Film & Water #56 – Roman Holiday



Rob welcomes Cindy Franklin (the better half of SUPER MATES PODCAST) to talk about the classic ROMAN HOLIDAY, starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn!

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16 responses to “Film & Water #56 – Roman Holiday

  1. Great discussion Rob, and I’d say that, even if I wasn’t sleeping with your co-host. 😉

    I can’t really add much to the discussion, other than that ending really is a one-of-a-kind. If a movie like this were made today, the final scene would have Princess Anne running back into Joe’s arms and the two taking off on the scooter into the sunset. Hollywood would demand it. Test audiences would foam at the mouth at anything but.

    I think you two nailed it. The sense of decency, of duty is so very strong in the finale. The idea of someone sacrificing their own personal happiness for a bigger ideal is often lost in today’s “ME ME ME” film stories.

    Oh, and Cindy has an Audrey Hepburn “Breakfast and Tiffany’s” purse floating around here somewhere…


        1. I am on Shag’s “Fire And Water World Tour 2016” itinerary, but we plan on keeping it purely platonic. Well, I do. Not sure about Shag.


  2. This is both my sister’s and my partner’s favorite movie. Both women adore Audrey Hepburn and it’s easy to understand why. Hepburn exuded class; but it was inward, as well as outward. She was dressed by Givenchy, so of course she was glamorous; but, she had a depth of character lacking in most of Hollywood, especially today. She lived through the worst of life: poverty, terror, death and destruction and was honed like steel; and, yet, she never lost her humanity and it, in fact, grew exponentially. She was a tireless crusader for UNICEF, as it is children who suffer most in the world’s deprivations. She carries that in her performances.

    Audrey is perfect for the princess; not just because she looks the part; but, she understood duty. She exudes that, that her life belongs to her people, not herself. As such, this is the most special moment of her life. It is a moment for herself, before she assumes an adulthood that must be devoted to others.

    Peck is the perfect decent man, just as he was in To Kill A Mockingbird. He is a major physical presence and has that deep, awe-inspiring voice. But, he has a gentle, stoic face that makes you trust him.

    One thing that has always struck me of Hollywood then, as now, is the depth of character. Hollywood has always had its share of phonies and stars were often personnas, not people; but, there were more real people then. Stars today give lip service to causes; but, rarely take stands. Stars of those days were deeply involved in social causes. People like Humphrey Bogart, Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck and so many more tooks stands, whether again HUAC and the blacklists, enlisting to fight in WW2, or in working for causes like UNICEF. They didn’t just do the fundraiser galas; they went to the field and dragged cameras along to see what they were talking about. I still recall Hepburn in PSAs for UNICEF, showing children in Africa and keeping the cameras on them, not her. Elizabeth Taylor was the same way, when it came to her AIDS foundation. There is a famous moment, at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. Taylor came out to make an appeal for AIDS fundraising, and calls came from the crowd (of Wembley Stadium) to get back to the music. She responded with “I have something to say!” and silence fell over the stadium. They don’t make stars like that. They don’t make actors like Hepburn and Peck anymore; they don’t make many people like them, either.

    I love classic adventure films, sci-fi, mystery and the like; but, there is something about the romantic comedies of pre-70s Hollywood (and some after, though far fewer). The cliches are there; but, the actors seem truer. Maybe Hollywood just understood the fantasy that people wanted back then.

    Great to hear Cindy without that other guy butting in; though it is weird not hearing her co-host getting smacked. 🙂

    1. I totally agree with your insightful comments on Hepburn and her contemporaries versus the stars of today. I regularly teach a Pop Culture course where we look at iconic personalities in our society from a variety of areas such as film, sports, politics, music, etc. We examine what makes some rise above mere celebrity to truly iconic (enduring) status. When I assign a research paper where the students are to argue for a figure’s iconic status I am sure to get at least a few Audrey Hepburn essays. This used to surprise me as she died before my college undergrads were even born. The film that seems to draw most young women to Hepburn is Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Perhaps an even stronger pull is her indelible fashion sense and style. In an era of Marilyn Monroe & Jane Mansfield she was an ethereal alternative.

      PS: I hope it’s not bad form to recommend 2 new podcasts that those in the F&W community might enjoy but here goes:

      1. American Masters Podcast: Presents interviews and segments from the wonderful PBS series.

      2. Movie Sign with the Mads: Trace Bealieau & Frank Conniff (MST3K) now review movies new and old. What I’d give to hear a crossover between Rob and Shag & the Mads!

      1. Peter O’Toole has a great line, in How To Steal a Million. He hands Hepburn a “washer woman’s” clothes and tells her, “Let’s give Givenchy the night off.”

        My favorite performance of Hepburn, though, is Robin & Marion. It’s a great one from Sean Connery, too. He is an older Robin, grown tired of Richard and the Crusades, with much death and little treasure and glory. He returns home to England, after being released from his duty, to find things haven’t changed much, except everyone got older. Marion is now the Mother Abbess of a convent, who is about to be jailed for defying authorities. She is joyfully going to meet her fate, defiant to the last, when Robin “rescues” her, setting off new battles with the Sheriff and King John’s lackey. It’s a wonderful film, with healthy cynicism; and, yet, a tender rekindling of love between Robin & Marion. Marion shows the scars of how she tried to take her life, when Robin left and explains how she moved on and found new purpose. Robin laments the false glory he found and wants to be young again, defying the Sheriff and John. He leads a rabble against the Sheriff, who fights Robin for a last time. The Sheriff is played by Robert Shaw, who has a deep respect for Robin and little for John and his representative, who stirs up trouble. It’s a fitting end to legends, played by legends.

  3. Robin & Marian is a wonderful elegy on aging and regret. It pops up on TCM every so often. Another Hepburn classic some may be unfamiliar with is the thriller Wait Until Dark. Audrey is a blind woman placed in jeopardy by a truly menacing Alan Arkin.

  4. Wait Until Dark is a fantastic movie. Audrey gets credit for being a convincing blind woman, but Alan Arkin’s the most memorable part of the film.

    Two for the Road is one that I can’t make heads or tails of, but think about a lot. And it’s always interesting to see Audrey in her later years. People only seem to remember her young.

  5. Solid episode, you two. Pretty sure that harness that Ellen B wore in the Exorcist would have severed Hepburn in half.

  6. Great episode. I do love Roman Holiday. It’s where I first saw Eddie Albert when I was very young. So, when I stumbled across Green Acres, I let out a yell of “Hey, that guy from Roman Holiday!” and I have not stopped watching GA since. About once a year, I try to do a double feature of Roman Holiday and Charade. That’s a lot of Awesome Audrey. As always, Rob, hearing where you go next in the history of movies is always a joy. Whenever you want to discuss Fred Ott’s Sneeze, you can give me a shout.

  7. My daughter and I watch along (so long as the material is appropriate for a 9 year old). I posted a snippet about it in today’s blog. I find some of the smaller parts to be wonderful like the landlord, the barber, and the people they almost run over on the Vespa.

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