Centennial Collection

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert
Director: William Wyler
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 118 Minutes
Release Date: November 11, 2008

“This is very unusual, I’ve never been alone with a man before, even with my clothes on…with my dress off, it’s most unusual!”

Film ***

Roman Holiday is a wonderful trip through a day in the life of an unhappy princess.  What’s to be unhappy about if you’re a princess, you ask?  Well, there are speeches to memorize, places to be, people to meet, hands to shake, bottles to break, and don’t forget, you must drink a glass of milk and eat a cracker before bedtime every day!

Roman Holiday is the story of a young princess who is fed up with all of her obligations and duties.  She runs off in the middle of the night and winds up in the arms of a newspaper reporter who desperately needs a good story idea.  Gregory Peck’s character doesn’t know it, but the woman who appears to be drunk and trying to sleep on the sidewalk is really the story he’s been waiting for.  He takes the princess home with him and lets her stay the night at his place.   Now, this is the early 50s people, so no worries; they keep it clean.  She is, however, infatuated with his pajamas, and he’s got a woman asleep on his bed that he doesn’t quite know how to handle!  

The next day arrives and our happy reporter isn’t happy because he overslept and missed the interview that was set up for him with the princess.  He heads into work leaving his mysterious guest asleep, and finds out that his guest is none other than the princess herself.   He calls up his carefree cameraman pal, played by the loveable Eddie Albert, and they plot to get pictures of her so they can print them in the paper.

Unfortunately for Peck, a day with a beauty like Hepburn causes him to fall in love with her.  He has lied to her about his true identity much the same as she has lied about her own.   He takes her on a tour of Rome for the day and they have more fun, and get into more trouble than you can imagine.  This movie really was an amazing breakout film in terms of the story itself.   You can definitely see in some of the more modern films today the influence that stories like Roman Holiday had.  

This film was the beginning for Audrey Hepburn's movie career.  It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and Hepburn easily walked away with one for her amazing portrayal of a fed up princess.  This movie is a wonderful addition for just about anyone’s DVD library, and I know it will be watched again and again for years to come.

Video ***

This movie was transferred to DVD in a standard 1.33:1 full screen format.  Each frame of the film during the restoration process was meticulously gone over to make sure 99% of the dirt and graininess associated with older nitrate based films was removed.   The movie itself is in black and white, which was a refreshing change for me.  I’m not a big black and white fan but this one due to the romantic nature of the film allowed for the imagination to work on filling in the colors from my minds eye. 

Audio ***

The audio for this movie was transferred into a digital format and some of the high end hiss and white noise, was removed.  It was a Dolby Digital Mono transfer and I thought it sounded quite nice.   There were only a few places where the background music overwhelmed the dialogue, but the music was so beautiful, you won’t really notice it all that much.   The sound effects were sometimes a bit over the top, but otherwise, it was a good blend for the over all mix. 

Features ***

The disc includes "Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years", "Remembering Audrey", "Rome With a Princess", featurettes on writer Dalton Trumbo and the restoration efforts, and looks at Paramount's costumes and the studio in the 1950s.  


Even if you’re not a fan of the black and white era, you won’t be able to keep yourself from falling in love with this movie.   This DVD is well worth any money you’ll spend on it so grab a copy before the opportunity takes a holiday!

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