Director: William Wyler
Writers: Dalton Trumbo, John Dighton
Cast: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert, Hartley Power, Harcourt Williams, Margaret Rawlings, Tullio Carminati
Music by: Georges Auric, Victor Young
Photography by: Henri Alekan, Franz Planer
Runtime: 118 min.
About: Princess Anne embarks on a highly publicized tour of Europian capitals. When she and her royal entourage arrive in Rome, she begins to rebel against her restricted, regimented schedule. One night Anne sneaks out of her room, hops into the back of a delivery truck and escapes her luxurious confinement.
¤ When filming the scene where the princess 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.
¤ Part of the joke where Joe pretends that his hand was bitten off in the mouth of the stone carving was ad-libbed by Peck; when he pulled his hand from the mouth, he hid his hand in his sleeve, borrowing the gag from Red Skelton. This addition surprised Hepburn, and the scene was finished in one take. (later Hepburn said - "It was the only scene Wyler ever did in one take").
¤ After filming, Peck informed the producers that, as Audrey 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.
¤ Wyler at first wanted Jean Simmons to play Ann, and reportedly nearly canceled the project when Simmons proved unavailable.
¤ Hepburn won the role of Ann thanks to a legendary screen test. In it, she performed one of the scenes from the film, but the cameraman was instructed to keep the cameras rolling after the director said, "Cut." Several minutes of unrehearsed, spontaneous Hepburn was thus captured on film and this, combined with some candid interview footage, won her the role. Later Wyler said - "She had everything I was looking for charm, innocence and talent. She also was very funny. She was absolutely enchanting".
¤ he story was originally optioned by Frank Capra in 1949, who had hoped to cast Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor in what would essentially amount to being a variation on his Oscar-winning classic, "It Happened One Night" (1934). However, Capra's Liberty Films production company was beset with financial problems and he was forced to sell the property to Paramount.
¤ Before hiring Wyler, the chance of directing was offered to George Stevens, who declined.
¤ Peck's role was originally written with Cary Grant in mind. Grant, however, turned the role down as he believed he was too old to play Hepburn's love interest. He did however play her on-screen love ten years later in "Charade" (1963). The two became firm friends working on the film, and Grant considered her one of his favorite actresses to work with.
¤ It was the first American film to be made in its entirety in Italy
¤ A lot of the film's success was attributed to the public's then fascination with Britain's Princess Margaret who was creating a stir over her much publicized relationship with commoner Peter Townsend. (the Princess was forced to renounce her true love because he was divorced and marry more "suitably").
¤ First choices for the part of the princess was also Suzanne Cloutier.
¤ Peck was initially reluctant to take on a part that was clearly secondary to the young female lead until he realized that his image could do with some lightening up.
¤ When Gregory Peck came to Italy to shoot the movie, he was privately depressed about his recent separation and imminent divorce from his first wife, Greta. However, during the shot he met and fell in love with a French woman named Veronique Passani. After his divorce, he married Passani and they remained together for the rest of his life.
¤ The Embassy Ball sequence featured real Italian nobility, who all donated their salaries to charity. The reporters at the end of the film were real too.
¤ The movie was shot in black and white so that the characters wouldn't be upstaged by the romantic setting of Rome.
¤ By the time he got the script for this film, Gregory Peck was hungry to do a comedy (he had not been in a comedy on film) and jumped at this opportunity. He later said that, at the time, he felt like every romantic comedy script he had the chance to read "had the fingerprints of Cary Grant on it".
¤ In 1987, NBC had the misguided notion of remaking Roman Holiday as a television movie, starring Tom Conti, Catherine Oxenberg, and Ed Begley Jr.
¤ While shooting scenes on Spanish Steps, there were 10.000 people assembled there and in the street. The police couldn't stop them from whistling and heckling. Peck later said, that it was like playing in a huge amphitheater before a packed house of rowdies.
Oscars: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Audrey Hepburn), Best Costume Design - Black-and-White, Best Writing - Motion Picture Story; nominations: Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration - Black-and-White, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Picture, Best Writing - Screenplay.
Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture Actress - Drama (Audrey Hepburn).
BAFTA: Best British Actress (Audrey Hepburn); nominations: Best Film from any Source, Best Foreign Actor, Best Foreign Actor.
New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn)
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