Roman Holiday (1953)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Roman Holiday</strong> (1953)

(On DVD, January 2009) This romantic fable about a princess finding temporary romance in the arms of an American journalist would be unremarkable if it wasn’t for a few crucial elements. Good use of Roman locations is one of them (unlike many movies of its time, Roman Holiday has a generous amount of material shot on location), but the real star of the film is and will remain Audrey Hepburn in her first screen role: even with little knowledge of her work, it’s hard to watch the film and avoid being charmed by her first major role. She went on to win herself an Oscar (cementing this film’s pedigree), but the performance itself is mesmerizing. A strong performance by Gregory Peck as the lead actor doesn’t hurt, and neither does a capable script that manages to write itself in a satisfying bittersweet corner. The pacing is a bit slack by modern standards, but as a time capsule of studio film-making in the early fifties, it’s a worthwhile choice.

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