On paper the plot of Roman Holiday – a bored princess on an official visit to Rome goes incognito and falls for the charms of an American reporter – is hardly original. And the director (William Wyler) and leading man (Gregory Peck) were better known for serious drama. However, against all the odds, this remains one of the great romantic comedies thanks to the palpable chemistry between the performers, the soufflé light script and the masterful direction.
Wyler clearly relished the chance to film on location and he makes the most of the local colour. Peck has never looked so relaxed and shows a real knack for comedy. Eddie Albert narrowly missed out on an Oscar as Peck’s cynical sidekick.
However, best of all is Audrey Hepburn’s runaway princess. This was the role she was born to play and she deservedly won an Oscar and a Bafta for her troubles.
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