Roman Holiday (Vacanze Romane) – USA 1953

Directed by: William Wyler

Starring: Audrey Hepburn; Gregory Peck; Eddie Albert.

A summer holiday is just a dream this year? Joint the most famous Rome’s sightseeing tour and meet Princess Ann and the foreign correspondent Joe Bradley…

Roman Holiday, a sort of variation of the story narrated in 1934 Capra’s “It happened one night”, was written to star Cary Grant as Joe Bradley and Elizabeth Taylor as Princess Ann. Taylor was unavailable and the role passed to the almost unknown Audrey Hepburn that became a star and won the 1954 Academy Award as Leading Actress. Grant refused the role of Joe Bradley because he felt he was a bit too old to play a man having an affair with the young Hepburn (he also refused to play Linus Larrabee in Billy Wilder’s Sabrina” for the same reason). This way Gregory Peck had his first occasion to play in a comedy.

This romantic comedy is curiously linked to the McCarthyism era. In that period when the cold war nourished the anti-communist paranoia, many people were accused of disloyalty against United States, in particular in Hollywood many screenwriters, directors, actors, musician etc… were put in the so called “Blacklist” because of their political beliefs (sometimes just supposed) and banned form studios. Dalton Trumbo, who wrote Roman Holiday script with John Dighton, was one of the Hollywood ten. He had been blacklisted after refusing in 1947 to give information about communist presence and influence in Hollywood (he joined the American Communist Party from 1943 to 1948) before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) He was forced in continuing his screenwriting activity under pseudonym or using some Front. For Roman holiday he’s friend Ian McLellan Hunter fronted him and also accepted the Oscar when the film won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay (Only in 1993 the Academy gave the award to Trumbo’s wife (he died in 1976). Also the involvement of William Wyler in this film is link some way to the Blacklist: it seems that Wyler, knowing that the HUAC were showing some interest on him, preferred to go filming in Europe to put some distance between them!

A few related movies (for different reasons):

It happened one night – USA 1934. Directed by: Frank Capra. Starring: Claudette Colbert; Clark Gable; Walter Connolly.

The way we were – USA 1973. Directed by: Sydney Pollack. Starring: Barbra Streisand; Robert Redford.

The Front – USA 1976. Directed by: Martin Ritt. Starring: Woody Allen; Zero Mostel.

The talented Mr Ripley – USA1999. Directed by: Anthony Minghella. Starring; Matt Damon; Gwyneth Paltrow; Jude Law.

Quest’estate puoi solo sognartele le vacanze? Unisciti al più famoso giro turistico di Roma in compagnia della Principessa Anna e del giornalista Joe Bradley…

Vacanze Romane, una sorta di variante del film di Frank Capra del 1934 “Accadde una notte”, fu pensato per Cary Grant, che avrebbe dovuto interpretare Joe Bradley, e per Elizabeth Taylor, la Principessa Anna. Liz Taylor aveva altri impegni e così il ruolo passò alla semisconosciuta Audrey Hepburn che ebbe l’occasione di diventare una star e vincere l’Oscar 1954 come Migliore Attrice Protagonista. Cary Grant rifiutò il ruolo di Joe Bradley perché pensava di essere troppo vecchio per interpretare un uomo innamorato della giovane Hepburn (per lo stesso motivo rifiutò anche il ruolo di Larry Larrabee nel film di Billy WilderSabrina”). In questo modo Gregory Peck ebbe finalmente l’occasione per interpretare la sua prima commedia.

Questa commedia romantica è singolarmente legata all’era del Maccartismo. In quel periodo, mentre la guerra fredda alimentava la paranoia anti-comunista, molte persone furono accusate di slealtà verso gli Stati Uniti,a Hollywood,  in particolare, molti sceneggiatori, registi, attori, musicisti ecc.… furono messi nella cosiddetta “Lista Nera” a causa del loro credo politico (talvolta solo supposto) e banditi dagli studi cinematografici. Dalton Trumbo, che scrisse Vacanze Romane con John Dighton, era uno dei famosi “dieci di Hollywwod”. Fu messo nella lista nera nel 1947 dopo essersi rifiutato fornire informazioni riguardo alla presenza di attivisti comunisti a Hollywood (lui fu iscritto al Partito Comunista Americano dal 1943 al 1948) di fronte al Comitato per le Attività Antiamericane. Fu costretto a continuare la sua attività di sceneggiatore usando vari pseudonimi o servendosi, come accadde per Vacanze Romane, di vari prestanome. Per questo film fu “coperto” dall’amico Ian McLellan Hunter, che ritirò anche L’Oscar vinto da Vacanze Romane per la migliore sceneggiatura nel 1954. Nel 1993 l’Academy consegnò l’Oscar alla moglie di Trumbo (morto nel 1976). Anche il coinvolgimento di William Wyler nel film pare sia stato in qualche modo incoraggiato dalla Commissione per le attività Antiamericane: si dice che Wyler seppe che la Commissione si stava interessando a lui e pensò che lavorare in Europa per un po’ potesse tenerlo lontano dai guai.

Alcuni film collegati (per diverse ragioni):

Accadde una notte – USA 1934. Diretto da: Frank Capra. Con: Claudette Colbert; Clark Gable; Walter Connolly.

Come eravamo – USA 1973, Diretto da: Sydney Pollack. Con: Barbra Streisand; Robert Redford.

Il prestanome – USA 1976. Diretto da: Martin Ritt. Con: Woody Allen; Zero Mostel.

Il talento di Mr Ripley – USA 1999. Directed by: Anthony Minghella. Starring; Matt Damon; Gwyneth Paltrow; Jude Law.

About Ella V

I love old movies, rock music, books, art... I'm intrested in politics. I adore cats. I knit...

8 responses »

  1. Nostra says:

    Nice description of this movie, it was a pleasant surprise watching it recently. Thanks for the link love!

  2. idthornell says:

    I love that movie! We have a dvd that includes interviews with Gregory Peck and Audrey’s son. Wonderful stuff!

  3. reWOLLuzza says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for an award. Hop over to my blog for details when you have a moment and would like to pass it on.

  4. This is one of my all-time favorite movies! it’s been too long since I’ve viewed it and this reminds me I need to watch this very soon.

  5. lottieknits says:

    Thanks for the like 🙂
    Really interesting blog!

  6. howfesch says:

    One of my favourite movie! Such a bitter sweet stry, thank you for posting thus reminds me to re-watch it again for the uptenth time.

  7. Pit says:

    I like that movie a lot, too. We have it here on DVD.
    Best regards from southern Texas,

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