Sunday, April 22, 2007
While keeping my grandmother company this weekend I discovered that TCM was airing one of my all time favorite movies, Roman Holiday. My grandmother is almost 92 years old, very little holds her interest, and movies hardly ever. Flashbacks, complicated plots, special effects and dream sequences all confuse her, primarily because she has trouble hearing the dialogue, but also because if it doesn't appeal to her she doesn't pay attention. Well, Roman Holiday caused her to put her word search book down and actually ask me questions about the plot. The last movie I remember her enjoying was Happy Gilmore, and that was mainly because Bob Barker gets to beat up Adam Sandler. Roman Holiday is a fantastic film, with a charming plot, outstanding performances by Audrey Hepburn (who really could do no wrong) and Gregory Peck, (personally, I could lay on a concrete floor and listen to Gregory Peck read from the phone book and be happy but that is neither here nor there), and a fitting ending that is not schmaltzy or unbelievable, but is also not weep into your pillow. They don't make movies with endings like this one anymore. It's always either unbelievably happy (they elope together) or heartwrending (she dies or is married off to some toad). Shot on location and in black and white the film is also the best advertisment for Rome that could possibly ever exist. Every time I see it the wanderlust grips me and I fantasize about strolling through the streets of that great city indulging in a gelato, throwing coins into fountains, zipping about on a Vespa, and basking in the Mediterranean sun. (I also want to visit the catacombs but that didn't make the cut in the film-a rather morbid place for an incognito princess to visit don't you think?) However, the stark reality of the exchange rate and my mortgage quickly nip that dream in the bud. Frankly, I think Rome should send all of the descendants of anyone involved in the making of that film presents every year. If you have never seen Roman Holiday (yes, even if you are a straight man) you should rent it immediately. Don't wait for the serendipity of finding it on television, only TCM airs it without commercials.