Golden Oldies On the Big Screen Golden Oldies On the Big Screen

ROMAN HOLIDAY

    

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: This week’s vintage revival is the final entry in the latest Cinemark Classic Movie Series cycle, the 1953 black-and-white romantic comedy ‘Roman Holiday,’ which earned Audrey Hepburn an Oscar for her first starring role. Interestingly, the screenplay is by Dalton Trumbo, who is the subject of the new movie ‘Trumbo,’ about the writer defying the McCarthy Hearings in the 1950s. ‘Roman Holiday’ will play on Sunday, Nov. 29, at 2 p.m., and on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 2 and 7 p.m.

Audrey Hepburn had small roles in several films and big roles in stage plays by the time she was cast in the lead for “Roman Holiday” (1953, b/w). The studio wanted Elizabeth Taylor but director William Wyler was convinced that Hepburn’s blend of innocence and patrician bearing and utterly winsome charm would more perfectly suit the role.

And he was right, of course. Hepburn shines as a European princess of an unnamed country is traveling through various other continental countries but by the time she lands in Rome she becomes fed up with her rigid schedule and escapes.

Through convoluted circumstances she finds herself in the company of an American newspaperman (Gregory Peck) who at first doesn’t recognize her, even though he’s assigned to cover her visit.

   

      Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, 'Roman Holiday'

Eventually he figures out who she is but allows her to maintain her anonymity and escorts her around the city. Gradually, they fall in love, of course, although both know it can never go anywhere.

Peck and Hepburn make a wonderful team and the film is really a showcase for the young actresses’ screen presence. As they used to say back in the day, the camera loved her.

Hepburn won the best-actress Oscar for “Roman Holiday” and the next year went on to earn a Tony for a Broadway performance and another Oscar nomination for her next picture, “Sabrina,” which would also become a bona fide classic.

   

      Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, 'Roman Holiday'

And, of course, she had a wonderful career with a wide range of delightful films to her credit. (Her co-starring role with Cary Grant in “Charade” was part of Cinemark’s classics cycle last year.)

It’s always a treat to see these old films on the big screen and “Roman Holiday” promises to be wonderful treat.