Wednesday, 12 May 2010
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...