Roman Holiday (1953) – Blu-Ray Review

For the first time ever, the Audrey Hepburn/Gregory Peck classic, Roman Holiday, from 1953, is being released to blu-ray by Paramount Pictures. It feels look overdue, but this absolutely delightful film proves that good things come to those who wait.

Filmed completely on location in Rome, the film, Hepburn’s first made her a star, and launched her to international fame as a movie star and a fashion icon. The film is still wonderfully entertaining, featuring the Academy Award winning turn by Hepburn, Peck’s wonderful newspaperman, and the wonderful Eddie Albert as Peck’s photog pal.

Honestly, this one appeals on a number of levels, I love a good newspaper story, and that’s how this one begins. I adore Audrey Hepburn, and she simply shines in this, and I love the transition from newspaper story to rom-com (a genre I enjoy if they’re smart, and well-crafted, like this one is), and Eddie Albert – he’s just such a hoot in this film.

The transfer is solid, a perceptible upgrade from the DVD, and more importantly, at least to a film buff like me, is the slew of extras that comes along with it.

I was a little bummed that Leonard Maltin’s chat on the film is so short, but it’s more than made up for it by the other features the disc boasts. There’s a look at the costume department of Paramount Pictures, featuring not just the costumes from this film but other beloved classics. There’s also a brief tour of the locations used and visited in Rome by the film in Rome with a Princess.

There’s two really good short bios one on Hepburn’s work and life during her Paramount years, and a look at the screenwriter Dalton Trombo, who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, his writing, and how he was able to reclaim his name. All of these are presented in HD, and look wonderful.

There are some extras that look to have been issued with the original DVD release, and these include a look at Paramount Pictures studios in the 50s, a guide through the films that were released at that time, a Hepburn retrospective that celebrates not only her acting craft, but her activist work as well. Finally there are trailers, and galleries, all featuring original material from the film.

Roman Holiday is a wonderfully joyous film, that embraces that joy, and the romance it suggests, it lets us three stars shine with iconic comedic and human moments, all building and paying off beautifully. The film wowed them at the time, and continues to wow and entertain today, it’s smart, fun, stylish, and oh so memorable.

Roman Holiday hits blu-ray today from Paramount Canada and is a must have for any discriminating film buff. And it’s a film that can be shared and watched with everyone, because the story, the dialogue, the star power has endured, and will continue to do so.

This one is just so much fun.

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