roman-holidaydvdIn 2008 Paramount has released three classic films from the 1950’s under the Centennial DVD brand. We reviewed ‘Sabrina’ earlier in the week, but today we return with ‘Roman Holiday’. ‘Roman Holiday’ is yet another film that pioneered Hollywood back in 1953. Audrey Hepburn defined her career with these 1950’s classics. Audrey Hepburn would also win the Oscar for best actress in 1953 for her role in ‘Roman Holiday’.

The story of ‘Roman Holiday’ centers around Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) stepping down from her throne to join the people. Hepburn spent most of her career playing the reverse role than being a princess, but having to work her way up into a higher status. She is the daughter of the royal family. When on a trip to Europe, Ann escapes finding herself lost in Rome. Reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) finds her and actually takes her with him. On the next day, the newspapers report that the princess is very sick, so this is his opportunity to hold on to her a bit longer to make headline news of his own.

Joe and his friend Irving (Eddie Albert) begin to give Ann a tour of Rome. He also changes her name to Anya Smith so nobody notices who she is. Ann begins to fall in love with Joe and a strong connection begins between the two. What was once a ploy for Joe to make money and exploit Princess Ann, he begins to fall in love with her.

‘Roman Holiday’ is an excellent film with some of the best acting that I have seen from Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. I enjoyed this Cinderella love story which was role reversal for Hepburn. The ending really surprised me, but it was the original intention of Billy Wyler that the film ends this way. With the film being shot in Rome, the cinematography is actually stunning. From the Coliseum to the city streets of Rome, Wyler’s camera work was well done.

Print/Audio Quality
The print is presented in 1.75:1 full frame aspect ratio. I still wonder why this film hasn’t been released in anamorphic widescreen since the original intent of the film was always to be in widescreen. The print looks fantastic without any visual blemishes. This is one of the most beautiful black and white films that I have ever seen. Details are much better this time around as compared to the 2001 release. Contrast has more definition making this one beautiful looking black and white film. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 with all the dialogue coming through being very clear through the center channel.

Special Features

  • Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years
  • Remembering Audrey
  • Rome With a Princess
  • Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist
  • Restoring Roman Holiday
  • Photo Galleries
  • Preview for It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Trailers

‘Roman Holiday’ is a classic that has such a beautifully told story. 55 years later and this film still holds up very well against modern day film. We need more films that follow the formula and wonderful acting in ‘Roman Holiday’. If you are a previous owner of the 2001 DVD release, I highly recommend upgrading to the new Centennial DVD release.