Anne (Audrey Hepburn) is a princess travelling through Europe on royal business, when in Rome, she has a nervous breakdown and cannot take the pressure of her duty any longer. She runs away. Being nice, though not sure why he bothers, Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), an American newspaper man, helps the girl he finds sleeping on the street. In the morning, he discovers her true identity and concocts a plan to get an exclusive story on the princess while pretending to be ignorant. She doesn’t want him to find out she’s a princess and he doesn’t want her to find out he’s press; they both play along. And then they both fall in love. But, a princess has a duty to her people and can’t run away forever.
The silence. Nothing speaks louder than the silences. They become the feature in the final minutes of the film, as each character has their moment of silently communicating so much, so much emotion. This is perfect. Every second that passes in silence makes your heart ache. We’ve forgotten how to be silent in modern times, especially in film. If a character doesn’t speak then there must be accompanying music to clue the viewer in on the emotion. It wasn’t used in Roman Holiday and they show a true mastery of emotional communication through silence.
Hepburn and Peck are great together. Neither shines brighter than the other. They play the roles they have to and that’s that. They’re brilliant actors and they’ve been paired up right. Anyone else for either role wouldn’t have worked as well as this pairing.
No-one could ever say a terrible thing about the story or the script. And the way it was written has a big tale to tell. Trumbo rushed to write a script that could be sold quickly so he could support his family while placed on the blacklist. That’s what happened when you were found out to be a communist in America; no-one wanted to use you. He was never to be credited for this story, or any of the others he wrote. He did win an award for best writing for this, though. Some credit where credit’s due.
Filmed entirely in Rome, we are gifted with a tour of the beautifully ruined city. What I glimpsed, makes me want to fly over, rent an apartment, and go on adventures without a schedule. But it wouldn’t be as charming as back in the fifties, or as carefree without a couple of newspaper men showing the city off or paying for things. Still, it would be fun.
This is the final film for 2016 and it is probably the best (why it was saved for last). Please enjoy it whenever you need a little reminder to take a day off from your duty and find romance where you can.