DVD Review: Roman Holiday Centennial Collection DVD

Roman Holiday DVDI’m 26 years old, which means as I watch the movies of the future, I slowly delve into the pictures of the past. A wave of classics arrived in new Centennial Edition DVD packages this week, including Roman Holiday, and it has given me the chance to watch the Gregory Peck/Audrey Hepburn film for the first time.

I’ve only seen a spattering of Hepburn films in my lifetime, but I have realized while she was one of the most sought after actresses in the late 50’s and early 60’s. She was gorgeous, likable and entertaining, and had a knack for picking quality projects. Between Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Roman Holiday, Hepburn set the stage for the modern romantic comedy. It’s absolutely intriguing watching a picture like Roman Holiday, which has a simple, almost ludicrous plot, an unlikely relationship and forced conflict that is reminiscent of today’s romantic comedies. At the same time, it feels fresh and is consistently enjoyable from beginning to end. The same formula that has been duplicated time and time again – and continues to be so – works wondrously well. And this is a movie that was made in the year both my parents were born.

Roman Holiday is about a princess who escapes from her inner crew and winds up in the arms of a surprised but eager reporter who just happens to have been assigned to get an exclusive story with the young woman. With the princess unaware of the reporter’s true intentions, and also unaware that he knows who she is, the two set out on a day around Rome. Of course, as they go from one adventure to next, they slowly begin to fall in love.

There’s not much more to say, other than Roman Holiday is one of the best movies I’ve seen in months. Both Peck and Hepburn are excellent, and have unusual but great chemistry. Hepburn’s also quite hot in the picture, and shows a bit of skin. That doesn’t hurt. There are several laugh-out-loud parts, and many heart touching moments as well. Most impressive is the shocking ending, which took me completely off guard but makes complete sense, too. It’s a shame more films don’t end this way, though I understand why they don’t.

If you’re of a younger generation and haven’t seen Roman Holiday, I highly recommend it. This is an excellent romantic comedy that stands the test of time.

Some of the Centennial DVD bonus features include:

  • Behind the Gates: Costumes
  • Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years
  • Remembering Audrey Hepburn
  • Rome with a Princess
  • Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist
  • Restoring Roman Holiday
  • Paramount in the ‘50s
  • Photo Galleries
  • Original Theatrical Teaser trailer
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Theatrical Re-release Trailer
By Erik Samdahl
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