This William Wyler romantic comedy-drama [from a story by Dalton Trumbo] is the Graustarkian fable in modern dress, plus the Cinderella theme in reverse. He times the chuckles with a never-flagging pace, puts heart into the laughs, endows the footage with some boff bits of business and points up some tender, poignant scenes in using the smart script and the cast to the utmost advantage.
The aged face of the Eternal City provides a contrast to the picture’s introduction of a new face, Audrey Hepburn, British ingenue who made an impression with the legit-goers in Gigi. Gregory Peck, in the role of American newspaperman, figures importantly in making the picture zip along engrossingly. Eddie Albert makes a major comedy contribution as a photog who secretly lenses the princess during the 24 hours she steals away from the dull court routine.
The fine script deals with a princess who rebels against the goodwill tour she is making of Europe after arriving in Rome. The adventures she encounters with Peck during the day and evening are natural and amusing. After this day of fun is over the princess and the reporter are in love, but each knows nothing can come of the Roman holiday.
All the interiors, except those in the Palazzos Brancaccio and Colonna, were lensed in Rome’s Cinecitta Studios, while exteriors put on film many landmarks of the city.
1953: Best Actress (Audrey Hepburn), Motion Picture Story [awarded to Ian McLellan Hunter, in place of blacklisted Dalton Trumbo], B&W Costume Design (Edith Head)
Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Supp. Actor (Eddie Albert), Screenplay, B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction, Editing