Roman Holiday (Movie Review)

Roman Holiday (1953)

Director: William Wyler

Cast: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn (her debut), Eddie Albert

Original Story: Dalton Trumbo (blacklisted, uncredited until 2003)

Screenplay: Dalton Trumbo (blacklisted, uncredited until 2011), Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton

Costume Design: Edith Head

I didn’t expect to enjoy this movie.  Usually, I’m clueless when watching films made before my time, if they were popular mainstream releases.  Early art house movies are more likely to register.

When I rented Roman Holiday, it was mainly for historical perspective.  I’d seen Bryan Cranston portray blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, and then watched the 2007 documentary on his life.  Both films are titled Trumbo, and you should see both to get a balanced impression of a flawed but unique person.

The DVD arrived in the mail (via Netflix, but this isn’t a paid advertisement) last week and it sat in the apartment until yesterday. I was procrastinating, and finally got around to it only because I wasn’t sure if Netflix’s unlimited borrowing period was something I should take literally.  If nothing else, it might be poor etiquette to keep the disc for six months.

See this movie.  It has something for everyone.  If possible, try to get a 2011 issue DVD so you can read honest screen credits.  It’s disappointing that we entered a new millennium before this information was formally updated.

I don’t want to risk getting too excited and giving away details you should see on screen first.  Suffice to say this film has characterizations which explore greed, desperation, loyalty, life experience and general dignity.  It also has star power and romance to keep the attention of anyone who isn’t in the mood to think.

There were many noble reasons for producers to employ blacklisted writers who used pseudonyms.  It required courage, and in the end it helped preserve film as an art form.  Look for discreet references in this movie.  At the time, Dalton Trumbo didn’t want the public to know he was working in Hollywood.  However, he did want the audience to comprehend that a society will always have crises that test our character.

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