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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Love in the lanes of Rome (Roman Holiday)

Thank God Cary Grant decided not to sign Roman Holiday. Thank God. For, I can't picture Grant vrooming on a Vespa with the animated Anya Smith pillion riding. No, I can't imagine Grant, or rather, anyone else, in the shoes of the earth-shatteringly handsome Gregory Peck!!! William Wyler's 1952 romantic comedy would have not been the same without the stunning pair of Peck and the cherubic Audrey Hepburn. For that, I thank God...
Roman Holiday is like sipping a cup of freshly brewed cappuchino in an Italian bistro. With the spring breeze playing with your tresses, the aroma of the beverage tingling your nostrils and the balmy sun soothing your back. The experience is supremely calm and rejuvenating. Just like the freshness of the debutant called Hepburn.
Her angelic face soothes your senses, her melodious voice is like the nightingale's song, her petite frame nimble and light and her eyes...Explosively expressive!!! They light up with candour and emote impeccably! Give me another girl who could have been Princess Ann...Difficult, right???
Roman Holiday is a very unusual love story. Two strangers meet under strange circumstances. Joe (Peck is quite an astute journalist) fudges his identity to pocket an exclusive set of pictures and interview of the runaway princess. She is no innocent child either. She does not want to go back to the drudgeries of her royal life and poses as Anya Smith on the roads of Rome (Franz Planer and Henri Alekan's cinematography gives the busy roads a languid feel). But Joe and his friend, Irving (Eddie Albert's adorably funny) are too clever to be duped. They are also not the conventional news hunters. They do not let Anya know that they have called her bluff. Till the last reel Princess Ann isn't aware that she was enjoying the generosity and hospitality of two hard-for-luck journalists. And, in turn she is forever grateful to them!!
There is a thing about sad endings that makes a romance even more haunting. In Joe's and Anya's case, it's the feeling of 'what might have been' that makes the magic hang on. When Joe walks away after the royal meet, he is reflective and pensive. But he knows that surely, a journalist of his standing cannot marry his royal darling!! That, makes their story all the more poignant and sweet!! And, the kiss...sigh!!! Peck and Anya's story is so subtly sublime...when the fireworks are over the embers are still there...fresh and warm!!
I love the scene where Anya walks into a barber shop for a haircut. She comes out looking like a cute elf. The bob slashes at least 5 years from her age and adds spunk to her royal personality. She rolls up her sleeves to resemble a school girl almost. She prances around like a doll!! Hepburn is a natural. She truely enjoys that ice-cream and is seriously flabbergasted when Joe's palm is bitten off by the Mouth of Truth...A very deserving Oscar win, for sure!!!
Peck, I swear, is what romantic dreams are made of!! His cheeky smirk, his smouldering eyes, his flamboyant gait...I can go on and on!! Peck's love is not selfish, why else would he not sell his story to his hankering editor!!! In fact, his humour is so clever. Watch the scene where he is introducing Anya to his friend, Irving!! He lies left-right and centre with elan and kicks his friend for the faux pas!! Delightfully hilarious. Here is a drop-dead gorgeous journalist all out to save the damsel in distress!! And we love him!!!
Roman Holiday is a celebration of the hearts brimming with love!! When love and admiration knocks on the door, young hearts swell with anticipation. When lovers meet and are united, it's a halcyon world. But, when love's unfulfilled and lovers can never be together, there is a sense of heaviness, dejection and melancholy that stabs the soul. A longing for what might have been, an expectation that things could be otherwise...Roman Holiday leaves you with that lingering feel...


  1. cool one... nice write up... but wait till some Cary Grant fan comes across this :) :)

  2. A beautiful piece of writing as beautiful as the movie itself...and I agree it could only be Gregory Peck! The sad end is practical and that's wat makes the magic live on...

  3. @Ro: If a cary grant fan comes up I'll direct him/ her to my post on An Affair to remember!!! lol :)

  4. @Abhi: Thank you for the praise...U made my day!!

  5. hey nice writeup...i am gonna watch this again tonight :)...and drool over Peck once again :)

  6. @Dimpy: Try watching The Paradine Case also'll see a more intensely romantic Peck, and drool over him yet again!! Thanks for the comment by the way!

  7. Wonderful, wonderful piece on what is one of my most favourite romantic comedies.
    And thank God, handsome chaps such a Joe don't prowl the Indian newsrooms.

  8. Ha ha great observation!! Sigh!! Imagine what the newsrooms would be if such Joes would walk around in them.. A super sigh!!!!

  9. One of my all time favourite films.........simply love gregory peck and trust me you have wonderfully captured the pathos of the film........

  10. Thank you Monty...I guess we both need to sit together and watch this film one day...And we both will drool, drool and drool...Ki bolish???

  11. Hi Sharmi,

    OK, that post about your Nutan contributions is up here:

    And speaking about Gregory Peck and Roman holidays, it's real funny because (you've heard about my Dad, now about my mum!) he used to be my mother's idol, and the whole of my childhood basked in the sun of her appreciation of him; she had his posters on the wall, and we used to pay special attention to him whenever there was a film with him in it!
    cheers (and thanks)

  12. @Yves: Thanks a ton for that post. And ya, not just your mom, I bet many ladies those days harboured romantic fantasies regarding Peck. And, the amazing fact is that, even today, his charm and popularity is unmitigated!!! Sigh...they do not make men like him anymore!!
    P.S. I'm off to read that Nutan post.

  13. thanx 4 rightin about this movie. its not only a classic but one of the best love stories. all though there have been so many clones of it none of them could come close. it always has its own charm.

  14. @Cancerian: Right you are. This film is absolutely unmatched...Thanks for the comment :)