I read a quote by Stanley Donen which perfectly describes how I feel about this film and Audrey: "The first time I saw Audrey Hepburn was in Roman Holiday. There have only been a few firsts in my life that have rattled me so much..."
This here was the moment that made me pause. Such a natural, breathtaking beauty. It's stayed with me ever since. She proved just how talented she was throughout the course of the film, blending beauty and charisma with spunk, heart, and a range of emotions.
Roman Holiday is sweet, charming, lovely, and innocent. It's about adventure as well as simplicity, and it's a movie that can transport you to bliss. The title of this blog is inspired by the film. Ann is a princess who has much in common with the Disney girls. She wants to be free of royal duties and customs, she wants to live, she wants to experience the simplest things.
And speaking of Disney princesses, I read years ago that Ann served as the basis for Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (1959). She was once my favorite princess, so it only made the film that more perfect for me. The two do share a slight resemblance as well.
All of her clothes in this film, designed by Edith Head, are impeccable, but it's the civilian blouse & skirt that are my favorites. Aurora's peasant gown, my favorite Disney princess attire, seems like a throwback to Ann's.
Audrey won the Oscar for this role at the 1954 ceremony (my favorite!), and it's because she delivered a performance that was touching and authentic. Of course her first major film role was that of a princess enchanting the world over. Gregory Peck, her costar, insisted that her name be given equal billing with his because he knew the film would make her a star. He was right of course.
If you haven't seen this truly marvelous movie, here's a short synopsis: Princess Ann, tired of the constraints of royal life, runs away while in Rome. She meets American newspaper reporter Joe Bradley (Peck), who hides his identity from her in order to get a hot story. Ann has a Roman holiday, experiencing all the simple joys of regular life that she never could as a princess. Of course, an unlikely love story gets woven in too.
This movie is also very funny. Ann is given a sleeping pill which starts to take effect when she runs away. That's when she encounters Joe Bradley, perplexed by this strange, "drunk" girl.
|Of course he doesn't know she's a princess. And of course she doesn't carry money.|
Ann also decides to cut her hair when in Rome, symbolizing freedom and doing just what she wants for a change. Obviously both long and short hair suit her.
I would love a Disney princess with short hair like this, or a Disney princess inspired by Ann. Even better, a Pixar princess or heroine to look just like this.
This is honestly one of the best screencaps from anything, ever. That glow is unreal.
So as Ann and Joe cavort around Rome, doing all she's never had a chance to do and getting into some trouble along the way, they fall in love. And it's lovely and surprising to see the stages of their relationship. Meeting as strangers while she's drowsy; to his less than altruistic motivation for taking her on a holiday; to the genuine care and camaraderie that blossoms between them; and finally, to love. Although this movie has an undercurrent of melancholy and bitter sweetness running throughout. As Joe tells her, "That'll be the end of the fairy tale." There is a happy ending, but not the kind we're used to.
As a character, Ann is possibly my favorite one. When we meet her, she's bored and sick of royal life, but she's also adorable and spirited. In true Disney princess fashion, she breaks free and by the movie's end is more confident in herself and in taking charge, rather than being ordered about. The change is almost palpable. If you're looking for role models, this spunky and vivacious princess is one of them. I don't think anyone else could truly have captured Ann as Audrey did.
Also starring Eddie Albert and directed by William Wyler, this is a lovely modern day fairy tale, and for a teenage girl just discovering Audrey, the perfect introduction.