Roman Holiday


1h 58m 1953
Roman Holiday

Brief Synopsis

A runaway princess in Rome finds love with a reporter who knows her true identity.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Release Date
Sep 1953
Premiere Information
World premiere in New York: 27 Aug 1953; Los Angeles opening: 30 Sep 1953
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
Italy and United States
Location
Cinecitta Studios, Rome, Italy; Rome,Italy; Rome, Italy; Rome, Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 58m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
12 reels

Synopsis

While in Rome during a multi-city goodwill tour, Princess Anne, the youthful heir to a European crown, impresses the guests of an embassy ball with her charm and poise. Later, as she is preparing for bed, Anne, feeling overwhelmed by her tedious, endless schedule, starts to scream uncontrollably at her efficient secretary, Countess Vereberg. To calm her, Anne's doctor injects her with a sedative, but before the drug takes effect, Anne sneaks out of the palatial embassy and hides in the back of a truck. Anne jumps out when the truck reaches a lively part of town, but is already starting to yawn from the sedative. Soon after, American reporter Joe Bradley spots her prostrate on some stairs and hears her mumbling in English. Joe is unaware of her identity and assumes she is drunk, but reluctantly drags her into a cab. When Joe asks the increasingly groggy Anne for an address, she insists that she lives in the Colosseum. Not knowing what else to do, Joe takes Anne to his tiny apartment. There, while trying to undress herself so that she can don Joe's pajamas, Anne admits that she has never been alone with a man and begins to recite poetry. Frustrated, Joe goes out for coffee after instructing her to sleep on his couch. When he returns, however, he finds her curled up in his bed and rolls her onto the couch. The next day, Joe, who was scheduled to interview the princess that morning, wakes up late and rushes out, leaving behind the still sleeping Anne. At his newspaper office, Joe, unaware that the princess' activities for the day have been cancelled, lies to Hennessy, his editor, that he conducted the interview. When Hennessy shows him a newspaper report about the princess' sudden "illness," Joe stares at the accompanying photograph and realizes that the princess is the woman on his couch. Seeing his opportunity, the perpetually broke Joe gets Hennessy to agree to pay him $5,000 if he produces an exclusive, revealing interview with the princess, complete with photographs. Back at Joe's apartment, Anne finally wakes up and introduces herself as Anya. After drawing Anne a bath, Joe slips out and telephones his photographer friend, Irving Radovich, telling him only that he needs him for an important story. Now bathed and dressed, a grateful Anne borrows 1,000 lire , or $1.50, from Joe and leaves on foot. Joe follows her, watching with amusement as she buys a pair of shoes from a street vendor. Anne then enters a barbershop and insists that the barber, Mario Delani, cut her long hair into a stylish bob. Mario is taken with the transformed Anne and invites her to a barge dance that night. With her last bit of money, Anne buys a gelato and at the Trevi fountain, is joined by Joe, who pretends he has run into her. Anne, in turn, claims she is a runaway schoolgirl and admits that her only desire is to spend the day having fun. Anxious to please, Joe takes her to a nearby cafe, where she meets Irving, who, unaware of Joe's scheme, almost reveals Joe's identity. After Joe fills him in, Irving, using a miniature camera hidden inside a cigarette lighter, snaps pictures of Anne smoking her first cigarette. The three then go sightseeing, and Anne, whom Irving nicknames "Smitty" after she states that her last name is Smith, jumps on a motorscooter Joe has rented and takes a wild ride around the plaza. The ride gets them arrested, but when Joe claims that he and Anne were on their way to get married, the police let them go. Anne and Joe test their truthfulness at the ancient sculpture Bocca della Verità, or Mouth of Truth, and then visit a wall on which passersby post their hopes and wishes. Having made her wish, Anne asks to be taken to the barge dance near the Castel Saint Angelo and there enjoys a romantic dance with Joe. When Mario shows up and cuts in, Joe and Irving become excited imagining the publicity potential of the headline "The Princess and the Barber." Just then, secret service agents from Anne's homeland grab her and start to drag her away. Anne screams for Joe, who races to the rescue and instigates a brawl. Anne gleefully joins in the fracas and jumps in the Tiber River with Joe to escape capture. After swimming to safety, Joe and Anne embrace and kiss, then return to Joe's apartment. There, Anne hears a radio report about the distress her "illness" is causing her people and sadly tells Joe she must leave. Stopping near the embassy, Joe and Anne share a final, passionate kiss before Anne runs off into the night. In the embassy, Anne's advisors scold her for neglecting her duty, but Anne silences them by stating that duty was the only reason she came back. The next day, Hennessy drops by Joe's apartment, anxious to collect his story, and is dismayed when Joe insists he does not have one. Irving then shows up with the photographs he took of Anne, but Joe refuses to use them. Later, Anne appears at the previously scheduled press conference and is pleasantly surprised to see Joe and Irving there. After Joe lets her know through his public comments that her secrets are safe with him, Anne deviates from protocol and shakes hands with the reporters. Irving then gives her the photos he took, and with tears in her eyes, she tells Joe how much she has enjoyed meeting him. Heartbroken, Joe watches Anne retreat with her advisors and walks out of the embassy alone.

Cast

Gregory Peck

Joe Bradley

Audrey Hepburn

Princess Anne, also known as Anya "Smitty" Smith

Eddie Albert

Irving Radovich

Hartley Power

Mr. Hennessy

Harcourt Williams

Ambassador

Margaret Rawlings

Countess Vereberg

Tullio Carminati

General Provno

Paolo Carlini

Mario Delani

Claudio Ermelli

Giovanni

Paola Borboni

Charwoman

Alfredo Rizzo

Taxicab driver

Laura Solari

Hennessy's secretary

Gorella Gori

Shoe seller

Heinz Heindrich

Dr. Bonnachoven

John Horne

Master of ceremonies

Count Andrea Eszterhazy

Embassy aide

Col. Ugo Ballerini

Embassy aide

Ugo De Pascale

Embassy aide

Bruno Baschiera

Embassy aide

Princess Alma Cattaneo

Lady in waiting

Diana Lante

Lady in waiting

Giacomo Penza

H.E. The Papal Nuncio Monsignor Altomonte

Eric Oulton

Sir Hugo Macy de Farmington

Rapindranath Mitter

H.R.H. The Maharajah

Princess Lilamani

The Raikuùari of Khanipur

Cesare Vieri

Prince Istvar Barlossy Nagyavaros

Col. Nicola Konopleff

Ihre Hoheit der Furst und die Furstin von und zu Luchtenstichenholz

Teresa Gauthier

Ihre Hoheit der Furst und die Furstin von und zu Luchtenstichenholz

Sir Hari Singh

Hari Singh

Kmark Singh

Kmark Singh

Count Von Marstrand

Luigi Locchi

Countess Von Marstrand

Helen Fondra

Senhor Joaquin De Capoes

Mario Luciani

Senhora Joaquin De Capoes

Gherda Fehrer

Hassan El Din Pasha

Luis Marino

Armando Annuale

Admiral dancing with princess

Luigi Moneta

Old man dancing with princess

Marco Tulli

Pallid young man dancing with princess

Maurizio Arena

Young boy with motorcar

John Fostini

Correspondent at poker game

George Higgins

Correspondent at poker game

Alfred Brown

Correspondent at poker game

John Cortay

Correspondent at poker game

Richard Mcnamara

Correspondent at poker game

Sidney Gordon

Correspondent at poker game

Richard Neuhaus

Embassy guard reporting

Alcide Ticò

Sculptor

Tania Weber

Irving's model

Armando Ambrogi

Man at the telephone

Patricia Varner

Schoolmarm at Fontana di Trevi

Gildo Bocci

Flower seller

Giustino Olivieri

Waiter at cafe

Dianora Veiga

Girl at cafe waving at Irving

Dominique Rika

Girl at cafe waving at Irving

Gianna Segale

Girl at cafe waving at Irving

Carlo Rizzo

Police official

Mimmo Poli

Workman hugging the three outside police station

Octave Senoret

Faceless man on the barge

Pietro Pastore

Faceless man on the barge

Giuliano Raffaelli

Faceless man on the barge

Disiderio Nobile

Embassy official at press conference

Edward Hitchcock

Head of foreign correspondents

Hank Werba

Speaking correspondent

Adam Jennette

Speaking correspondent

Jan Dijkgraaf

Speaking correspondent

Piero Scanziani

Piero Scanziani of "La Suisse"

Kurt Klinger

Kurt Klinger of the "Deutsch Press Agentur"

Maurice Montabrè

Maurice Montabrè of "Le Figaro"

Sytske Galema

Sytske Galema of "De Linie"

Jacques Ferrier

Jacques Ferrier of "Ici Paris"

Otto Gross

Otto Gross of "Davar"

Julian Cortes Cavanillas

Julian Cortes Cavanillas of "ABC," Madrid

Friedrich Lampe

Friedrich Lampe of "New York Herald-Tribune"

Julio Moriones

Julio Moriones of "La Vanguardia"

Stephen House

Stephen House of "The London Exchange Telegraph"

Ferdinanda De Aldisio

Ferdinanda De Aldisio of "Agence Press"

S. Bagolini

A. Trilli

G. Kabulska

J. Van Hulsen

F. Corsaro

H. Tubbs

P. Gary

Photo Collections

Roman Holiday - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release American movie posters for William Wyler's Roman Holiday (1953), starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

Videos

Movie Clip

Roman Holiday (1953) - Open, No Sign Of The Strain Following credits confirming the all-location shooting in Rome, Audrey Hepburn in her de-facto debut, the princess of a pointedly not-named country, beginning her Academy Award-winning performance, opening William Wyler's Roman Holiday, 1953, co-starring Gregory Peck.
Roman Holiday (1953) - Care To Make A Statement? The ending of the escape from official guest quarters by visiting Princess Anne (Audrey Hepburn), only beginning to feel the effect of a sleep medication, and the introduction of reporter Joe (Gregory Peck) and buds, especially cameraman Irving (Eddie Albert), in William Wyler's Roman Holiday. 1953.
Roman Holiday (1953) - Did You Bring Me Here By Force? American reporter Joe (Gregory Peck) awakens Princess Anne (Audrey Hepburn), whose minders consider missing, but whom he in fact rescued, roaming the city while on sleep medication, not revealing that he knows who she is, in Roman Holiday, 1953.
Roman Holiday (1953) - Little News Events News service reporter Bradley (Gregory Peck), looking to bluff his boss Hennessy (Hartley Power) into believing he didn't sleep through the press conference with the visiting princess, doesn't yet realize she's the girl (Audrey Hepburn) now stashed in his apartment, in Roman Holiday, 1953.
Roman Holiday (1953) - Scooter Princess Anne (Audrey Hepburn) doesn't know that reporter Joe (Gregory Peck) and his photographer buddy (Eddie Albert) know her true identity, and they don't expect her to drive the scooter, thus this famous on-location romp, largely with stunt riders, in William Wyler's Roman Holiday, 1953.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Release Date
Sep 1953
Premiere Information
World premiere in New York: 27 Aug 1953; Los Angeles opening: 30 Sep 1953
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
Italy and United States
Location
Cinecitta Studios, Rome, Italy; Rome,Italy; Rome, Italy; Rome, Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 58m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
12 reels

Award Wins

Best Actress

1953
Audrey Hepburn

Best Costume Design

1953
Edith Head

Best Story

1953

Best Writing, Screenplay

1954

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1953

Best Cinematography

1953

Best Director

1953
William Wyler

Best Editing

1953
Robert Swink

Best Picture

1953

Best Supporting Actor

1953
Eddie Albert

Articles

Roman Holiday: The Essentials


SYNOPSIS

On a visit to Rome during a goodwill tour of European capital cities, Princess Ann momentarily plays hooky from her royal duties. Running away from her regimented schedule, the princess wants nothing more than to blend in and experience the Eternal City like an ordinary citizen. When she falls asleep on a park bench, she is rescued by Joe Bradley, an American reporter assigned to do a story on her - only, he doesn't know that the beautiful young girl asleep in his apartment is the princess herself! Once he realizes his good fortune, Bradley decides to get his story by taking the unsuspecting princess on a Roman adventure that she will never forget. What he doesn't plan on is falling in love with her.

Director: William Wyler
Producer: William Wyler
Screenplay: Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton, (From a story by Dalton Trumbo)
Cinematography: Franz Planer, Henri Alekan
Editing: Robert Swink
Art Direction: Hal Pereira, Walter Tyler
Music: Georges Auric
Cast: Gregory Peck (Joe Bradley), Audrey Hepburn (Princess Ann), Eddie Albert (Irving Radovich), Hartley Power (Mr. Hennessy), Harcourt Williams (Ambassador), Margaret Rawlings (Countess Vereberg), Tullio Carminati (General Provno), Paolo Carlini (Mario Delani), Claudio Ermelli (Giovanni), Paola Borboni (Charwoman), Alfredo Rizzo (Taxicab Driver), Laura Solari (Hennessey's Secretary), Gorella Gori (Shoe Seller), Heinz Hindrich (Dr. Bonnachoven), John Horne (Master of Ceremonies).
BW-118 m.

Why ROMAN HOLIDAY is Essential

Roman Holiday is the film that introduced Audrey Hepburn to the world and made her an instant star. The Belgian-born actress was a total unknown before Roman Holiday, having acted in only a few bit parts in European films and some minor roles on stage. Audiences everywhere fell in love with her, and she won an Academy Award for her performance.

Roman Holiday marked the beginning of Audrey Hepburn as a bona fide style icon. Her brunette hair and slim figure gave her a unique gamine look that set her apart from other actresses of her time. Her haircut and clothes in Roman Holiday influenced fashion, and women everywhere began to copy her look.

Roman Holiday is often hailed as the perfect film romance. A modern twist on the Cinderella story, the movie is a simple tale of a young princess incognito, experiencing the world on her own.

Director William Wyler insisted on shooting Roman Holiday on location in Italy, something that was quite rare to do at the time. Though Paramount offered to build sets, Wyler was adamant that no set could ever capture the ancient beauty of the Eternal City. Roman Holiday gave American filmgoers a chance to get an insider's glimpse of Rome at a time when it wasn't that common to travel internationally. According to a July 1952 New York Times article, Roman Holiday was the first Hollywood film to be shot and processed entirely in Italy.

Roman Holiday marked the first comedy that William Wyler had made since The Gay Deception in 1935, and it marked a triumphant return to the genre for him.

Roman Holiday was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won three, including Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn), Best Costume Design (Edith Head), and Best Original Screenplay (Ian McLellan Hunter/Dalton Trumbo).

by Andrea Passafiume
Roman Holiday: The Essentials

Roman Holiday: The Essentials

SYNOPSIS On a visit to Rome during a goodwill tour of European capital cities, Princess Ann momentarily plays hooky from her royal duties. Running away from her regimented schedule, the princess wants nothing more than to blend in and experience the Eternal City like an ordinary citizen. When she falls asleep on a park bench, she is rescued by Joe Bradley, an American reporter assigned to do a story on her - only, he doesn't know that the beautiful young girl asleep in his apartment is the princess herself! Once he realizes his good fortune, Bradley decides to get his story by taking the unsuspecting princess on a Roman adventure that she will never forget. What he doesn't plan on is falling in love with her. Director: William Wyler Producer: William Wyler Screenplay: Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton, (From a story by Dalton Trumbo) Cinematography: Franz Planer, Henri Alekan Editing: Robert Swink Art Direction: Hal Pereira, Walter Tyler Music: Georges Auric Cast: Gregory Peck (Joe Bradley), Audrey Hepburn (Princess Ann), Eddie Albert (Irving Radovich), Hartley Power (Mr. Hennessy), Harcourt Williams (Ambassador), Margaret Rawlings (Countess Vereberg), Tullio Carminati (General Provno), Paolo Carlini (Mario Delani), Claudio Ermelli (Giovanni), Paola Borboni (Charwoman), Alfredo Rizzo (Taxicab Driver), Laura Solari (Hennessey's Secretary), Gorella Gori (Shoe Seller), Heinz Hindrich (Dr. Bonnachoven), John Horne (Master of Ceremonies). BW-118 m. Why ROMAN HOLIDAY is Essential Roman Holiday is the film that introduced Audrey Hepburn to the world and made her an instant star. The Belgian-born actress was a total unknown before Roman Holiday, having acted in only a few bit parts in European films and some minor roles on stage. Audiences everywhere fell in love with her, and she won an Academy Award for her performance. Roman Holiday marked the beginning of Audrey Hepburn as a bona fide style icon. Her brunette hair and slim figure gave her a unique gamine look that set her apart from other actresses of her time. Her haircut and clothes in Roman Holiday influenced fashion, and women everywhere began to copy her look. Roman Holiday is often hailed as the perfect film romance. A modern twist on the Cinderella story, the movie is a simple tale of a young princess incognito, experiencing the world on her own. Director William Wyler insisted on shooting Roman Holiday on location in Italy, something that was quite rare to do at the time. Though Paramount offered to build sets, Wyler was adamant that no set could ever capture the ancient beauty of the Eternal City. Roman Holiday gave American filmgoers a chance to get an insider's glimpse of Rome at a time when it wasn't that common to travel internationally. According to a July 1952 New York Times article, Roman Holiday was the first Hollywood film to be shot and processed entirely in Italy. Roman Holiday marked the first comedy that William Wyler had made since The Gay Deception in 1935, and it marked a triumphant return to the genre for him. Roman Holiday was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won three, including Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn), Best Costume Design (Edith Head), and Best Original Screenplay (Ian McLellan Hunter/Dalton Trumbo). by Andrea Passafiume

Roman Holiday - Pop Culture - Pop Culture 101: ROMAN HOLIDAY


Audrey Hepburn's simple yet elegant style was imitated by women the world over as a result of her appearance in Roman Holiday.

Roman Holiday was the first time most Americans were introduced to the Italian Vespa. It started a trend for American college students, academics and artists who began using the Italian motor scooter as their preferred mode of transportation.

Audiences were intrigued by the similarities in the story of Roman Holiday to the real life royal soap opera going on at the time with Britain's Princess Margaret (sister of Queen Elizabeth). Margaret was seeing a divorced commoner, but royal duty forced them to ultimately split up, a story that was romanticized by the press.

In 1960, Roman Holiday played at the Lenin Sports Palace in Moscow where it highlighted an American cultural exchange program with the Soviet Union.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, President John F. Kennedy reportedly requested a private viewing of the film at the White House as he awaited an answer to his blockade ultimatum.

In the 1970s, both Peck and Hepburn were approached with the idea of doing a sequel that would have seen Princess Ann and Joe reunite, but the idea never came to fruition.

Roman Holiday was remade for television in 1987 starring Catherine Oxenberg and Tom Conti.

by Andrea Passafiume

Roman Holiday - Pop Culture - Pop Culture 101: ROMAN HOLIDAY

Audrey Hepburn's simple yet elegant style was imitated by women the world over as a result of her appearance in Roman Holiday. Roman Holiday was the first time most Americans were introduced to the Italian Vespa. It started a trend for American college students, academics and artists who began using the Italian motor scooter as their preferred mode of transportation. Audiences were intrigued by the similarities in the story of Roman Holiday to the real life royal soap opera going on at the time with Britain's Princess Margaret (sister of Queen Elizabeth). Margaret was seeing a divorced commoner, but royal duty forced them to ultimately split up, a story that was romanticized by the press. In 1960, Roman Holiday played at the Lenin Sports Palace in Moscow where it highlighted an American cultural exchange program with the Soviet Union. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, President John F. Kennedy reportedly requested a private viewing of the film at the White House as he awaited an answer to his blockade ultimatum. In the 1970s, both Peck and Hepburn were approached with the idea of doing a sequel that would have seen Princess Ann and Joe reunite, but the idea never came to fruition. Roman Holiday was remade for television in 1987 starring Catherine Oxenberg and Tom Conti. by Andrea Passafiume

Roman Holiday - Trivia - Trivia & Fun Facts About ROMAN HOLIDAY


When filming the scene where the princess (Audrey Hepburn) says her goodbyes to Joe, the inexperienced Hepburn was unable to produce the tears required for the scene. William Wyler, in order to get the response he was looking for, spoke harshly to her. His anger shocked Hepburn, who promptly cried just the way Wyler was looking for.

Jean Simmons was briefly considered for the role of Princess Ann.

William Wyler's daughters, Judy and Catherine, appear in the background during the scene where Gregory Peck tries to borrow a camera from some school children. Joe pays a price of 1000 lire to the taxi driver and tips him another 1000 which is equal to approximately 17 U.S. dollars. Gregory Peck met his second wife, Veronique Passani, while making Roman Holiday. Passani was a journalist assigned to interview the married Peck, and the two fell in love. They married in 1955 and remained together until Peck's death in 2003.

Both Ben Hecht and Preston Sturges are rumored to have worked uncredited on the screenplay.

Even though Gregory Peck was the star and was already guaranteed top billing, he saw what was happening with Audrey Hepburn and knew that when the film opened, it wouldn't be him that the press and audiences would be focusing on. He therefore insisted that Hepburn's name appear alongside his above the title. He later explained that it wasn't so much an act of generosity as it was just being logical. He believed that once Roman Holiday came out, it would look ridiculous for him to say that his was the starring role, when it was clearly all about Miss Hepburn.

Roman Holiday premiered at Radio City Music Hall in August of 1953 to rave reviews, and Audrey Hepburn became an instant sensation. Time put Hepburn on its cover--unusual for a newcomer--and women all over the world began to emulate her style.

In 1992 the Screenwriters Guild finally awarded authorship to the rightful author of the Roman Holiday screenplay, Dalton Trumbo. The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to amend its records and awarded a posthumous Oscar® to Trumbo's wife Cleo at a special screening of the film held at the Academy in 1993.

Famous Quotes from ROMAN HOLIDAY

"You should always wear my clothes." - Gregory Peck, as Joe
"It seems I do."

Audrey Hepburn as Princess Ann.

"She's fair game, Joe. It's always open season on princesses." – Eddie Albert, as Irving Radovich, to Gregory Peck's Joe.

"Do you have a silk nightgown with rosebuds?" - Princess Ann
"I haven't worn a nightgown in years!" – Joe Bradley.

"Which of the cities visited did Your Highness enjoy the most?" - Reporter
"Each, in its own way, was unforgettable. It would be difficult to...Rome! By all means, Rome. I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live. " – Princess Ann.

"Were I not entirely aware of my duty to my family and to my country, I would not have come back tonight... or indeed ever again! " – Audrey Hepburn, as Princess Ann.

"I have to leave you now. I'm going to that corner there and turn. You must stay in the car and drive away. Promise not to watch me go beyond the corner. Just drive away and leave me as I leave you." – Princess Ann to Joe Bradley.

"I'm a good liar too, aren't I, Mr. Bradley?"
"The best I ever met." – Princess Ann and Joe Bradley.

"At midnight, I'll turn into a pumpkin and drive away in my glass slipper."
"And that will be the end of the fairy tale." – Princess Ann and Joe Bradley.

"I have every faith in it as I have faith in relations between people." - Princess Ann
"May I say, speaking for my own press service, we believe that your Highness' faith will not be unjustified." - Joe
"I am so glad to hear you say it." – Princess Ann.

Compiled by Andrea Passafiume

Roman Holiday - Trivia - Trivia & Fun Facts About ROMAN HOLIDAY

When filming the scene where the princess (Audrey Hepburn) says her goodbyes to Joe, the inexperienced Hepburn was unable to produce the tears required for the scene. William Wyler, in order to get the response he was looking for, spoke harshly to her. His anger shocked Hepburn, who promptly cried just the way Wyler was looking for. Jean Simmons was briefly considered for the role of Princess Ann. William Wyler's daughters, Judy and Catherine, appear in the background during the scene where Gregory Peck tries to borrow a camera from some school children. Joe pays a price of 1000 lire to the taxi driver and tips him another 1000 which is equal to approximately 17 U.S. dollars. Gregory Peck met his second wife, Veronique Passani, while making Roman Holiday. Passani was a journalist assigned to interview the married Peck, and the two fell in love. They married in 1955 and remained together until Peck's death in 2003. Both Ben Hecht and Preston Sturges are rumored to have worked uncredited on the screenplay. Even though Gregory Peck was the star and was already guaranteed top billing, he saw what was happening with Audrey Hepburn and knew that when the film opened, it wouldn't be him that the press and audiences would be focusing on. He therefore insisted that Hepburn's name appear alongside his above the title. He later explained that it wasn't so much an act of generosity as it was just being logical. He believed that once Roman Holiday came out, it would look ridiculous for him to say that his was the starring role, when it was clearly all about Miss Hepburn. Roman Holiday premiered at Radio City Music Hall in August of 1953 to rave reviews, and Audrey Hepburn became an instant sensation. Time put Hepburn on its cover--unusual for a newcomer--and women all over the world began to emulate her style. In 1992 the Screenwriters Guild finally awarded authorship to the rightful author of the Roman Holiday screenplay, Dalton Trumbo. The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to amend its records and awarded a posthumous Oscar® to Trumbo's wife Cleo at a special screening of the film held at the Academy in 1993. Famous Quotes from ROMAN HOLIDAY "You should always wear my clothes." - Gregory Peck, as Joe "It seems I do." Audrey Hepburn as Princess Ann. "She's fair game, Joe. It's always open season on princesses." – Eddie Albert, as Irving Radovich, to Gregory Peck's Joe. "Do you have a silk nightgown with rosebuds?" - Princess Ann "I haven't worn a nightgown in years!" – Joe Bradley. "Which of the cities visited did Your Highness enjoy the most?" - Reporter "Each, in its own way, was unforgettable. It would be difficult to...Rome! By all means, Rome. I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live. " – Princess Ann. "Were I not entirely aware of my duty to my family and to my country, I would not have come back tonight... or indeed ever again! " – Audrey Hepburn, as Princess Ann. "I have to leave you now. I'm going to that corner there and turn. You must stay in the car and drive away. Promise not to watch me go beyond the corner. Just drive away and leave me as I leave you." – Princess Ann to Joe Bradley. "I'm a good liar too, aren't I, Mr. Bradley?" "The best I ever met." – Princess Ann and Joe Bradley. "At midnight, I'll turn into a pumpkin and drive away in my glass slipper." "And that will be the end of the fairy tale." – Princess Ann and Joe Bradley. "I have every faith in it as I have faith in relations between people." - Princess Ann "May I say, speaking for my own press service, we believe that your Highness' faith will not be unjustified." - Joe "I am so glad to hear you say it." – Princess Ann. Compiled by Andrea Passafiume

Roman Holiday - The Big Idea


Though he wouldn't receive official credit for it until more than 35 years after the release of Roman Holiday (and 15 years following his death), writer Dalton Trumbo was the story and idea man behind this film. Trumbo had been a very successful screenwriter in Hollywood during the 1930s and 40s. However, when he was investigated by the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), a group dedicated to uncovering suspected Communist sympathizers within the entertainment community, Trumbo's career was ruined. His refusal to testify before the organization and name names made him a part of the Hollywood Ten--a group of industry professionals who all refused to testify before HUAC. As a result, Trumbo was blacklisted from working within the entertainment industry and was forced to serve time in jail.

"Dalton was flat broke," recalled his wife Cleo. "He had just emerged from ten months in jail for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. His only solution was to write." One of the original stories the blacklisted Trumbo pounded out during this dark period was Roman Holiday. He knew it was a winner, but because of his blacklisted status, he could not sell the script with his own name attached.

To deal with this problem, Trumbo did what many of the blacklisted writers of the time did: he asked a friend to front for him. Trumbo asked fellow writer Ian McLellan Hunter to put his name on the script and sell it for him. Hunter was a bit conflicted about the deception, but in the end he decided to do it. "If something's phony," said Hunter, "it drives me crazy. But I was stuck...Your friend is blacklisted and he needs money."

Hunter had no trouble selling the charming story, which was purchased by Frank Capra's company, Liberty Films, for $50,000. Hunter was put on salary by Paramount, and he began working on a rewrite of the screenplay while Frank Capra worked on putting the picture together with himself as director and Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor in the leading roles. Many sources claim that Capra eventually abandoned the project, which would have been his second feature for Paramount, due to the strict budget limitations placed on him. While that may have been part of it, Ian McLellan Hunter always maintained that Capra was just too afraid to make Roman Holiday because of its association with a leftist writer. "He was scared that people would say he had nothing but Communist stuff," said Hunter.

Whatever the reason, Capra decided to let this particular project go. Paramount paid Liberty Films $35,000 for the story rights and decided to let another director have a crack at it. "They passed it around to see who wanted it," recalled William Wyler. "I'm not sure they offered it to George Stevens. But they offered it to me-I was looking for a story-and I liked it." William Wyler, then, became the new director of Roman Holiday. Wyler, who was an established Academy Award®-winning director of films such as Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and Detective Story (1951), was looking forward to making a comedy, which he hadn't done since The Gay Deception in 1935.

Wyler set the condition with Paramount that he would only make Roman Holiday if he could shoot it on location in Rome. Frank Freeman, the Paramount Studio Chief at the time, was against location shooting for budgetary and logistical reasons. Freeman suggested that Wyler instead send a second unit to Rome for long shots using doubles for the actors while shooting everything else in the Hollywood studio with sets and rear projection. To that Wyler reportedly said, "You can't build me the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps. I'll shoot the whole picture in Rome or else I won't make it." He knew there would be no faking the timeless beauty of the Eternal City.

Finally, Paramount relented, allowing Wyler to shoot the film in Rome as long as he financed it with some blocked funds that the studio had in Italy. Using the funds meant that the Italian government would have to approve the script before freeing any money, and the budget was set at approximately $1,000,000. It was important to the Italian government that Italy not be made fun of or depicted in a negative manner. Annibale Scicluna, head of the Italian Ministry of Entertainment, didn't approve the script at first. "You can't block money to make fun of Italy," she told Wyler. "You make fun of Italian police, of the Italian people." Wyler responded, "That's right, but we also make fun of an American newspaperman, of American tourists. We make fun of royalty. We make fun of everybody. It's a comedy!" With Wyler's promise to not do anything to demean the Italian people, the funds were freed so the film could go forward. Wyler always knew that he wanted an unknown in the starring role of Princess Ann and felt that using an unfamiliar actor would help audiences more easily believe the character's royal status. However, to use an unknown was risky, and that meant he would first need the male lead to be an established star to lend weight to the project.

Cary Grant had originally been approached to play the role of American journalist Joe Bradley back when Frank Capra planned to direct. However, Grant turned it down, noting that the male lead in Roman Holiday would be inconsequential compared to the role of Princess Ann. William Wyler later offered the part to established star Gregory Peck, who initially balked for the same reason Cary Grant did: his part was secondary to the role of the princess. In an interview 30 years later Peck recalled that he often played second fiddle to Cary Grant, too. "I always felt every time someone sent me a comedy script," said Peck with a twinkle, "that Cary Grant had seen it first and had turned it down." Eventually, however, Wyler convinced Peck to take the role.

Once Gregory Peck was securely onboard, Wyler began preparations to shoot in Rome. At the same time, Wyler began looking for his Princess Ann. He wanted a girl with grace and elegance who had a non-American accent-a girl you could truly believe was a princess. On his way to Rome, Wyler stopped in London to see several actresses for the part, including a young doe-eyed ingénue named Audrey Hepburn.

The head of Paramount's London production office, Richard Mealand, had already written the home office about a new actress he was considering for the role: "I have another candidate for Roman Holiday--Audrey Hepburn," he wrote. "I was struck by her playing of a bit part in Laughter in Paradise." At the time, Hepburn was a complete unknown, having only done a few bit parts in European-made films and a few insignificant stage roles. Wyler set up a meeting with her. Years later Hepburn recalled getting the call from her agent: "He told me a movie was going to be made called Roman Holiday," she said. "They wanted an unknown, and they were going to test a great many girls. To get the test I had to meet a man named William Wyler. I had no idea who he was. So one day I got an appointment to go to Claridge's. I went up to his room wearing my one and only proper dress. I was quite apprehensive."

The meeting went well, and Wyler was impressed, finding Hepburn "very alert, very smart, very talented, and very ambitious." As Wyler flew on to Rome to begin preparations for the shoot, he ordered a screen test of the lovely 22-year-old Hepburn to be shot at Pinewood Studios. In a now legendary move, Wyler told the British director Thorold Dickinson, who was to shoot the screen test, to keep the camera rolling once Hepburn thought that the test was over. He wanted to see what she was like when the cameras stopped rolling to get a sense of her natural, relaxed state, which he believed was crucial to how her personality would translate on film. "A test is a precarious thing," Wyler explained later. "A good actress might make a very bad test, depending on conditions. You might not get her true personality, because of nervousness or whatever." The ploy worked. Once she thought the test was over, Thorold told Hepburn to change her clothes and come back for a casual chat. During their conversation in which they discussed her life including her experiences during World War II, Hepburn only became aware that the camera was still rolling about halfway through their talk.

Once Paramount executives and William Wyler saw Hepburn's screen test, they were sold. "She was absolutely delightful," said Wyler. "Acting, looks, and personality! She was absolutely enchanting and we said, 'That's the girl!'" Though some sources say that Wyler was also seriously considering actress Suzanne Cloutier for the part, it was Hepburn they were excited about. The Hollywood Paramount office sent a cable to the London office that said, "Exercise the option on this lady. The test is certainly one of the best ever made in Hollywood, New York or London."

If there was one concern that Wyler had with Hepburn's screen test, it was a surprising one considering her iconic image today. He thought that Hepburn might be too heavy. The screen test does betray Hepburn at probably the heaviest she was ever captured on film, though she was far from overweight. When she discovered this impression of her from Wyler much later, she confessed that she had been eating a little too much at the time. "I ate everything in sight," she said, "having been undernourished during the war. You know, whole boxes of chocolates. I was ten pounds more than I ever weighed in my life. It's funny to think I might not have gotten the part because I was too fat, because from then on everybody thought I was too thin."

There was one thing preventing Audrey Hepburn from starting production on Roman Holiday immediately. Earlier that same year Hepburn had been spotted by the famous French writer Colette while on location in Monaco shooting a small role for a French made picture. Colette had been looking for a young ingénue to play the title role in the Broadway stage adaptation of her beloved story Gigi. She, like Wyler, had taken one look at her and known that she had found her girl. Hepburn had already committed to doing the role in New York when she got the offer for Roman Holiday.

Paramount, happy to have finally found the ideal screen princess, signed Hepburn to do Roman Holiday following her stint on Broadway in Gigi, regardless of how long the play ran - a big risk for the studio that displayed tremendous faith in their new find. The studio initially offered her a 7-year contract, but she thought it was too long of a commitment. Negotiating a deal that was more to her liking, Hepburn wound up with a 2-year movie deal with Paramount with a clause allowing her to act in stage plays and television if she chose. Gigi closed after a successful run of 217 performances, and Hepburn was now free to work on the film that would make her a star.

There was one small problem with Audrey Hepburn that the studios wanted to change. There was another very famous actress already in the film business with the same last name - Katharine Hepburn. The latter was not related in any way to Audrey, but Paramount wanted Audrey to change her last name to avoid confusion. Hepburn, however, refused, and that was that. There would be two Hepburns in Hollywood now.

by Andrea Passafiume

Roman Holiday - The Big Idea

Though he wouldn't receive official credit for it until more than 35 years after the release of Roman Holiday (and 15 years following his death), writer Dalton Trumbo was the story and idea man behind this film. Trumbo had been a very successful screenwriter in Hollywood during the 1930s and 40s. However, when he was investigated by the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), a group dedicated to uncovering suspected Communist sympathizers within the entertainment community, Trumbo's career was ruined. His refusal to testify before the organization and name names made him a part of the Hollywood Ten--a group of industry professionals who all refused to testify before HUAC. As a result, Trumbo was blacklisted from working within the entertainment industry and was forced to serve time in jail. "Dalton was flat broke," recalled his wife Cleo. "He had just emerged from ten months in jail for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. His only solution was to write." One of the original stories the blacklisted Trumbo pounded out during this dark period was Roman Holiday. He knew it was a winner, but because of his blacklisted status, he could not sell the script with his own name attached. To deal with this problem, Trumbo did what many of the blacklisted writers of the time did: he asked a friend to front for him. Trumbo asked fellow writer Ian McLellan Hunter to put his name on the script and sell it for him. Hunter was a bit conflicted about the deception, but in the end he decided to do it. "If something's phony," said Hunter, "it drives me crazy. But I was stuck...Your friend is blacklisted and he needs money." Hunter had no trouble selling the charming story, which was purchased by Frank Capra's company, Liberty Films, for $50,000. Hunter was put on salary by Paramount, and he began working on a rewrite of the screenplay while Frank Capra worked on putting the picture together with himself as director and Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor in the leading roles. Many sources claim that Capra eventually abandoned the project, which would have been his second feature for Paramount, due to the strict budget limitations placed on him. While that may have been part of it, Ian McLellan Hunter always maintained that Capra was just too afraid to make Roman Holiday because of its association with a leftist writer. "He was scared that people would say he had nothing but Communist stuff," said Hunter. Whatever the reason, Capra decided to let this particular project go. Paramount paid Liberty Films $35,000 for the story rights and decided to let another director have a crack at it. "They passed it around to see who wanted it," recalled William Wyler. "I'm not sure they offered it to George Stevens. But they offered it to me-I was looking for a story-and I liked it." William Wyler, then, became the new director of Roman Holiday. Wyler, who was an established Academy Award®-winning director of films such as Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and Detective Story (1951), was looking forward to making a comedy, which he hadn't done since The Gay Deception in 1935. Wyler set the condition with Paramount that he would only make Roman Holiday if he could shoot it on location in Rome. Frank Freeman, the Paramount Studio Chief at the time, was against location shooting for budgetary and logistical reasons. Freeman suggested that Wyler instead send a second unit to Rome for long shots using doubles for the actors while shooting everything else in the Hollywood studio with sets and rear projection. To that Wyler reportedly said, "You can't build me the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps. I'll shoot the whole picture in Rome or else I won't make it." He knew there would be no faking the timeless beauty of the Eternal City. Finally, Paramount relented, allowing Wyler to shoot the film in Rome as long as he financed it with some blocked funds that the studio had in Italy. Using the funds meant that the Italian government would have to approve the script before freeing any money, and the budget was set at approximately $1,000,000. It was important to the Italian government that Italy not be made fun of or depicted in a negative manner. Annibale Scicluna, head of the Italian Ministry of Entertainment, didn't approve the script at first. "You can't block money to make fun of Italy," she told Wyler. "You make fun of Italian police, of the Italian people." Wyler responded, "That's right, but we also make fun of an American newspaperman, of American tourists. We make fun of royalty. We make fun of everybody. It's a comedy!" With Wyler's promise to not do anything to demean the Italian people, the funds were freed so the film could go forward.

Roman Holiday - Behind the Camera


Filming began on Roman Holiday in Italy during the summer of 1952. Despite the sweltering heat, it was a positive experience for the entire cast and crew. Being so far away from the studio system in Hollywood gave director William Wyler a certain freedom without anyone breathing down his neck with unwanted feedback. This freedom contributed to the playful, light spirit of the film.

Though Audrey Hepburn admitted to being intimidated by the level of talent with which she was surrounded, she was a complete professional and everyone welcomed her. "Everyone on the set of Roman Holiday was in love with Audrey," said co-star Gregory Peck. "We did that one picture together, and I think it was the happiest experience I ever had on a movie set."

The unique experience of shooting on location in Rome inspired many of the cast and crew to bring along their families that summer. William Wyler brought his wife and daughters, Gregory Peck brought his wife and three boys, and Eddie Albert brought his wife and infant son along. "Working for Willy in Rome was nothing but joy," recalled Eddie Albert, who played Peck's photographer friend in the film. "It was a pity to take the fee."

The location shoot, though plagued with gawking tourists and paparazzi, heat and noise, turned out to be a tremendous asset to the picture. Inspired by shooting outdoors, Wyler used the ancient buildings and streets of Rome for an authentic and colorful backdrop to his romantic story. He took advantage of the city and made use of the sidewalk cafes, the Forum, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, and Boca Della Verita. He even had some of the Italian locals work as background extras. He was inspired by these locals to shoot a scene where Peck and Hepburn take an energetic ride around town on a Vespa, a French motor scooter that was the common mode of transportation in the city. It became one of the most memorable scenes in the movie.

Though Wyler generally liked to stick to the script, the location shooting allowed a great deal of room for spontaneity in order to take advantage of any wonderful new discoveries he happened to come across. "Filming in Rome in those days was marvelous," said Wyler. "There were practically no automobiles, only Vespas. For every scene I could have had six locations, and each one was better than the other." When he wasn't making use of the beautiful Roman outdoors, Wyler used the newly renovated Cinecitta studios to shoot interiors.

A good example of this spontaneity while shooting is the film's famous scene that takes place at the Boca Della Verita (Mouth of Truth), an ancient stone monument at the entrance of an old church. The legend of it said that if a liar put his hand inside the mouth, he would lose the hand. A truthful person, however, would have nothing to fear. Wyler said that he had gone sightseeing one day with his daughters to the monument and played a joke on them, sticking his hand into the mouth and pulling it out with his hand hidden under his sleeve. The joke terrified and delighted them. "So I thought there must be a place for this in the picture," said Wyler. "Especially since it's a story of two people who lie to each other."

Gregory Peck remembers the gag's origins differently, however. He stated that he was the one who suggested the trick to Wyler, which was an old comedy bit from Red Skelton. So, during the scene where Peck and Hepburn visit the Mouth of Truth, Peck decided to play the gag on Hepburn without warning her ahead of time. The ruse worked, and the camera forever immortalized Hepburn's genuine shock, just before she dissolves into fits of laughter.

This spontaneity meant that the final script was always somewhat of a work in progress. Ian McLellan Hunter, who had fronted for original writer Dalton Trumbo, had worked on rewrites of the screenplay when Frank Capra owned the property. Once William Wyler took over the project, however, Trumbo had no further direct involvement on the script. Wyler instead hired a British writer named John Dighton to come on location to work on the screenplay. "We had Dighton in Rome with us all the time," recalled the editor of Roman Holiday, Bob Swink. "He was writing new scenes, new lines, whatever it took. The picture was kind of put together as it went along."

After Roman Holiday was well under way, Wyler supposedly regretted his decision to shoot the film in black and white and considered switching to color stock at the last minute. "I tried to switch," Wyler was later quoted, "but in those days, making pictures in color was unusual. I would have needed new filmstock, had to fly exposed film every day to London, and reorganize the production. It was just too late." Other sources contend, however, that Wyler always wanted to shoot the film in color, but budget restrictions imposed by Paramount prevented him the indulgence.

As filming went on, it became more and more clear to everyone involved that Roman Holiday was going to make Audrey Hepburn a huge star. There was even talk that she might win an Academy Award. Paramount's publicity machine kicked in before Roman Holiday was even completed to start promoting their beautiful new screen discovery.

by Andrea Passafiume

Roman Holiday - Behind the Camera

Filming began on Roman Holiday in Italy during the summer of 1952. Despite the sweltering heat, it was a positive experience for the entire cast and crew. Being so far away from the studio system in Hollywood gave director William Wyler a certain freedom without anyone breathing down his neck with unwanted feedback. This freedom contributed to the playful, light spirit of the film. Though Audrey Hepburn admitted to being intimidated by the level of talent with which she was surrounded, she was a complete professional and everyone welcomed her. "Everyone on the set of Roman Holiday was in love with Audrey," said co-star Gregory Peck. "We did that one picture together, and I think it was the happiest experience I ever had on a movie set." The unique experience of shooting on location in Rome inspired many of the cast and crew to bring along their families that summer. William Wyler brought his wife and daughters, Gregory Peck brought his wife and three boys, and Eddie Albert brought his wife and infant son along. "Working for Willy in Rome was nothing but joy," recalled Eddie Albert, who played Peck's photographer friend in the film. "It was a pity to take the fee." The location shoot, though plagued with gawking tourists and paparazzi, heat and noise, turned out to be a tremendous asset to the picture. Inspired by shooting outdoors, Wyler used the ancient buildings and streets of Rome for an authentic and colorful backdrop to his romantic story. He took advantage of the city and made use of the sidewalk cafes, the Forum, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, and Boca Della Verita. He even had some of the Italian locals work as background extras. He was inspired by these locals to shoot a scene where Peck and Hepburn take an energetic ride around town on a Vespa, a French motor scooter that was the common mode of transportation in the city. It became one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. Though Wyler generally liked to stick to the script, the location shooting allowed a great deal of room for spontaneity in order to take advantage of any wonderful new discoveries he happened to come across. "Filming in Rome in those days was marvelous," said Wyler. "There were practically no automobiles, only Vespas. For every scene I could have had six locations, and each one was better than the other." When he wasn't making use of the beautiful Roman outdoors, Wyler used the newly renovated Cinecitta studios to shoot interiors. A good example of this spontaneity while shooting is the film's famous scene that takes place at the Boca Della Verita (Mouth of Truth), an ancient stone monument at the entrance of an old church. The legend of it said that if a liar put his hand inside the mouth, he would lose the hand. A truthful person, however, would have nothing to fear. Wyler said that he had gone sightseeing one day with his daughters to the monument and played a joke on them, sticking his hand into the mouth and pulling it out with his hand hidden under his sleeve. The joke terrified and delighted them. "So I thought there must be a place for this in the picture," said Wyler. "Especially since it's a story of two people who lie to each other." Gregory Peck remembers the gag's origins differently, however. He stated that he was the one who suggested the trick to Wyler, which was an old comedy bit from Red Skelton. So, during the scene where Peck and Hepburn visit the Mouth of Truth, Peck decided to play the gag on Hepburn without warning her ahead of time. The ruse worked, and the camera forever immortalized Hepburn's genuine shock, just before she dissolves into fits of laughter. This spontaneity meant that the final script was always somewhat of a work in progress. Ian McLellan Hunter, who had fronted for original writer Dalton Trumbo, had worked on rewrites of the screenplay when Frank Capra owned the property. Once William Wyler took over the project, however, Trumbo had no further direct involvement on the script. Wyler instead hired a British writer named John Dighton to come on location to work on the screenplay. "We had Dighton in Rome with us all the time," recalled the editor of Roman Holiday, Bob Swink. "He was writing new scenes, new lines, whatever it took. The picture was kind of put together as it went along." After Roman Holiday was well under way, Wyler supposedly regretted his decision to shoot the film in black and white and considered switching to color stock at the last minute. "I tried to switch," Wyler was later quoted, "but in those days, making pictures in color was unusual. I would have needed new filmstock, had to fly exposed film every day to London, and reorganize the production. It was just too late." Other sources contend, however, that Wyler always wanted to shoot the film in color, but budget restrictions imposed by Paramount prevented him the indulgence. As filming went on, it became more and more clear to everyone involved that Roman Holiday was going to make Audrey Hepburn a huge star. There was even talk that she might win an Academy Award. Paramount's publicity machine kicked in before Roman Holiday was even completed to start promoting their beautiful new screen discovery. by Andrea Passafiume

Roman Holiday - The Critics Corner - The Critics Corner: ROMAN HOLIDAY


AWARDS AND HONORS

Roman Holiday was selected in 1999 for inclusion in the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

Roman Holiday received ten Academy Award nominations. It won 3. Audrey Hepburn won for Best Actress, Edith Head won for Best Costume Design, and Ian McLellan Hunter won for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story. In 1993 the film's rightful author, Dalton Trumbo, was awarded an Oscar posthumously for the screenplay.

BAFTA awarded Audrey Hepburn with honors as Best British Actress for her role in Roman Holiday. BAFTA also nominated Roman Holiday for Best Film, and nominated both Gregory Peck and Eddie Albert for Best Foreign Actor.

William Wyler was nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures.

Audrey Hepburn won a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Drama.

The New York Film Critics Circle named Audrey Hepburn Best Actress for her performance.

The screenplay won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for Best Written American Comedy.

The American Film Institute named Roman Holiday #4 on its list of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories of All Time.

. THE CRITIC'S CORNER

"Call Roman Holiday a credit to William Wyler's versatility...Audrey Hepburn...is a slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike in her profound appreciation of newly-found simple pleasures and love...Gregory Peck makes a stalwart and manly escort and lover." – The New York Times.

"Paramount has a winner in this William Wyler romantic comedy-drama...Wyler used the ancient buildings and streets of Rome as a colorful and beautiful backdrop...He times the chuckles with a never-flagging pace, puts heart into the laughs, endows the footage with some off bits of business and points up some tender, poignant scenes in using the smart script and the cast to the utmost advantage." -- Variety.

"Charming...Probably no one could have brought out her [Hepburn's] skinny, long-necked gamine magic as winningly as the director William Wyler did; his calm, elegant style prepares the scenes and builds the character until she has the audience in thrall, and when she smiles we're all goners...The plot is banal, and the movie is no more than a Cinderella-style romantic comedy, but it's enough." - Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies.

"...entertaining romantic comedy..." - Georges Sadoul, Dictionary of Films.

"Wispy, charming, old-fashioned romantic comedy shot in Rome and a little obsessed by the locations; one feels that a studio base would have resulted in firmer control of the elements. The stars, however, made it memorable." - Halliwell's Film & Video Guide.

"While Capra, or in a different way Lubitsch, could have made something wholly enjoyable from it, it would seem that Wyler's technique is now too ponderously inflexible for such lightweight material." - MFB (Monthly Film Bulletin).

"Utterly charming." - Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide.

"Filmed entirely in Rome, the location does rather dominate the movie. But within time the mix of silly comedy and innocent love turns the viewer into a willing tourist. It's a trip that's over all too soon, but is a delightful escape for all concerned." - BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/films/

"William Wyler's 1953 reverse-Cinderella story Roman Holiday also spends as much time exploring a European wonderland as it spends advancing its plot, though in Wyler's case, the story is in the exploring...Wyler, working from a script by blacklistee Dalton Trumbo, lets much of the film pass without dialogue, allowing Hepburn's immediate reactions (as enchantingly passionate now as they were 50 years ago, in what was her Hollywood debut) and her increasing physical closeness to Peck say what the characters can't. The leisurely pace of Roman Holiday also allows for plenty of touristy gawking at the sights of Rome, and for viewers to project themselves into the sidewalk cafés, gelato stands, and crumbling ruins." - Noel Murray, The Onion A.V. Club.

"The film's bittersweet story is a charming romantic-comedy, a kind of Cinderella tale in reverse (with an April-October romance)...The story was reportedly based on the real-life Italian adventures of British Princess Margaret." - Tim Dirks, The Greatest Films, www.filmsite.org/

Compiled by Andrea Passafiume & Jeff Stafford

Roman Holiday - The Critics Corner - The Critics Corner: ROMAN HOLIDAY

AWARDS AND HONORS Roman Holiday was selected in 1999 for inclusion in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. Roman Holiday received ten Academy Award nominations. It won 3. Audrey Hepburn won for Best Actress, Edith Head won for Best Costume Design, and Ian McLellan Hunter won for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story. In 1993 the film's rightful author, Dalton Trumbo, was awarded an Oscar posthumously for the screenplay. BAFTA awarded Audrey Hepburn with honors as Best British Actress for her role in Roman Holiday. BAFTA also nominated Roman Holiday for Best Film, and nominated both Gregory Peck and Eddie Albert for Best Foreign Actor. William Wyler was nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures. Audrey Hepburn won a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Drama. The New York Film Critics Circle named Audrey Hepburn Best Actress for her performance. The screenplay won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for Best Written American Comedy. The American Film Institute named Roman Holiday #4 on its list of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories of All Time.. THE CRITIC'S CORNER "Call Roman Holiday a credit to William Wyler's versatility...Audrey Hepburn...is a slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike in her profound appreciation of newly-found simple pleasures and love...Gregory Peck makes a stalwart and manly escort and lover." – The New York Times. "Paramount has a winner in this William Wyler romantic comedy-drama...Wyler used the ancient buildings and streets of Rome as a colorful and beautiful backdrop...He times the chuckles with a never-flagging pace, puts heart into the laughs, endows the footage with some off bits of business and points up some tender, poignant scenes in using the smart script and the cast to the utmost advantage." -- Variety. "Charming...Probably no one could have brought out her [Hepburn's] skinny, long-necked gamine magic as winningly as the director William Wyler did; his calm, elegant style prepares the scenes and builds the character until she has the audience in thrall, and when she smiles we're all goners...The plot is banal, and the movie is no more than a Cinderella-style romantic comedy, but it's enough." - Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies. "...entertaining romantic comedy..." - Georges Sadoul, Dictionary of Films. "Wispy, charming, old-fashioned romantic comedy shot in Rome and a little obsessed by the locations; one feels that a studio base would have resulted in firmer control of the elements. The stars, however, made it memorable." - Halliwell's Film & Video Guide. "While Capra, or in a different way Lubitsch, could have made something wholly enjoyable from it, it would seem that Wyler's technique is now too ponderously inflexible for such lightweight material." - MFB (Monthly Film Bulletin). "Utterly charming." - Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. "Filmed entirely in Rome, the location does rather dominate the movie. But within time the mix of silly comedy and innocent love turns the viewer into a willing tourist. It's a trip that's over all too soon, but is a delightful escape for all concerned." - BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/films/ "William Wyler's 1953 reverse-Cinderella story Roman Holiday also spends as much time exploring a European wonderland as it spends advancing its plot, though in Wyler's case, the story is in the exploring...Wyler, working from a script by blacklistee Dalton Trumbo, lets much of the film pass without dialogue, allowing Hepburn's immediate reactions (as enchantingly passionate now as they were 50 years ago, in what was her Hollywood debut) and her increasing physical closeness to Peck say what the characters can't. The leisurely pace of Roman Holiday also allows for plenty of touristy gawking at the sights of Rome, and for viewers to project themselves into the sidewalk cafés, gelato stands, and crumbling ruins." - Noel Murray, The Onion A.V. Club. "The film's bittersweet story is a charming romantic-comedy, a kind of Cinderella tale in reverse (with an April-October romance)...The story was reportedly based on the real-life Italian adventures of British Princess Margaret." - Tim Dirks, The Greatest Films, www.filmsite.org/ Compiled by Andrea Passafiume & Jeff Stafford

Roman Holiday


Roman Holiday is the film that introduced Audrey Hepburn to the world and made her an instant star. The Belgian-born actress was a total unknown before Roman Holiday, having acted in only a few bit parts in European films and some minor roles on stage. Audiences everywhere fell in love with her, and she won an Academy Award for her performance. It also marked the beginning of Audrey Hepburn as a bona fide style icon. Her brunette hair and slim figure gave her a unique gamine look that set her apart from other actresses of her time. Her haircut and clothes in Roman Holiday influenced fashion, and women everywhere began to copy her look.

Roman Holiday is often hailed as the perfect film romance. A modern twist on the Cinderella story, the movie is a simple tale of a young princess incognito, experiencing the world on her own. Director William Wyler insisted on shooting Roman Holiday on location in Italy, something that was quite rare to do at the time. Though Paramount offered to build sets, Wyler was adamant that no set could ever capture the ancient beauty of the Eternal City. Roman Holiday gave American filmgoers a chance to get an insiderís glimpse of Rome at a time when it wasnít that common to travel internationally. According to a July 1952 New York Times article, Roman Holiday was the first Hollywood film to be shot and processed entirely in Italy.

It also marked the first comedy that William Wyler had made since The Gay Deception in 1935, and it marked a triumphant return to the genre for him. Roman Holiday was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won three, including Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn), Best Costume Design (Edith Head), and Best Original Screenplay (Ian McLellan Hunter/Dalton Trumbo).

Though he wouldnít receive official credit for it until more than 35 years after the release of Roman Holiday (and 15 years following his death), writer Dalton Trumbo was the story and idea man behind this film. Trumbo had been a very successful screenwriter in Hollywood during the 1930s and 40s. However, when he was investigated by the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), a group dedicated to uncovering suspected Communist sympathizers within the entertainment community, Trumbo's career was ruined. His refusal to testify before the organization and name names made him a part of the Hollywood Ten--a group of industry professionals who all refused to testify before HUAC. As a result, Trumbo was blacklisted from working within the entertainment industry and was forced to serve time in jail.

Dalton was flat broke, recalled his wife Cleo. He had just emerged from ten months in jail for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. His only solution was to write. One of the original stories the blacklisted Trumbo pounded out during this dark period was Roman Holiday. He knew it was a winner, but because of his blacklisted status, he could not sell the script with his own name attached.

To deal with this problem, Trumbo did what many of the blacklisted writers of the time did: he asked a friend to front for him. Trumbo asked fellow writer Ian McLellan Hunter to put his name on the script and sell it for him. Hunter was a bit conflicted about the deception, but in the end he decided to do it. ìIf somethingís phony,î said Hunter, ìit drives me crazy. But I was stuckÖYour friend is blacklisted and he needs money.î

Hunter had no trouble selling the charming story, which was purchased by Frank Capraís company, Liberty Films, for $50,000. Hunter was put on salary by Paramount, and he began working on a rewrite of the screenplay while Frank Capra worked on putting the picture together with himself as director and Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor in the leading roles. Many sources claim that Capra eventually abandoned the project, which would have been his second feature for Paramount, due to the strict budget limitations placed on him. While that may have been part of it, Ian McLellan Hunter always maintained that Capra was just too afraid to make Roman Holiday because of its association with a leftist writer. ìHe was scared that people would say he had nothing but Communist stuff,î said Hunter.

Roman Holiday. Wyler, who was an established Academy Award®-winning director of films such as Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and Detective Story (1951), was looking forward to making a comedy, which he hadnít done since The Gay Deception in 1935.

Wyler set the condition with Paramount that he would only make Roman Holiday if he could shoot it on location in Rome. Frank Freeman, the Paramount Studio Chief at the time, was against location shooting for budgetary and logistical reasons. Freeman suggested that Wyler instead send a second unit to Rome for long shots using doubles for the actors while shooting everything else in the Hollywood studio with sets and rear projection. To that Wyler reportedly said, ìYou canít build me the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps. Iíll shoot the whole picture in Rome or else I wonít make it.î He knew there would be no faking the timeless beauty of the Eternal City.

Finally, Paramount relented, allowing Wyler to shoot the film in Rome as long as he financed it with some blocked funds that the studio had in Italy. Using the funds meant that the Italian government would have to approve the script before freeing any money, and the budget was set at approximately $1,000,000. It was important to the Italian government that Italy not be made fun of or depicted in a negative manner. Annibale Scicluna, head of the Italian Ministry of Entertainment, didnít approve the script at first. ìYou canít block money to make fun of Italy,î she told Wyler. ìYou make fun of Italian police, of the Italian people.î Wyler responded, ìThatís right, but we also make fun of an American newspaperman, of American tourists. We make fun of royalty. We make fun of everybody. Itís a comedy!î With Wylerís promise to not do anything to demean the Italian people, the funds were freed so the film could go forward. Wyler always knew that he wanted an unknown in the starring role of Princess Ann and felt that using an unfamiliar actor would help audiences more easily believe the characterís royal status. However, to use an unknown was risky, and that meant he would first need the male lead to be an established star to lend weight to the project.

Cary Grant had originally been approached to play the role of American journalist Joe Bradley back when Frank Capra planned to direct. However, Grant turned it down, noting that the male lead in Roman Holiday would be inconsequential compared to the role of Princess Ann. William Wyler later offered the part to established star Gregory Peck, who initially balked for the same reason Cary Grant did: his part was secondary to the role of the princess. In an interview 30 years later Peck recalled that he often played second fiddle to Cary Grant, too. ìI always felt every time someone sent me a comedy script,î said Peck with a twinkle, ìthat Cary Grant had seen it first and had turned it down.î Eventually, however, Wyler convinced Peck to take the role.

Once Gregory Peck was securely onboard, Wyler began preparations to shoot in Rome. At the same time, Wyler began looking for his Princess Ann. He wanted a girl with grace and elegance who had a non-American accentóa girl you could truly believe was a princess. On his way to Rome, Wyler stopped in London to see several actresses for the part, including a young doe-eyed ingÈnue named Audrey Hepburn.

The head of Paramountís London production office, Richard Mealand, had already written the home office about a new actress he was considering for the role: ìI have another candidate for Roman Holiday--Audrey Hepburn,î he wrote. ìI was struck by her playing of a bit part in Laughter in Paradise.î At the time, Hepburn was a complete unknown, having only done a few bit parts in European-made films and a few insignificant stage roles. Wyler set up a meeting with her. Years later Hepburn recalled getting the call from her agent: ìHe told me a movie was going to be made called Roman Holiday,î she said. ìThey wanted an unknown, and they were going to test a great many girls. To get the test I had to meet a man named William Wyler. I had no idea who he was. So one day I got an appointment to go to Claridgeís. I went up to his room wearing my one and only proper dress. I was quite apprehensive.î

The meeting went well, and Wyler was impressed, finding Hepburn ìvery alert, very smart, very talented, and very ambitious.î As Wyler flew on to Rome to begin preparations for the shoot, he ordered a screen test of the lovely 22-year-old Hepburn to be shot at Pinewood Studios. In a now legendary move, Wyler told the British director Thorold Dickinson, who was to shoot the screen test, to keep the camera rolling once Hepburn thought that the test was over. He wanted to see what she was like when the cameras stopped rolling to get a sense of her natural, relaxed state, which he believed was crucial to how her personality would translate on film. ìA test is a precarious thing,î Wyler explained later. ìA good actress might make a very bad test, depending on conditions. You might not get her true personality, because of nervousness or whatever.î The ploy worked. Once she thought the test was over, Thorold told Hepburn to change her clothes and come back for a casual chat. During their conversation in which they discussed her life including her experiences during World War II, Hepburn only became aware that the camera was still rolling about halfway through their talk.

Once Paramount executives and William Wyler saw Hepburnís screen test, they were sold. ìShe was absolutely delightful,î said Wyler. ìActing, looks, and personality! She was absolutely enchanting and we said, ëThatís the girl!íî Though some sources say that Wyler was also seriously considering actress Suzanne Cloutier for the part, it was Hepburn they were excited about. The Hollywood Paramount office sent a cable to the London office that said, ìExercise the option on this lady. The test is certainly one of the best ever made in Hollywood, New York or London.

If there was one concern that Wyler had with Hepburnís screen test, it was a surprising one considering her iconic image today. He thought that Hepburn might be too heavy. The screen test does betray Hepburn at probably the heaviest she was ever captured on film, though she was far from overweight. When she discovered this impression of her from Wyler much later, she confessed that she had been eating a little too much at the time. ìI ate everything in sight,î she said, ìhaving been undernourished during the war. You know, whole boxes of chocolates. I was ten pounds more than I ever weighed in my life. Itís funny to think I might not have gotten the part because I was too fat, because from then on everybody thought I was too thin.î

There was one thing preventing Audrey Hepburn from starting production on Roman Holiday immediately. Earlier that same year Hepburn had been spotted by the famous French writer Colette while on location in Monaco shooting a small role for a French made picture. Colette had been looking for a young ingÈnue to play the title role in the Broadway stage adaptation of her beloved story Gigi. She, like Wyler, had taken one look at her and known that she had found her girl. Hepburn had already committed to doing the role in New York when she got the offer for Roman Holiday.

Paramount, happy to have finally found the ideal screen princess, signed Hepburn to do Roman Holiday following her stint on Broadway in Gigi, regardless of how long the play ran ó a big risk for the studio that displayed tremendous faith in their new find. The studio initially offered her a 7-year contract, but she thought it was too long of a commitment. Negotiating a deal that was more to her liking, Hepburn wound up with a 2-year movie deal with Paramount with a clause allowing her to act in stage plays and television if she chose. Gigi closed after a successful run of 217 performances, and Hepburn was now free to work on the film that would make her a star.

There was one small problem with Audrey Hepburn that the studios wanted to change. There was another very famous actress already in the film business with the same last name - Katharine Hepburn. The latter was not related in any way to Audrey, but Paramount wanted Audrey to change her last name to avoid confusion. Hepburn, however, refused, and that was that. There would be two Hepburns in Hollywood now.

Producer: William Wyler
Director: William Wyler
Screenplay: Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton
Based on a story by Hunter [Dalton Trumbo]
Cinematography: Franz Planer, Henri Alekan
Art Direction: Hal Pereira, Walter Tyler
Music: Georges Auric, Victor Young (uncredited)
Cast: Gregory Peck (Joe Bradley), Audrey Hepburn (Princess Ann), Eddie Albert (Irving Radovich), Hartley Power (Mr. Hennessy), Laura Solari (Hennessy's Secretary), Harcourt Williams (Ambassador), Margaret Rawlings (Countess Vereberg).
BW-119m. Closed captioning.

by Andrea Passafiume

Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday is the film that introduced Audrey Hepburn to the world and made her an instant star. The Belgian-born actress was a total unknown before Roman Holiday, having acted in only a few bit parts in European films and some minor roles on stage. Audiences everywhere fell in love with her, and she won an Academy Award for her performance. It also marked the beginning of Audrey Hepburn as a bona fide style icon. Her brunette hair and slim figure gave her a unique gamine look that set her apart from other actresses of her time. Her haircut and clothes in Roman Holiday influenced fashion, and women everywhere began to copy her look. Roman Holiday is often hailed as the perfect film romance. A modern twist on the Cinderella story, the movie is a simple tale of a young princess incognito, experiencing the world on her own. Director William Wyler insisted on shooting Roman Holiday on location in Italy, something that was quite rare to do at the time. Though Paramount offered to build sets, Wyler was adamant that no set could ever capture the ancient beauty of the Eternal City. Roman Holiday gave American filmgoers a chance to get an insiderís glimpse of Rome at a time when it wasnít that common to travel internationally. According to a July 1952 New York Times article, Roman Holiday was the first Hollywood film to be shot and processed entirely in Italy. It also marked the first comedy that William Wyler had made since The Gay Deception in 1935, and it marked a triumphant return to the genre for him. Roman Holiday was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won three, including Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn), Best Costume Design (Edith Head), and Best Original Screenplay (Ian McLellan Hunter/Dalton Trumbo). Though he wouldnít receive official credit for it until more than 35 years after the release of Roman Holiday (and 15 years following his death), writer Dalton Trumbo was the story and idea man behind this film. Trumbo had been a very successful screenwriter in Hollywood during the 1930s and 40s. However, when he was investigated by the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), a group dedicated to uncovering suspected Communist sympathizers within the entertainment community, Trumbo's career was ruined. His refusal to testify before the organization and name names made him a part of the Hollywood Ten--a group of industry professionals who all refused to testify before HUAC. As a result, Trumbo was blacklisted from working within the entertainment industry and was forced to serve time in jail. Dalton was flat broke, recalled his wife Cleo. He had just emerged from ten months in jail for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. His only solution was to write. One of the original stories the blacklisted Trumbo pounded out during this dark period was Roman Holiday. He knew it was a winner, but because of his blacklisted status, he could not sell the script with his own name attached. To deal with this problem, Trumbo did what many of the blacklisted writers of the time did: he asked a friend to front for him. Trumbo asked fellow writer Ian McLellan Hunter to put his name on the script and sell it for him. Hunter was a bit conflicted about the deception, but in the end he decided to do it. ìIf somethingís phony,î said Hunter, ìit drives me crazy. But I was stuckÖYour friend is blacklisted and he needs money.î Hunter had no trouble selling the charming story, which was purchased by Frank Capraís company, Liberty Films, for $50,000. Hunter was put on salary by Paramount, and he began working on a rewrite of the screenplay while Frank Capra worked on putting the picture together with himself as director and Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor in the leading roles. Many sources claim that Capra eventually abandoned the project, which would have been his second feature for Paramount, due to the strict budget limitations placed on him. While that may have been part of it, Ian McLellan Hunter always maintained that Capra was just too afraid to make Roman Holiday because of its association with a leftist writer. ìHe was scared that people would say he had nothing but Communist stuff,î said Hunter.

Roman Holiday


Audrey Hepburn made one of the most successful Hollywood debuts of all time in Roman Holiday (1953), an enchanting romantic comedy often described as Cinderella in reverse. The role of a princess who runs from her royal retainers to experience the joys of real-life during one glorious day in Rome was an unparalleled showcase for the young actress, making her an international star and bringing her an Oscar®.

The project had been conceived by Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted writer who had been part of the original "Hollywood Ten," filmmakers who went to prison and lost their careers for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Over the years, Trumbo wrote several scripts under pseudonyms or through fronts, friends who paid him for scripts they then submitted as their own. In this case, he had Ian McLellan Hunter submit the script for him. Director Frank Capra picked up the project for his recently formed independent production company, Liberty Films. McLellan gave Trumbo the entire $50,000 fee for the story (many fronts were far less generous), then went on contract to write the first draft.

Capra planned to direct Roman Holiday, a story with a strong resemblance to his earlier hit It Happened One Night (1934), with Elizabeth Taylor as the princess and Cary Grant as the reporter who takes her under his wing to get a story. Then Liberty ran into financial difficulties with its first release, Capra's State of the Union (1948). The director sold the company and its undeveloped properties to Paramount Pictures, hoping to make Roman Holiday for them. But Hollywood was tightening its belt to deal with the declining box office of the post-war years, and the studio would not give him a budget of more than $1.5 million, so he dropped out. Later biographers have suggested that the ultra-conservative Capra had discovered the story's true author and did not want to get mixed up with a blacklisted writer.

Paramount then offered the project to William Wyler, who accepted on condition that they shoot the film entirely on location. This would provide advantages for both director and studio. It allowed Paramount to make the film with European assets that had been frozen after the war, while Wyler got to take advantage of a recent law exempting U.S. citizens from paying income taxes if they worked out of the country for 18 months or more. As a result, Roman Holiday was the first U.S. picture since World War II shot entirely in Rome

Wyler's first choice for the male lead was Gregory Peck, a matinee idol who was looking for a comedy to follow a string of action films. But Peck initially turned the role down, feeling that the female lead was clearly the film's star. Wyler shamed him into accepting the role, a change of heart Peck would never regret.

Jean Simmons was the first actress Wyler pursued for the role of Princess Ann, but she was currently under contract to Howard Hughes at RKO Pictures. Her schedule and Hughes's financial demands made the casting impossible. The director then decided the role needed to be played by a newcomer. Passing through England on his way to scout Roman locations, he interviewed five young actresses and was so impressed with Hepburn he suggested the studio place her under contract even if she didn't do Roman Holiday. Unable to film her screen test himself, he left instructions that the cameras be kept running after she had finished her scenes. As a result, he got to see how her personality registered spontaneously. The results were magical, as she kidded around with the crew after the take and then realized the cameras were still turning. Wyler asked that Paramount sign her for the film.

There was only one problem. Hepburn had just signed with a Broadway producer to star in Gigi, a stage adaptation of some stories by the French writer Colette, who had personally selected Hepburn for the role. She was committed for the Broadway run and a possible tour that could keep her tied up for two years. Fortunately, Peck was experiencing production delays on The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952) that meant holding up production anyway. Paramount executives convinced Gigi's producer to postpone the show's tour so they could film as soon as Hepburn had finished the play's Broadway run. When it became a hit, they even paid him not to extend the run into the summer. The payment was well worth it, as the delayed tour drummed up publicity for the film.

Although she had appeared in seven European films, including the classic comedy The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), Hepburn knew she was still a newcomer and put herself completely in Wyler's hands. She found his tendency to shoot as many as 40 takes of a single scene the perfect way to perfect her film acting technique. For his part, he conspired with Peck to add surprising bits of business to the scenes so that he could capture her spontaneous responses. The most famous of these is the scene at the "Mouth of Truth," a statue that, according to legend, would devour the hand of any liar foolish enough to put his or her hand in its mouth. Although the script called for Peck to put his hand in the mouth and pretend he couldn't get it out, Peck and Wyler added a bit in which he hides his hand within his jacket sleeve, making it appear that the statue really has eaten it. Hepburn responded with genuine horror followed by uninhibited laughter when Peck revealed the joke. For once, Wyler got a scene in just one take.

There were problems, however, when Hepburn had to cry during the scene in which she finally leaves Peck. They worked for hours, but the tears wouldn't come, not even when the makeup man sprayed camphor in her eyes. Finally, Wyler chewed her out in front of the entire crew. Humiliated, Hepburn got the tears on the next take, after which Wyler apologized.

Peck was so impressed with Hepburn's work he called his agent during production and demanded that she be given equal billing to his. At first, Paramount executives resisted, but when they saw the rushes, they realized that her performance was going to sell the picture as surely as would Peck's name. The two stars became close friends during the filming and would remain so for years. In fact, when Peck's marriage broke up during his European stay, rumors flew that Hepburn had stolen him from his wife. In truth, the marriage had been in trouble for some time, and shortly after finishing the film, Peck fell in love with French journalist Veronique Passani, who would be his wife for almost 50 years. He also introduced Hepburn to actor-director Mel Ferrer, who would become her first husband.

Roman Holiday did indeed make Hepburn a star, also bringing her the New York Film Critics Award, a Golden Globe, a British Academy Award and an Oscar®. Surprisingly, it wasn't a huge hit in the U.S., though that would be more than made up for by its success overseas. On its initial run, it was one of the most popular U.S. films shown in Europe. It was a hit all over again in Moscow in 1960. And it was a surprise hit in Japan, where young women just beginning to feel the need for independence chose Hepburn as their role model. Years later, Wyler was amazed to tour Japan and see women there wearing her hairstyle from the film.

Along with Hepburn, the film won an Oscar® for its original story, though the award only went to credited writer Hunter. Eventually, Trumbo's authorship came out, and the Motion Picture Academy presented an Oscar® to his widow at a 1993 screening of the film. His name was added to the credits for the film's 2002 DVD release.

Producer: William Wyler
Director: William Wyler
Screenplay: Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton
Based on a story by Hunter [Dalton Trumbo]
Cinematography: Franz Planer, Henri Alekan
Art Direction: Hal Pereira, Walter Tyler
Music: Georges Auric, Victor Young (uncredited)
Cast: Gregory Peck (Joe Bradley), Audrey Hepburn (Princess Ann), Eddie Albert (Irving Radovich), Hartley Power (Mr. Hennessy), Laura Solari (Hennessy's Secretary), Harcourt Williams (Ambassador), Margaret Rawlings (Countess Vereberg).
BW-119m. Closed captioning.

by Frank Miller

Roman Holiday

Audrey Hepburn made one of the most successful Hollywood debuts of all time in Roman Holiday (1953), an enchanting romantic comedy often described as Cinderella in reverse. The role of a princess who runs from her royal retainers to experience the joys of real-life during one glorious day in Rome was an unparalleled showcase for the young actress, making her an international star and bringing her an Oscar®. The project had been conceived by Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted writer who had been part of the original "Hollywood Ten," filmmakers who went to prison and lost their careers for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Over the years, Trumbo wrote several scripts under pseudonyms or through fronts, friends who paid him for scripts they then submitted as their own. In this case, he had Ian McLellan Hunter submit the script for him. Director Frank Capra picked up the project for his recently formed independent production company, Liberty Films. McLellan gave Trumbo the entire $50,000 fee for the story (many fronts were far less generous), then went on contract to write the first draft. Capra planned to direct Roman Holiday, a story with a strong resemblance to his earlier hit It Happened One Night (1934), with Elizabeth Taylor as the princess and Cary Grant as the reporter who takes her under his wing to get a story. Then Liberty ran into financial difficulties with its first release, Capra's State of the Union (1948). The director sold the company and its undeveloped properties to Paramount Pictures, hoping to make Roman Holiday for them. But Hollywood was tightening its belt to deal with the declining box office of the post-war years, and the studio would not give him a budget of more than $1.5 million, so he dropped out. Later biographers have suggested that the ultra-conservative Capra had discovered the story's true author and did not want to get mixed up with a blacklisted writer. Paramount then offered the project to William Wyler, who accepted on condition that they shoot the film entirely on location. This would provide advantages for both director and studio. It allowed Paramount to make the film with European assets that had been frozen after the war, while Wyler got to take advantage of a recent law exempting U.S. citizens from paying income taxes if they worked out of the country for 18 months or more. As a result, Roman Holiday was the first U.S. picture since World War II shot entirely in Rome Wyler's first choice for the male lead was Gregory Peck, a matinee idol who was looking for a comedy to follow a string of action films. But Peck initially turned the role down, feeling that the female lead was clearly the film's star. Wyler shamed him into accepting the role, a change of heart Peck would never regret. Jean Simmons was the first actress Wyler pursued for the role of Princess Ann, but she was currently under contract to Howard Hughes at RKO Pictures. Her schedule and Hughes's financial demands made the casting impossible. The director then decided the role needed to be played by a newcomer. Passing through England on his way to scout Roman locations, he interviewed five young actresses and was so impressed with Hepburn he suggested the studio place her under contract even if she didn't do Roman Holiday. Unable to film her screen test himself, he left instructions that the cameras be kept running after she had finished her scenes. As a result, he got to see how her personality registered spontaneously. The results were magical, as she kidded around with the crew after the take and then realized the cameras were still turning. Wyler asked that Paramount sign her for the film. There was only one problem. Hepburn had just signed with a Broadway producer to star in Gigi, a stage adaptation of some stories by the French writer Colette, who had personally selected Hepburn for the role. She was committed for the Broadway run and a possible tour that could keep her tied up for two years. Fortunately, Peck was experiencing production delays on The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952) that meant holding up production anyway. Paramount executives convinced Gigi's producer to postpone the show's tour so they could film as soon as Hepburn had finished the play's Broadway run. When it became a hit, they even paid him not to extend the run into the summer. The payment was well worth it, as the delayed tour drummed up publicity for the film. Although she had appeared in seven European films, including the classic comedy The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), Hepburn knew she was still a newcomer and put herself completely in Wyler's hands. She found his tendency to shoot as many as 40 takes of a single scene the perfect way to perfect her film acting technique. For his part, he conspired with Peck to add surprising bits of business to the scenes so that he could capture her spontaneous responses. The most famous of these is the scene at the "Mouth of Truth," a statue that, according to legend, would devour the hand of any liar foolish enough to put his or her hand in its mouth. Although the script called for Peck to put his hand in the mouth and pretend he couldn't get it out, Peck and Wyler added a bit in which he hides his hand within his jacket sleeve, making it appear that the statue really has eaten it. Hepburn responded with genuine horror followed by uninhibited laughter when Peck revealed the joke. For once, Wyler got a scene in just one take. There were problems, however, when Hepburn had to cry during the scene in which she finally leaves Peck. They worked for hours, but the tears wouldn't come, not even when the makeup man sprayed camphor in her eyes. Finally, Wyler chewed her out in front of the entire crew. Humiliated, Hepburn got the tears on the next take, after which Wyler apologized. Peck was so impressed with Hepburn's work he called his agent during production and demanded that she be given equal billing to his. At first, Paramount executives resisted, but when they saw the rushes, they realized that her performance was going to sell the picture as surely as would Peck's name. The two stars became close friends during the filming and would remain so for years. In fact, when Peck's marriage broke up during his European stay, rumors flew that Hepburn had stolen him from his wife. In truth, the marriage had been in trouble for some time, and shortly after finishing the film, Peck fell in love with French journalist Veronique Passani, who would be his wife for almost 50 years. He also introduced Hepburn to actor-director Mel Ferrer, who would become her first husband. Roman Holiday did indeed make Hepburn a star, also bringing her the New York Film Critics Award, a Golden Globe, a British Academy Award and an Oscar®. Surprisingly, it wasn't a huge hit in the U.S., though that would be more than made up for by its success overseas. On its initial run, it was one of the most popular U.S. films shown in Europe. It was a hit all over again in Moscow in 1960. And it was a surprise hit in Japan, where young women just beginning to feel the need for independence chose Hepburn as their role model. Years later, Wyler was amazed to tour Japan and see women there wearing her hairstyle from the film. Along with Hepburn, the film won an Oscar® for its original story, though the award only went to credited writer Hunter. Eventually, Trumbo's authorship came out, and the Motion Picture Academy presented an Oscar® to his widow at a 1993 screening of the film. His name was added to the credits for the film's 2002 DVD release. Producer: William Wyler Director: William Wyler Screenplay: Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton Based on a story by Hunter [Dalton Trumbo] Cinematography: Franz Planer, Henri Alekan Art Direction: Hal Pereira, Walter Tyler Music: Georges Auric, Victor Young (uncredited) Cast: Gregory Peck (Joe Bradley), Audrey Hepburn (Princess Ann), Eddie Albert (Irving Radovich), Hartley Power (Mr. Hennessy), Laura Solari (Hennessy's Secretary), Harcourt Williams (Ambassador), Margaret Rawlings (Countess Vereberg). BW-119m. Closed captioning. by Frank Miller

Eddie Albert (1906-2005)


Eddie Albert, a versatile film and television actor whose career spanned over seven decades, and who will forever be cherished by pop culture purists for his role as Oliver Douglas, that Manhattan attorney who sought pleasures from the simple life when he bought a rundown farm in the long-running sitcom Green Acres, died of pneummonia on May 26, at his Pacific Palisades home. He was 99.

The son of a real estate agent, Albert was born Edward Albert Heimberger in Rock Island, Ill., on April 22, 1906. His family relocated to Minneapolis when he was still an infant. Long entralled by theatre, he studied drama at the University of Minnesota. After years of developing his acting chops in touring companies, summer stock and a stint with a Mexican circus, he signed a contract with Warner Bros. and made his film debut in Brother Rat (1938). Although hardly a stellar early film career, he made some pleasant B-pictures, playing slap happy youths in Brother Rat and a Baby (1940), and The Wagons Roll at Night (1941).

His career was interrupted for military service for World War II, and after his stint (1942-45), he came back and developed a stronger, more mature screen image: Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947); Carrie (1952); his Oscar® nominated turn as the Bohemian photographer friend of Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953); a charming Ali Hakim in Oklahoma (1955); and to many critics, his finest hour as an actor, when he was cast unnervingly against type as a cowardly military officer whose lack of commitment to his troops results in their deaths in Attack! (1956).

As he settled into middle-age, Albert discovered belated fame when he made the move to Hooterville. For six seasons (1965-71), television viewers loved Eddie Albert as Oliver Wendal Douglas, the bemused city slicker who, along with his charming wife Lisa (Eva Gabor), takes a chance on buying a farm in the country and dealing with all the strange characters that come along their way. Of course, I'm talking about Green Acres. If he did nothing else, Alberts proved he could be a stalwart straight man in the most inane situations, and pull it off with grace.

After the run of Green Acres, Albert found two of his best roles in the late stages of his career that once again cast him against his genial, good-natured persona: the fiercly overprotective father of Cybill Shepherd in The Heartbreak Kid (1972), for which he earned his second Oscar® nomination; and the sadistic warden in Robert Aldrich's raucous gridiron comedy The Longest Yard (1974). Soon, Albert was in demand again, and he had another hit series, playing a retired police officer who partners with a retired con artist (Robert Wagner) to form a detective agency in Switch (1975-78).

The good roles slowed down slightly by the dawn of the '80s, both film: The Concorde: Airport '79 (1979), How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980), Take This Job and Shove It (1981); and television: Highway to Heaven, Murder, She Wrote, Thirtysomething, offered him little in the way of expansion. Yet, Albert spent his golden years in a most admirable fashion, he became something of activist for world health and pollution issues throughout the latter stages of his life. It is widely acknowledged that International Earth Day (April 22) is honored on his birthday for his tireless work on environemental matters. Albert was married to famed hispanic actress Margo (1945-85) until her death, and is survived by his son, actor Edward Albert, a daughter, and two granddaughters.

by Michael T. Toole

Eddie Albert (1906-2005)

Eddie Albert, a versatile film and television actor whose career spanned over seven decades, and who will forever be cherished by pop culture purists for his role as Oliver Douglas, that Manhattan attorney who sought pleasures from the simple life when he bought a rundown farm in the long-running sitcom Green Acres, died of pneummonia on May 26, at his Pacific Palisades home. He was 99. The son of a real estate agent, Albert was born Edward Albert Heimberger in Rock Island, Ill., on April 22, 1906. His family relocated to Minneapolis when he was still an infant. Long entralled by theatre, he studied drama at the University of Minnesota. After years of developing his acting chops in touring companies, summer stock and a stint with a Mexican circus, he signed a contract with Warner Bros. and made his film debut in Brother Rat (1938). Although hardly a stellar early film career, he made some pleasant B-pictures, playing slap happy youths in Brother Rat and a Baby (1940), and The Wagons Roll at Night (1941). His career was interrupted for military service for World War II, and after his stint (1942-45), he came back and developed a stronger, more mature screen image: Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947); Carrie (1952); his Oscar® nominated turn as the Bohemian photographer friend of Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953); a charming Ali Hakim in Oklahoma (1955); and to many critics, his finest hour as an actor, when he was cast unnervingly against type as a cowardly military officer whose lack of commitment to his troops results in their deaths in Attack! (1956). As he settled into middle-age, Albert discovered belated fame when he made the move to Hooterville. For six seasons (1965-71), television viewers loved Eddie Albert as Oliver Wendal Douglas, the bemused city slicker who, along with his charming wife Lisa (Eva Gabor), takes a chance on buying a farm in the country and dealing with all the strange characters that come along their way. Of course, I'm talking about Green Acres. If he did nothing else, Alberts proved he could be a stalwart straight man in the most inane situations, and pull it off with grace. After the run of Green Acres, Albert found two of his best roles in the late stages of his career that once again cast him against his genial, good-natured persona: the fiercly overprotective father of Cybill Shepherd in The Heartbreak Kid (1972), for which he earned his second Oscar® nomination; and the sadistic warden in Robert Aldrich's raucous gridiron comedy The Longest Yard (1974). Soon, Albert was in demand again, and he had another hit series, playing a retired police officer who partners with a retired con artist (Robert Wagner) to form a detective agency in Switch (1975-78). The good roles slowed down slightly by the dawn of the '80s, both film: The Concorde: Airport '79 (1979), How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980), Take This Job and Shove It (1981); and television: Highway to Heaven, Murder, She Wrote, Thirtysomething, offered him little in the way of expansion. Yet, Albert spent his golden years in a most admirable fashion, he became something of activist for world health and pollution issues throughout the latter stages of his life. It is widely acknowledged that International Earth Day (April 22) is honored on his birthday for his tireless work on environemental matters. Albert was married to famed hispanic actress Margo (1945-85) until her death, and is survived by his son, actor Edward Albert, a daughter, and two granddaughters. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

You should always wear my clothes.
- Joe Bradley
It seems I do.
- Princess Ann
She's fair game, Joe. It's always open season on princesses.
- Irving Radovich
I hate this nightgown. I hate all my nightgowns, and I hate all my underwear too.
- Princess Ann
My dear, you have lovely things.
- Countess
But I'm not two hundred years old. Why can't I sleep in pajamas?
- Princess Ann
Pajamas!?
- Countess
Just the top part. Did you know that there are people who sleep with absolutely nothing on at all?
- Princess Ann
I rejoice to say I do not.
- Countess
Do you have a silk nightgown with rosebuds?
- Princess Ann
I haven't worn a nightgown in years!
- Joe Bradley
I've never been alone with a man before, even with my dress on. With my dress off, it's MOST unusual.
- Princess Ann

Trivia

When filming the scene where the princess (Audrey Hepburn) says her goodbyes to Joe, the inexperienced Hepburn was unable to produce the necessary tears, eventually causing director William Wyler to complain at the number of wasted takes. Hepburn promptly burst into tears and the scene was filmed successfully.

The joke where Joe (Gregory Peck) pretends that his hand was bitten off in the mouth of the stone carving was adlibbed by Peck, and thus Hepburn's reaction is genuine.

After filming, Peck informed the producers that, as Hepburn was certainly going to win an Oscar (for this, her first major role), they had better put her name above the title. They did and she did.

This was originally a project for Frank Capra, who had planned to cast Cary Grant and 'Taylor, Elizabeth' in the parts played by Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.

William Wyler at first wanted 'Simmons, Jean' to play Ann, and reportedly nearly canceled the project when Simmons proved unavailable.

Notes

As noted in the opening credits, "this film was photographed and recorded in its entirety in Rome, Italy." According to a July 1952 New York Times article, Roman Holiday was the first Hollywood picture to be shot and processed in Italy. The film opens with a phony Paramount News "News Flash," in which stock footage of London, Paris and Rome is intercut with shots of Audrey Hepburn as her character, "Princess Anne."
       According to modern news items and a modern interview with Ian McLellan Hunter, blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was a member of the "Hollywood Ten," was the actual writer of the film's story. Credited writer Hunter fronted for Trumbo, and Hunter's agent sold the screen story to producer-director Frank Capra under Hunter's name. Hunter then wrote a draft of the screenplay for Capra. In October 1991, the Writers Guild of America West, acting on the recommendations of its ad hoc blacklist credits committee, officially credited Trumbo with the film's story, and awarded him with the same Guild screenplay prize that Hunter and co-screenwriter John Dighton shared in 1954. Although he refused to attend the ceremony, Hunter also won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Motion Picture Story), which AMPAS restored to Trumbo posthumously in 1993. According to a modern source, director William Wyler's longtime collaborator, Lester Koenig, went to Rome to work on the script of Roman Holiday, but also did not receive credit because of blacklisting. For more information about blacklisting and the Hollywood Ten, see entry for Crossfire in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50. For more information about the Writers Guild blacklist credits committee, for The Las Vegas Story.
       Paramount production files contained at the AMPAS Library note that in October 1949, Paramount purchased the rights to the screen story from Capra's Liberty production company for $35,000. Capra is listed as the film's producer-director on early budget estimates and scripts. Modern sources claim that Capra had arranged for Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor to star in the picture, but backed out before production began because he felt that he could not make the film for 1.5 million dollars, Paramount's then budget ceiling. Ben Hecht worked on the screenplay from June to October 1951, according to Paramount production files, but ultimately waived his credit. His version was markedly different from the completed picture. Paramount records note that Preston Sturges worked on the script in March 1952, and that Valentine Davies was hired for two days of revisions. The contribution of these writers to the final film, if any, has not been determined. Modern sources note that the last scene was rewritten many times.
       According to modern sources, Wyler resisted the studio's suggestion to shoot most of the picture on the lot and insisted on filming in Rome. Studio interiors were filmed at the Cinecittà facilities in Rome. Paramount production files indicate that the following Roman locations were used in the picture: Via Ruggero Fauro; Ciampino Airport; Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Colonna, which were used for the embassy scenes; Piazza Venezia, where the motorscooter scene was filmed; Via Morgangni, the location of the wishing wall; Roman Forum; the Colosseum; the Bocca della Verità; Via Nuova; the Spanish Steps; Via dei Giardini; Palazzo Brancaccio, which provided the princess' embassy bedroom; Piazza Ungheria, Via IV Fontane; Castel St. Angelo; Ponte Vittorio; Piazza de Trevi; Piazza Quirinale, where the police station scene was recorded; Piazza del Pantheon; and Via Margutta, the site of "Joe's" apartment. According to Paramount records, the lengthy production cost approximately $2,092,487 and was about $700,000 over budget. Modern sources note that the picture was financed with blocked funds, which Paramount was allowed to use only after getting script approval from the Italian government. According to the Variety review, some prints of Roman Holiday were "available for wide-screen projection."
       Roman Holiday marked Wyler's first comedy film since the 1935 Twentieth Century-Fox picture The Gay Deception (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40). It also marked Audrey Hepburn's American screen debut and her first starring role. Previously, she had appeared in walk-on roles in a number of British pictures, including the popular 1951 comedy The Lavender Hill Mob. According to modern sources, after securing Gregory Peck in the lead male role, Wyler began searching for a screen unknown to play the princess. British director Thorold Dickinson oversaw Hepburn's screen test, following Wyler's instructions to keep the camera running after the actual scene reading was over, so that he could gauge her natural screen presence.
       Alhough impressed by the Hepburn footage, Wyler also tested Suzanne Cloutier, according to one modern source. Hepburn's screen test was shown later on television and was featured in a Look magazine spread, according to modern sources. Hepburn's casting in Roman Holiday conflicted with her appearance in the title role of the Broadway production of Gigi, for which author Colette personally had picked her, but modern sources note that Wyler delayed production for six months to accommodate her schedule. Hepburn's performance was applauded universally by critics. The Hollywood Reporter reviewer stated: "Miss Hepburn makes her American screen debut a memorable occasion. A beauty, she reveals sensitivity and sincerity in her captivating portrayal..." The Daily Variety reviewer praised Hepburn's "delightful affectation in voice and delivery, controlled just enough to have charm and serve as a trademark," while the New York Times reviewer described the actress as a "slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike." Hepburn appeared on the cover of Time magazine in September 1953. In addition to a Paramount contract and instant stardom in America and Europe, Hepburn gained major celebrity in Japan due to her role in Roman Holiday. Her Roman Holiday hairdo was copied by many young Japanese women, according to modern sources.
       Hepburn won an Academy Award as Best Actress for her performance in Roman Holiday. As noted above, the film also earned an Oscar for Best Writing (Motion Picture Story), and Edith Head won an Oscar for Best Costume Design. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Writing (Screenplay), Best Supporting Actor (Eddie Albert), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Art Direction. The Directors Guild awarded Wyler with its "Outstanding Directorial Achievement" prize for his work on the picture. Modern sources note that as of early 1955, Roman Holiday had earned ten million dollars at the box office. Wyler's daughters, Cathy and Judy, appeared as school children in the Trevi fountain scene, according to modern sources. Modern sources also list Robert A. Belcher as assistant editor. In 1987, the NBC network televised a remake of Roman Holiday, directed by Noel Nosseck and starring Catherine Oxenberg and Tom Conti.

Miscellaneous Notes

On December 15, 1992, the Writers Branch Executive Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to amend its records to show that Dalton Trumbo earned the Oscar for Best Motion Picture Story for "Roman Holiday" (USA/53). Trumbo died in 1976.

Ian McLellan Hunter was originally given the story credit for this film, but he was "fronting" for Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted. In 1991 the Writers Guild of America West gave Trumbo official credit for the story, which had earned the best story Oscar--for Hunter--in 1954.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1953

Re-released in United States August 24, 1990

Re-released in United States December 21, 1990

Released in United States on Video February 1, 1989

Re-released in United States on Video July 18, 1995

Released in United States 1982

Selected in 1999 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1953

Re-released in United States August 24, 1990 (Los Angeles)

Re-released in United States December 21, 1990 (Film Forum; New York City)

Released in United States on Video February 1, 1989

Re-released in United States on Video July 18, 1995

Released in United States 1982 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition ("Marathon of Mirth": Comedy Maratho) March 16 - April 1, 1982.)