William Wyler’s Roman Holiday, starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, arrives on Blu-ray for the first time as a part of the Paramount Presents line.
This is one of the few films issued on the Paramount Presents line to include a digital copy. The collectible packaging also includes a fold-out poster and interior photo spread. In any event, the limited edition Blu-ray is a worth addition to anyone’s collection.
Paramount wanted William Wyler to film this love story on their back lot but Wyler wouldn’t have it. Instead, the cast and crew headed to post-war Rome where the city is as much of a character as Peck and Hepburn themselves. Hepburn’s performance as Princess Ann would win her an Oscar for Best Actress. The Oscar would pave the way for Hepburn’s future career. In another universe, it’s quite possible that Elizabeth Taylor or Jean Simmons could have starred in the role. Overall, Roman Holiday earned 10 Oscar nominations, winning three.
The American Film Institute would later honor Roman Holiday as the 4th greatest love story in 100 Years…100 Passions. AFI also honored the film as #4 romantic comedy in the 10 Top 10
Roman Holiday is remastered from a 4K film transfer but it took a lot of work to get there. The digital restoration was also possible thanks to the Dupe Negative and a Fine Grain element. They’ve gone over every single frame in the film to remove the scratches, dirt, and other damage. The original negative, which had been processed at a film lab in Rome, was also in terrible shape to the point in which a Dupe Negative was required. In terms of sound, the original mono track was also remastered for the release since getting a 5.1 mix is impossible. The film is as director William Wyler would want us watching it today.
One of the nice things to enjoy about the Blu-ray release is that Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo gets credited on both the packaging and in the film. Trumbo was also blacklisted when the film was first released. The Academy would go onto produce a statuette posthumously in 1993. The WGA would also go onto restore his name to the credits in 2011. It’s great that both the Academy and WGA realized the wrongdoing from a dark period in American history. To see him get the credit on both the packaging and film is certainly a wonderful thing.
I have the complete bonus content listed below but the only new thing here is the Filmmaker Focus featuring film critic/historian Leonard Maltin discussing the film. Everything else is from the previous DVD release.
- Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on Roman Holiday (NEW)
- Behind the Gates: Costumes
- Rome with a Princess
- Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years
- Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist
- Paramount in the ’50s: Remembering Audrey
- Theatrical Trailers
- Four Photo Galleries
- The Movie
- The Premiere
DIRECTOR: William Wyler
SCREENWRITERS: Dalton Trumbo and Ian McHellan Hunter and John Dighton
CAST: Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn with Eddie Albert