Day 1: Your favourite movie
This seems like a tough one to answer because I have so very many movies that I love! But usually when I am posed this question there is one gut reaction answer – Roman Holiday! So that’s the one I’ll go with.
Roman Holiday is an old 1950’s movie that I have aleady celebrated on this blog before with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in her first leading role.
Audrey Hepburn immediately won an Oscar for her role as princess Ann. Gregory Peck was billed ahead of her but during filming when he saw how wonderful she was in it, he insisted her name be billed alongside his on the credit titles. He thought it would look ridiculous to be billed as the star when he could just see that it was all about Audrey Hepburn and she was going to be a star herself. And, of course, he was right…
Roman Holiday is not a complicated story. It is the story of a princess who is stressed out by her royal duties during a tour of Europe and escapes for a day. She is picked up by a journalist, who doesn’t tell her he’s a journalist, and wants to write an exclusive piece on her. This simple plot is the basis of an utterly charming movie with utterly charming leads that have real chemistry together. It does not have your usual Hollywood happy ending and maybe that ending is what transports the movie from a lovely romantic comedy to a movie that just sticks in your heart forever. If the movie were made today, that ending might not work, but it does work for the early 1950s and is heart-wrenching and beautiful.
I first saw Roman Holiday in my early teens on German TV, it’s the movie that sparked my love for movies. It also sparked my life-long love for Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. Even though I have seen so very many more movies since then that I also love, old and new, it remains a great favourite of mine. I have seen it countless times and know it inside out and after all these years I never tire of watching it. I have been a total fangirl over it for many years now. For instance: I have a very big poster of the movie on my bedroom wall and a Roman Holiday calender that is about 5 years old that I can’t bear to take down, so is still up as well. I have a Roman Holiday apron and my mother once even gave me a whole tea set with images of the movie as a gift! I never use the tea set but it is proudly displayed in my living room (admittedly gathering dust).
A few years ago we had our summer holiday in Rome and I wanted to visit the movie sites, which are of course also regular tourist sites like the Spanish Steps or the Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth), where a delightful scene in the movie takes place, or the Forum Romanum, where reporter Joe finds sleepy Ann. The less touristy site we visited was walking by “Via Margutta 51” which was Gregory Peck’s address in the movie, located not far from the Spanish Steps!
I made my husband see Roman Holiday many years ago, which I am pleased to say he enjoyed, and a few months ago I decided it was time my 11 year old daughter and 14 year old son saw the movie as well. They weren’t too keen on sitting down for an old black and white movie but I asked them to humour me and if they really hated it, I could always switch it off halfway through. But they didn’t hate it! They don’t love it like I do but they did enjoy it and watched with interest and pleasure and sadness, which tells me that the movie still holds up today, 62 years after it’s initial release!
Here’s an old trailer for the movie:
And here’s a list of clips from the movie (but don’t watch them if you haven’t seen Roman Holiday yet, it’s more fun seeing them in context within the movie!):
To me this movie can never grow old!