes a diplomatic "all-were-equally-good" answer, but interrupts it with an impulsive "Rome! By all means, Rome." At the end of the interview, the Princess requests to "meet" the journalists, shaking hands and making highly formal conversation. As she reaches Joe and Irving, the latter presents her with an envelope with the photographs he had taken, under the pretext of a generic memento of Rome. The three make several statements that hint at the truth and their dispositions, while feigning formality and the distance expected between the princess and two strange journalists. As the interview with the princess comes to an end, the crowd of journalists and reporters eventually disperses. Joe is left alone to ponder what might have been.
Wyler first offered the role to Hollywood favorite Cary Grant. Grant declined, believing he was too old to play Hepburn's love interest (though he played opposite her ten years later in Charade.) Other sources say Grant declined because he knew all of the attention would be centered around the princess. Peck's contract gave him solo star billing, with newcomer Hepburn listed much less prominently in the credits. Halfway through the filming, Peck suggested to Wyler that he elevate her to equal billing—an almost unheard-of gesture in Hollywood.
Wyler had initially considered Elizabeth Taylor and Jean Simmons for this role, but they were both unavailable. Wyler was very excited to find Hepburn, but he didn't choose her until after a screen test. Wyler wasn't able to stay and film this himself but told the assistant director to ask the cameraman and the soundman to continue recording after the assistant director said "cut" so that she would be seen in a relaxed state after having performed a dignified, subdued scene from the film. The candid footage won her the role; some of it was later included in the original theatrical trailer for the film, along with additional screen test footage showing Hepburn trying on some of Anya's costumes and even cutting her own hair (referring to a scene in the film). Roman Holiday was not Hepburn's first American acting job—she appeared on a 1952 CBS Television Workshop production of Rainy Day in Paradise Junction—but it was her first major role, one which introduced her to the general public.
|Eddie Albert||as Irving Radovich|
|Hartley Power||as Hennessy, Joe's editor|
|Harcourt Williams||as the Ambassador of Princess Ann's country|
|Margaret Rawlings||as Countess Vereberg, Ann's principal lady-in-waiting|
|Tullio Carminati||as General Provno|
|Paolo Carlini||as Mario Delani|
|Claudio Ermelli||as Giovanni|
|Paola Borboni||as the Charwoman|
|Laura Solari||as Secretary|
|Alfredo Rizzo||as Taxi Driver|
|Gorella Gori||as Shoe Seller|
The film earned an estimated $3 million at the North American box office during its first year of release.
In the 1970s, both Peck and Hepburn were approached with the idea of a sequel, but the project never came to fruition.
- Academy Award for Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn)
- Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White (Edith Head)
- Academy Award for Writing (Motion Picture Story) (Dalton Trumbo)*
- BAFTA Award for Best British Actress (Audrey Hepburn)
- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress — Drama (Audrey Hepburn)
- New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn)
- Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Comedy (Ian McLellan Hunter and John Dighton)
* Award was initially given to Ian McLellan Hunter, since he took story credit on blacklisted Trumbo's behalf. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences later credited the win to Trumbo. In 1993, Trumbo's widow Cleo received her late husband's award.
- Academy Award for Best Picture
- Academy Award for Best Director (William Wyler)
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Eddie Albert)
- Academy Award for Writing (Screenplay) (Ian McLellan Hunter and John Dighton)
- Academy Award for Best Art Direction (Hal Pereira & Walter H. Tyler)
- Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Franz Planer & Henri Alekan)
- Academy Award for Best Film Editing (Robert Swink)
- BAFTA Award for Best Film from any source
- BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor — (Eddie Albert)
- BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor — (Gregory Peck)
- DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (William Wyler)
American Film Institute Lists
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions - #4
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) - Nominated
- AFI's 10 Top 10 - #4 Romantic Comedy
Paramount Pictures has licensed three adaptations of Roman Holiday into musicals:
- In 2002, a musical version of Roman Holiday, following the plot while using the songs of Cole Porter, was presented in Minneapolis at the Guthrie Theater. The cast included Stephanie Rothenberg as Princess Ann and Edward Watts as Joe Bradley. The book adaptation was done by Paul Blake (Beautiful: The Carole King Story)
- Another version was mounted in 2004 in Rome under the title Vacanze Romane using the Cole Porter score, supplemented with music by famed Italian film composer Armando Trovajoli. This production is performed annually at the Teatro Sistina in Rome and on tour in Italy and Spain.
- A version entirely in Japanese with a completely different score was produced in 1998 by Toho [Japanese Theatre Company] starring Daichi Mao as Princess Ann and Yamaguchi Yuichiro as Joe Bradley.
- Writers Guild of America (December 19, 2011). "WGA Restores Blacklisted Writer Dalton Trumbo's Screen Credit On 'Roman Holiday'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
- Cheryl Devall, Paige Osburn (December 19, 2011). "Blacklisted writer gets credit restored after 60 years for Oscar-winning film". 89.3 KPCC. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- Verrier, Richard (December 19, 2011). "Writers Guild restores screenplay credit to Trumbo for 'Roman Holiday'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
- An Evening with Gregory Peck, a series of retrospective lectures Peck gave in the years before his death, and Remembering Roman Holiday, a featurette on the 2002 DVD release.
- Jaynes, Barbara Grant; Trachtenberg, Robert. Cary Grant: A Class Apart. Burbank, California: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Turner Entertainment. 2004.
- DVD special feature
- "Remembering Roman Holiday", special feature on the DVD
- According to Wyler's daughter, the producer Catherine Wyler, in the DVD's special feature "remembering Roman Holiday".
- 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954
- "NY Times: Roman Holiday". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- McLellan, Dennis (2011-01-12). "Christopher Trumbo dies at 70; screen and TV writer whose father was blacklisted". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- Roman Holiday
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