Bring home newest release of the classic ‘Roman Holiday’ on 4K

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the classic film Roman Holiday, Paramount has released a new 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital Code 2-disc set. This film stars Gregory Peck and introduces Audrey Hepburn in her first starring role.

Hepburn is Princess Ann who is on a royal tour of European cities. She is getting bored and tired of her position and longs to escape from the constraints and responsibilities with which she lives. Lo and behold, she does. Princess Ann sneaks out one evening in Rome and for the next 24 hours she finally gets the chance to discover what it is to live like a non-royal, free of the rigid life and able to do what she wants. 

Joe Bradley (Peck) discovers this young woman sleeping on a bench and tries to wake her up, but having been sedated while at the embassy, all she wants to do is sleep. Being the good man he is, he cannot let her stay alone on the bench so he takes her back to his apartment, where she spends the night – all above board. No hanky panky. 

The following day journalist Bradley learns that Princess Ann has been taken ill and cannot attend her functions. After seeing a photo of the young princess, Bradley realizes the woman who is sleeping in his apartment is Princess Ann. So, what is a journalist to do? He wants to get an exclusive on the princess so he enlists the help of his photographer friend Irving Radovich (Eddie Albert) and they devise a plan to unobtrusively take pictures of Ann (who is calling herself Anya) as the three embark on a fun-filled day in Rome. Ann, aka Anya, has no idea the two men are journalists.  

The first thing she does before anything else is cut her hair. This releases her psychologically from her royal life.

The trio manages to get themselves into quite some interesting situations, while Ann is enjoying everything and does not want to return to royal life. The three have some fun antics in the eternal city, including a far-fetched ride on a Vespa.

What Bradley doesn’t plan on are the feelings he and Ann begin to feel as their friendship blossoms. 

The ending is perhaps not what romantic viewers would have liked to see. It is fun to think of the next chapter in the lives of Princess Ann and Joe Bradley if there would have been a sequel. But viewers can make up their own minds about whether they will end up together somehow in the future or not. Either way, this makes for a classic story that stands the test of time. 

There are plenty of bonus features on the Blu-ray. Filmmaker and historian Leonard Maltin discusses the film, which was made entirely in Rome. There is another feature about the costumes and an interesting look at the history of Rome in the locations which were part of the movie. This was the first time Audrey Hepburn had a starring role and her career at Paramount is the subject of yet another bonus. After finishing Roman Holiday she went on to star in another classic film, Sabrina, with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. Next came War and Peace followed by Funny Face. She is also known for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, My Fair Lady, and many other classic movies. 

Another bonus feature delves into the story of the screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who had many trials and tribulations as he was one of the “Hollywood Ten” who were blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

The 4K Ultra HD disc is the clearest version of the film. This black and white movie is a delight however it would have been wonderful if it had been filmed in color. Yet, it holds up well in black and white on 4K.

Many scenes in Roman Holiday have been reenacted and referred to in other films, like the scene where they encounter the mouth of truth, and the fun Vespa drive. This is a movie that is a go-to when anyone is in the mood for a fun, sweet, and enjoyable story.

Roman Holiday is not rated. There are scenes of smoking and a cute non-brutal fight scene.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 30 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, is the entertainment correspondent for Good Day Orange County, and has her own TV show, Beyond the Red Carpet, on Village Television in Orange County. She is a longstanding member of the Television Critics Association and is accredited by the MPAA. Follow her on Twitter.

photos courtesy Paramount Home Entertainment