Roman Holiday (1953)


Directed by William Wyler
Written by Ian McLellan Hunter and John Dighton based on a story by Dalton Trumbo
(number 270)

What did I know going into this? That it’s a movie about Audrey Hepburn and it’s probably a romance. I was impressed to see it’s filmed entirely on location in Rome. In the opening sequence Audrey’s Princess Ann immediately won my heart by stretching out her feet during a formal occasion by slipping a foot out of a high heel one at a time under her huge hoop skirt. It was adorable and hilarious. Reminded me a little of the Princess Diaries … I’m sure there’s a conscious homage there.

Two Disney movies owe quite a bit to this: Enchanted was the first one which sprang to mind – especially the wandering through the town, not really understanding how things work and giving away/using the money the man has given her. And then I thought it was a bit like the city sequence in Tangled as well.

Ann getting a haircut was very familiar ‘are you sure you want it all off?’ and then a super adorable haircut at the end of it. Damn you Audrey with your fey good looks and excellent costume department dressing you.

It’s like a lovely tour of Rome in black and white, framed with a bit of story and romance. It was especially good because Anna kept being like “I’ve been there!” which is a nice counterpoint. To me it’s all foreign and only read of in novels. (Alex in Rome by Tessa Duder in particular…). It hits all the tourist stuff which is still popular to this day – I imagine there was a quite a boost in tourists to Rome after this screened in America. It certainly made me want to ride a vespa and eat gelato.

Does it make me love the people? Princess Ann immediately, she is most excellent. It’s hard not to love Audrey after all, and when she’s playing a character who just keeps on being delighted it’s impossible not to love her.

Bechdel test: Yes, and nice and early too. Ann and Countess Vereberg discuss what she wears, what Ann will be doing the next day and why Ann shouldn’t stand near the window without her slippers on.

Princess Ann: I hate this nightgown. I hate all my nightgowns, and I hate all my underwear too.
Countess: My dear, you have lovely things.
Princess Ann: But I’m not two hundred years old. Why can’t I sleep in pajamas?
Countess: Pajamas?
Princess Ann: Just the top part. Did you know that there are people who sleep with absolutely nothing on at all?
Countess: I rejoice to say I do not.

Best line:

Joe Bradley: Now, come on. You’re not that drunk.
Princess Ann: [laughing] If you’re so smart I’m not drunk at all. I’m just being
[her head falls against his chest]
Princess Ann: verrrrry haaaappy…

State of Mind: Aaaaaww, this is lovely. Once again proving my theory that movies about women/movies which are romantic comedies only have value if they’re past a certain age, though. If you remade it now it would be dismissed as a ‘chick flick’ but because it’s from the fifties and stars icon Audrey it’s acceptable to say this is a great classic. I did enjoy it very much and I can see myself watching it again for sure. It’s a bit more accessible than Funny Face. Although the ending is rather sad. I had hoped for something else… heh. Anna liked it and expected the ending, because she’d made the connection with the film’s title and is smart. The photo given to the princess right at the end of her smashing a guitar over someone’s head is a highlight for both of us.

Watched movie count