Audrey Hepburn's first starring role illuminated her unique qualities beautifully. It's hard to imagine anyone else fitting the role of a princess quite so well, in William Wyler's romantic comedy "Roman Holiday".
Hepburn is the epitome of poise and elegance as royalty on a tour of Europe. While in the public eye she maintains an immaculate façade, but she is less happy personally. The toll of endless engagements and no time for herself is slowly driving her to despair. And while in the bustling city of Rome, she makes her escape for 24 hours of fun.
Unfortunately for her she has been given an injection to sleep. Unable to stay awake she is rescued from a night spent sleeping on a wall by a begrudging Gregory Peck. It isn't until the light of morning that journalist Peck realises who this enchanting imposition is.
Was this modern-day reality, it would be milked into another yawningly boring scandal. But even by 1950s standards, this is an old-fashioned movie and Peck has no intentions of causing a furore. He does spot the potential for an article though and spends the day taking her on a tour of Rome, indulging her in all the tourist activities she could never hope to do as a princess.
Hepburn treats all these activities with wide-eyed delight, steadily eroding the rather crusty Peck until romance begins to blossom. Filmed entirely in Rome, the location does rather dominate the movie. But within time the mix of silly comedy and innocent love turns the viewer into a willing tourist. It's a trip that's over all too soon, but is a delightful escape for all concerned.