Sunday, August 22, 2010

Not always

I was going to watch Always, and I watched 25 minutes before I lost interest. It's, let's say, not Steven Spielberg's best film. So I didn't get to see Audrey Hepburn in her last performance on film, even though I like the idea of her playing God.

Instead I rewatched Roman Holiday. Hepburn plays a young princess in Rome on official business. She's overwhelmed by her responsibilities and escapes in the night. She runs into journalist Gregory Peck who realizes who she is and shows her around Rome, hoping for an exclusive article.

What is there to say about this film? It's pretty much perfect. It's not screwball, but rather a sophisticated comedy. The director, William Wyler, finds humour in small details, like looks between characters. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck are great together. Watching the film, it makes Peter O'Toole's performance in How To Steal A Million seem even more stiff. Orginally Cary Grant was first choice, both for this film and Sabrina. For some reason he turned them down. It's a good thing for Roman Holiday, because then we would have missed the pairing of Hepburn and Peck, it's too bad for Sabrina, since I think that would have been an interesting role for Grant, and Humphrey Bogart was too old for the part. But of course, Hepburn and Grant finally met in Charade.

I like that they shot the film on location in Rome. Ten or maybe even five years earlier they would probably have shot it in Hollywood. It wouldn't necessarily have been better or worse, just different, even more of a fantasy. I like the way Venice was portrayed in that old Fred Astaire film. But showing the real Rome contributes so much to this film, photographed in exquisite black and white.

The ending at the press conference where they part, realizing that they live in two different worlds, is very touching. And the close-up of Audrey Hepburn smiling in that scene, how can colour and 3D even compare with that?


  1. you're right about cary grant -- from what i've read, he was resistant to being cast opposite audrey because of their age difference! which is why, in "charade," audrey's character was re-written to be more of the aggressor, so to speak, and they added jokes about the age difference. of course, why cary didn't say yes to "love in the afternoon" is beyond me then! :)

  2. I love Roman Holiday and I love you :D

  3. personally i liked i how to steal a million dollars better, but then again all of her films were amazing