Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie Monday: Roman Holiday



Roman Holiday, 1953. Starring Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert. (Director: William Wyle)


 
Trivia & Scenes!
 
When filming the scene where the princess (Audrey Hepburn) says her goodbyes to Joe, the inexperienced Hepburn was unable to produce the necessary tears, eventually causing director William Wyler to complain at the number of wasted takes. Hepburn promptly burst into tears and the scene was filmed successfully

After filming, Gregory Peck informed the producers that, as Audrey Hepburn was certainly going to win an Oscar (for this, her first major role), they had better put her name above the title. They did and she did.


For the famous "Mouth of Truth" scene, Gregory Peck ad-libbed the joke where he pretends that his hand was bitten off in the mouth of the stone carving. He borrowed the gag from Red Skelton. Prior to filming the scene, Peck told director William Wyler that he was going to do the gag, but that they should not tell Audrey Hepburn. When Peck pulled his arm out of the stone carving's mouth with his hand pulled up his sleeve, Hepburn's horror and surprise was genuine. She gave what she later recalled was "a good and proper scream," and the scene was finished in one take


Audrey Hepburn won the role of Ann thanks to a legendary screen test. In it, she performed one of the scenes from the film, but the cameraman was instructed to keep the cameras rolling after the director said, "Cut." Several minutes of unrehearsed, spontaneous Hepburn was thus captured on film and this, combined with some candid interview footage, won her the role


By the time he got the script for this film, Gregory Peck was hungry to do a comedy (he had not been in a comedy on film) and jumped at this opportunity. He later said that, at the time, he felt like every romantic comedy script he had the chance to read "had the fingerprints of Cary Grant on it".


The original writer, Dalton Trumbo, was blacklisted as one of the legendary Hollywood Ten, and therefore could not receive credit for the screenplay, even when it won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Instead, his friend, Ian McLellan Hunter, took credit for the story and accepted the Oscar. Trumbo's wife, Cleo, was finally presented with the award in 1993, long after his death in 1976. The Oscar she received was actually a second one, because Hunter's son wouldn't give up his father's Oscar. Thus, two awards for Best Screenplay of 1953 exist. The story credit was corrected to credit Trumbo when the restored edition was released in 2002, nearly fifty years after the original release.



At the beginning of the movie, the elder gentleman dancing with princess Ann says to her, in Italian: "I want absolutely to die on the ship!"

Gregory Peck's role was originally written with Cary Grant in mind. Grant, however, turned the role down as he believed he was too old to play Audrey Hepburn's love interest. He did, however, play her on-screen love ten years later in Charade (1963). The two became firm friends working on the film, and Grant considered her one of his favorite actresses to work with.


Shot in black and white so that the characters wouldn't be upstaged by the romantic setting of Rome

The first American film to be made in its entirety in Italy.

The Roman summer was stiflingly hot, with the temperatures in the high 90s. Crowds swarmed over all the locations, making huge impromptu audiences for the actors. Meanwhile, Italy itself was beset with clashes between political parties that resulted in strikes and unrest that threatened to disrupt production.



The Embassy Ball sequence featured real Italian nobility, who all donated their salaries to charity. The reporters at the end of the film were real, too.

When Gregory Peck came to Italy to shoot the movie, he was privately depressed about his recent separation and imminent divorce from his first wife, Greta. However, during the shot he met and fell in love with a French woman named Veronique Passani. After his divorce, he married Passani and they remained together for the rest of his life.



At the end of production, Paramount Studios presented Audrey Hepburn with her entire wardrobe from the film, including hats, shoes, handbags, and jewelry. These gifts were intended as wedding presents; however, soon after production, Hepburn ended her engagement to James Hanson.

Ann and Joe get into an argument over which poet wrote the words that Ann quotes, "Arethusa rose from her couch of snows in the Acroceraunian mountains." Joe was right; it's from the poem "Arethusa" by Percy Bysshe Shelley.



Audrey Hepburn won the 1953 Best Actress Academy Award for Roman Holiday (1953). On March 25th, 1954, she accepted the award from the much revered Academy president Jean Hersholt. After accepting the award, Audrey kissed him smack on the mouth, instead of the cheek, in her excitement. Minutes after accepting her 1953 Oscar, Audrey realized that she'd misplaced it. Turning quickly on the steps of the Center Theater in New York, she raced back to the ladies' room, retrieved the award, and was ready to pose for photographs.



"Rome. I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live."







2 comments:

amy c. said...

Sigh...I just love this movie. Nice work on the bio, Hanner.

hanner_da_nanner said...

Me too! I love Audrey n Gregory! Thanks!!