Valentine’s Day and romantic comedies go hand in hand. There is none better than the gold standard of the genre, Roman Holiday. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck team up for a timeless, romantic and beautifully serendipitous vacation in Rome. Roman Holiday, being one of the first post-war American films to shoot on location in Europe, captures the Italian city in all of its splendor. Considered a definitive classic for its acting and directing, Audrey Hepburn’s Hollywood debut forces even its most stoic viewers to crack a smile.
The film’s screenplay also remains current, and in fact inspired an award hopeful in 2016. Trumbo, which played at Loew Auditorium in late January, follows the very Dalton Trumbo who penned Roman Holiday. Blacklisted among the “Hollywood Ten” during a decade of fear, Trumbo received credit for his award-winning screenplay only in 2011. Having also written such classics as Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, and Papillon, starring Steve McQueen, Trumbo was perfect for a modern bio-pic. Bryan Cranston stepped comfortably into the role to deliver an award-worthy performance and bring to the screen the story of Hollywood’s least famous legend. Trumbo is a fantastic watch, with suitable performances and remarkably in-depth commentary on both the film industry and society.
However, despite a career performance from Cranston, Trumbo, created by an industry which seems to fear original writing, pales in comparison to the complex, emotional work of the man himself. Spartacus, The Brave One and Papillon all prove that Dalton Trumbo had a major impact upon motion picture history. Each of these films displays the writer’s uncanny ability to manipulate the layers of human nature, until each and every one of us yells, “I’m Spartacus!” In the end, however, it is Roman Holiday, the movie that lacked his name until the 21st century, which most perfectly captures the nuance of Trumbo’s brilliance. Billed upon its reissue as an “immortal” comedy romance, Roman Holiday is just that, ageless. Its witty dialogue–and forbidden excitement–will make you laugh, smile and feel genuinely happy throughout. Hepburn and Peck provide so much more, however, allowing us to have our very own escape from the pressures of reality, a holiday. Roman Holiday, from its hidden hand gags to raucous scooter rides, is the romantic comedy we all wish we could act out.