Another month, another film series. Oh, yes I could have picked My Favorite Rom Coms or perhaps The Best Onscreen Oddball Couples (maybe next year or another month entirely). You must admit, there is something about being okay at the end of a film knowing the couple does not ride off into the sunset or having one big epic kiss as the credits begin to roll. It's okay that the 'Happily Ever After' means being alone for a bit or ending up kissing a completely different person (imagine if Casablanca or Annie Hall had a different ending - I think not). A more accurate representation to life - if you will. What matters, in the end: they had an adventure while it lasted. Today's film totally fits that description: a day of adventures, romance, and hijinx, and, of course, an ending which is beautiful and appropriate for the time.
Roman Holiday (1953)
Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) is frustrated with her tight scheduled and restrictive life. After a tour of European capitals, her feelings are maxed out in Rome. The doctor gives her a sedative, which should help her sleep.... but not until she escapes the guarded walls for Rome. That's when Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), an American journalist, finds Ann asleep on a bench. Of course, he does not recognizer her.... that will change when he realizes the press conference he missed in the morning for Princess Ann, also had a missing princess. He then puts two and two together.
He hopes to get an exclusive interview with Ann (who he calls Anya Smith, "Oh, hiya Smithy") complete with images courtesy of his photographer friend, Irving Radovich (Eddie Albert). What happens in a day of adventure: new haircuts, vespa rides, sightseeing, cafes, dancing, an actual fight, and of course, love. What are a princess and an American reporter to do in the 1950s? Today Hollywood would having them breaking all the rules and living happily ever after, but those characters are captured in a different time.
I'm not sure what gets me more: the "I don't know how to say goodbye" scene or later when Princess Ann addresses the press. My heart swoons, my eyes fill with tears of sadness and joy! Dalton Trumbo (yes of The Hollywood Ten) - that man knew how to tell a story! (Little side note of Hollywood history: Trumbo was blacklisted at the time and did not receive credit for the screenplay - which he wrote. Instead his friend Ian McLellan Hunter originally took credit and the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture Story. In 1993 another statue was made and presented to Trumbo's wife Cleo).
Roman Holiday is forever one of the great love stories, because it doesn't matter if they lived happily ever after together, but that, for a time, they loved. And because I cannot end on a sappy note: I am sure once in your life you have heard someone say "Gregory Peck ruined me for other men." Come on, you know you have.
Warning: this movie will definitely do that to anyone. Audrey Hepburn's smile will charm you, but Gregory Peck will melt your heart. So, if you are snowed in this weekend or just looking for a film to watch - make that film Roman Holiday. Check back next week for #2 - it will be a complete shift in gears, but *Spoiler Alert*, He STILL Doesn't Get The Girl.