I watched Roman Holiday last night. I didn’t intend to, but my roommate was watching it and Audrey Hepburn is adorable and Gregory Peck is beautiful and the whole movie bubbles with charm and quiet gags…it’s a ringer.
I also hadn’t seen it since before I went to Rome, so it was fun to do the pretentious thing and say, “Oh yes, I know that bridge. It has a great view of Vatican City.”
It occurred to me as I went to sleep (where I would dream about Gregory Peck, no really, I did) how different the ending of the movie would have been if it were made today.
For one, it wouldn’t have had that quietly sad yet somehow triumphant ending.
Joe would have written the story. But he would have made it into a declaration of love. How his views on the Princess were changed. How she was a real person, lovely and autonomous, and had utterly charmed him.
He wouldn’t have turned it in but SOMEHOW his publisher would have gotten a hold of it and published it, horror of horrors!
Ann would have read it and been shocked and angry and hurt – especially since she truly loved Joe!
But at the press interview, when she saw his face again, and realized that his story was actually a love letter, she would have forgiven him, and instead of exiting demurely, she would have run to Joe, and they would dash out to his scooter and ride away!
They’d make it work somehow! We’d never know how, but they would! Good feelings and closure abound!
How lovely is it, then, that this classic is not a piece of flippant Hollywood idiocy. Yes, it makes me sad that Ann remains in her stifling lifestyle – but she’s a little more grown up for her sacrifice, and has gained some backbone. Yes, it makes me sad when Joe walks away, probablynever to see Ann again outside of a newspaper or press interview. But just because you spent a magical day with someone in Rome doesn’t mean you’re meant to be together.
So, even though I hate the ending, I love the ending, the whole story, and its perfect balance between absurdity and realism.