Friday, July 8, 2011

Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn Enchants

'Roman Holiday' is a very unusual movie - a combination of a fairy story about a princess, a romance, a comedy and with more than a touch of intrigue and excitement thrown in as well. It does not have the traditional "happy ever after" fairy tale ending either. It was made in 1953 by William Wyler, one of Hollywood's pre-eminent directors, already well-known for other classic movies such as 'Wuthering Heights', in 1939, 'Mrs Miniver' in 194? And 'the Best Years of Our Lives' in 1946. Wyler assembled a first class cast led by Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn as the romantic interest and with Eddy Albert as the perfect comic foil.

The film was a major international hit and was nominated for a total of ten Academy Awards, a remarkable number for the romantic comedy genre. It actually won three Oscars, including Best Actress for Audrey Hepburn in her first Hollywood film and, at that time, relatively unknown outside Britain where she had appeared in several movies. After 'Roman Holiday', and, indeed, because of it, she became an international superstar and a fashion icon for women across the globe. Of the movie's other two Oscars one was won by Edith Head for Best Black and White Costume design and the other by Ian McLellan Hunter for Best Original Story. The screenplay had in fact been written by Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten infamously blacklisted for supposed ties to the Communist party. A disgraceful wrong was partially put right when Trumbo was posthumously credited and awarded an Oscar in 1992.