Directed by William Wyler
Written by Dalton Trumbo, Ian McClellan Hunter, John Dighton
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert
Princess Ann (Hepburn) is bored with a life of royal politics and strict etiquette. After a long and stressful political tour, Ann evades her caretakers and embarks for the streets of Rome. Once there she’s quickly recognized and befriended by Joe Bradley (Peck), an American journalist. Together, the two of them take to the streets of Rome. Joe would love to turn this into a huge story to bolster his career, while Ann is looking for the freedom she’s longed for her whole life. As they evade the men sent to bring the Princess home the chemistry between them grows, changing the goals for both of them.
William Wyler (The Best Years of Our Lives) brought this magical story to life on the streets of Rome. With stars like Gregory Peck (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Audrey Hepburn (Charade) the film found major success, earning 10 Oscar nominations. These nominations included Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Editing, and Best Cinematography. The film would win for Best Actress (Hepburn), Best Story, and Best Costume Design. The cast also featured the talented Eddie Albert (The Heartbreak Kid) who also received an Oscar nomination for his work.
This movie finds it’s strength behind the powerful performance from Audrey Hepburn. Her emotional portrayal spans across the entire range of emotions. Her character’s growth throughout the movie is wonderful to watch. Pairing her with Gregory Peck was a stroke of brilliance. The chemistry between the two is evident from the very beginning. Peck manages to keep his role from straying into the sleazy journalist type, instead remaining a likeable character to the end. Eddie Albert plays a great part, keeping his scenes in the film light and enjoyable, always reminding us of the conflict between journalism and personal life.
This is a wonderfully written story. Sadly, the Academy never recognized Dalton Trumbo for the work until some years after his death. Trumbo (Spartacus) had been blacklisted, forcing Ian McClellan Hunter (Second Chorus) to proxy for him when the work was completed. The story is filled with all the great elements of a true romantic drama, but lightened at just the right points by hints of comedy. Between the two previsously mentioned writers and John Dighton (Kind Hearts and Coronets) this is a classic and timeless film.
The movie was filmed on the streets of Rome, bringing a reality to the story that is refreshing and beautiful. Unlike the obvious sound stages of many films from the early 1950’s, this movie expands on the open space. This is an important aspect of the film since it’s a story about escape and freedom. If you like Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck, this is one you need to see. I would also suggest this one to fans of romance, comedy, or drama. This movie has aged fantastically, making it something fun to watch. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.