The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

This must be the ultimate mood setter for my Roman holiday

with 21 comments

In less than one week I’m heading to Rome for a short vacation in company with my 18 year old daughter. Usually I barely ever open the weather app in my smart phone, but now I’m obsessing over it, checking it out at least once every hour to see if there’s any change. But the closer to the take-off we get, the more certain does the app seem to be in its prediction. We’d better bring an umbrella. Or at least be prepared to buy one from the umbrella sellers I assume are swamping the streets, if it’s anything like Athens.

This isn’t how I pictured it. In Rome you’re supposed to stroll around in ancient quarters under an eternally shining sun. When you need to cool yourself you have an ice cream or take off for a romantic ride through the city on a vespa. If you get wet, it’s from sweat. Rain is unheard of. At least in the movies I’ve seen.

Earlier this year I watched Allen’s latest movie, To Rome with Love, which I probably liked more than most others because of my upcoming trip. Even if some of the stories are a little thin, it’s excellent as a tourist leaflet. Last night the turn came to another movie taking place in Rome: Roman Holiday.

I insisted on that the young lady I’m travelling with should watch it too. It appeared to be a part of the preparations for the journey, as essential as localizing our passports and getting some local currency.

Too old?
Classic or not, I wasn’t entirely sure of what she’d make of it. I knew she was open minded, ready to embrace movies outside of the box office hit lists, but maybe this was to stretch her tolerance too far? Black and white, almost as old as her grandmother – maybe it was too old to be enjoyable?

But I needn’t have worried. This film hits your cinematic vein like a glass of champagne. Soon enough she was sparkling as much as I was. We were charmed by Audrey Hepburn, we fell in love with the love story between the princess on the run and the man of the people and we laughed at the lighthearted comedy.

It brought us to a different world, where cell phones didn’t exist and people talked to each other and watched the street life rather than keeping updated with the updates of acquaintances on Facebook.  A world where even the shadiest of paparazzi would observe codes of honor and duty.  I’m not sure it ever existed in real life, but so what? Sometimes a well told fairy tale is what you need most.

I’m afraid watching Roman Holiday hasn’t helped a bit to set our expectations right. I’m now more convinced than ever that Rome will be beautiful, romantic, sunny rather than polluted, noisy and rainy. But so what? I’ll happily remain in that bubble of belief for one more week, until reality hits us.

And when it does, I will recall one of my favorite lines of Gregory Peck (labelled by the 18 year old as a “hunk”):

Well, life isn’t always what one likes, is it?”

Roman Holiday (William Wyler, US, 1953) My rating: 4,5/5

Written by Jessica

October 24, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in Roman Holiday

21 Responses

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  1. If you’re aiming for a sweltering Rome, maybe late October is not the time to go? 😉 But look at it from the bright side — the more rain, the less pollution…

    This movie seems to be one of those that actually deserves its status as a classic, almost 60 years old it does not feel dated in the ways that matter. Instead, I found especially the ending refreshing — why can’t more contemporary movies realise when enough’s enough?

    Sofia

    October 24, 2012 at 6:07 am

    • Well I’d rather go in September or April/May, but alas – studies and work doesn’t allow it. This was the best we could do. I don’t mind the rain too badly for my own part tbh, but I think my daughter might have objections.

      Did it strike you watching it how similar it is to Notting Hill? It’s more or less the same – with one big difference – the ending….

      Jessica

      October 24, 2012 at 9:57 am

      • Nope, but the I haven’t seen Notting Hill since it premiered and it did not make that deep of an impression on me.

        Sofia

        October 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

  2. I totally agree with your daughter, he is (or was) a hunk 😉

    Fiffi

    October 24, 2012 at 8:32 am

    • I’m old enough to use the word “handsome”. But I think we’re on the same page. 🙂

      Jessica

      October 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

  3. Great way to prepare for your trip and it’s a great movie which I saw for the first time a couple of months ago. It really is a “modern day” fairtytale.

    Nostra

    October 24, 2012 at 8:58 am

    • Fairytale is the word. Basically it could be written by H.C. Andersen.

      Jessica

      October 24, 2012 at 9:58 am

  4. Oooh! I love Rome! Hope you have a fantastic time.

    On a side note – watch out for thieves. Keep your bags close to you (they woosh past on Vespa’s and steal handbags from your shoulder) and don’t pay attention to children asking you for directions (they distract by flapping newspapers under your nose while stealing wallets from pockets).

    I am sure it will be as beautiful in the rain as it is in the sunshine. Enjoy!

    Sephrenya

    October 24, 2012 at 10:23 am

    • I’ll be watchfull! Great to see you here, Guildmum! I hope you’re enjoying it in Panda land. I’m afraid I haven’t gotten there. Wow remains uninstalled on my computer.

      Jessica

      October 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

  5. Ooooh I adore this film and your young travel companion is so right, Gregory IS an absolute hunk 😉 Thanks to Roman Holiday, I never think of Rome without sighing, ahah. What girl wouldn’t wish to meet a stranger who looked like him, ahah. Have a lovely time in Rome, man I’m so jealous!! Maybe there you could visit Via Margutta 51?

    ruth

    October 25, 2012 at 12:16 am

  6. I knew Ruthy would be here for this one.

    I cannot comment too much as I havent seen it, but it still looks a good one.

    • I know you’re not all that keen on older movies, but this is one you really should watch!

      Jessica

      October 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm

  7. Great post. Have fun in Rome. I’m VERY jealous.

    fernandorafael

    October 27, 2012 at 5:21 am

  8. Seen it last year and it’s a good movie. A shameless feel good movie.

    And don’t worry, Rome is beautiful 🙂

    carrandas

    October 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    • Yes, I’ve got the impression it’s beautiful in rain as well.

      Jessica

      October 29, 2012 at 9:29 am

  9. This is one of my favorite films. I let myself get caught up in the fun every time. Every time, I let myself believe that it will turn out differently. Every time, I’m wrong. But the movie earns my tears, and I’m fine with that.

    George Watches Things

    November 4, 2012 at 3:27 am

    • It’s wonderful! Especially after visiting Rome. I’ve just returned and now I really feel the urge to buy it so I can enjoy it again. Who knows, maybe it will end differently one day? You never stop hoping. 😉

      Jessica

      November 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm


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