Director: William Wyler
Cast: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert
Release Date: September 15, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8/10
For the first time ever on Blu-ray, remastered from a 4K ﬁlm transfer, ROMAN HOLIDAY features a legendary, Oscar-winning performance from Audrey Hepburn (in her first starring role). Nominated for a total of 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, it’s the story of a modern-day princess who, rebelling against the royal obligations, explores Rome on her own. She soon meets an American newspaperman (Gregory Peck) who pretends ignorance of her true identity, in the hopes of obtaining an exclusive story. Naturally, his plan falters as they inevitably fall in love. Featuring Eddie Albert as a carefree cameraman pal, a classic Dalton Trumbo screenplay, expert direction from William Wyler, and featuring Edith Head’s Oscar-winning costumes, it’s a timeless romantic comedy considered to be one of the greatest films from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Please Note: Paramount Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
Be sure to also check out our Blu-ray reviews for the other releases in the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line!
The timeless film classic ‘Roman Holiday’ tells the wonderful tale of a modern-day princess who during a tour of appearances throughout the world sneaks away one quiet night in Rome under sedation and by fate crosses paths with an American newspaper writer who is kind enough to offer her shelter in her inebriated state. Upon learning of who the woman he’s come into contact with actually is, he sees the potential for a massive exclusive story with the princess. Convincing her to stay and enjoy the culture before returning to her royal duties, the pair set out on an adventure through Rome and end up sharing both a day and connection that neither is liable to ever forget. Originally released in 1953, ‘Roman Holiday’ was directed by acclaimed filmmaker William Wyler (Ben-Hur, Funny Girl) from a story by the infamous Dalton Trumbo and starring acting legends Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Nominated for ten academy awards, the film quickly become a hit, and still endures a beloved legacy today well over half of a century later.
The 1953 masterpiece of cinema ‘Roman Holiday’ comes to Blu-ray for the first time ever as the ninth entry in Paramount Home Entertainment’s new collectible ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line which offers various classics from the studio’s expansive library in new Blu-ray editions that each feature new 4K film transfers, along with quality lossless audio presentations, collectible packaging and more. The beloved black and white classic ‘Roman Holiday’ starring acting greats Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn definitely makes an incredibly welcome addition to the ‘Paramount Presents’ line of titles with its unforgettably touching tale of a man and a woman from drastically opposite ways of living who come together by chance and end up sharing a wonderful adventure throughout Rome. It’s one of those rare gems of cinema that just seems to exude happiness in the way it’s delivered, a truly sweet and remarkably rewarding film that is nothing short of a downright pleasure from start to end. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of this tremendous classic, this gorgeous new Blu-ray release is surely the perfect way to experience it for the first time. Longtime fans of the film should also be blown away by the impressive quality provided in its Blu-ray debut, allowing them to experience it like never before.
Overall, the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘Roman Holiday’ brings the 1953 cinema classic to Blu-ray at long last, with a stunning high definition video presentation from a new 4K film transfer which offers a glorious restoration of its original black and white presentation, further complimented by a sharp and more than capable Dolby TrueHD dual mono soundtrack that together should easily equal the best quality presentation of the film to be released. The Blu-ray release also comes home sporting the usual collectible packaging featured on each of the ‘Paramount Presents’ titles, in addition to some enjoyable extras both old and new which combined will easily make this one a definite must own for all of the film’s dedicated fans who have been long-awaiting the Blu-ray debut of ‘Roman Holiday’ all these years.
The new ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘Roman Holiday’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation of the film in its original black and white format from a new 4K film transfer and featuring its original 1.37:1 Aspect Ratio. This newly remastered video presentation looks absolutely marvelous as a whole, especially considering all of the work that reportedly went into restoring this classic. Below is a quote from the initial press release about the transfer:
“The original negative was processed at a local film lab in Rome and was unfortunately badly scratched and damaged. The film had to be pieced back together, but the splices were so weak due to the damage that extensive amounts of tape had to be used to allow the negative to make it through a printing machine. Because of the fragile state of the negative, a Dupe Negative was made and then blown up a few thousandths of an inch to cover all the splice tape that held the original negative together.
In anticipation of this new Blu-ray release, the film was digitally restored using the Dupe Negative and a Fine Grain element to capture the best possible image. Every frame was reviewed, and the film received extensive clean up to remove thousands of scratches, bits of dirt, and other damage. Because audio elements to properly up-mix to 5.1 do not exist, the original mono track was remastered, and minor anomalies were corrected. The result is a film returned to its original vibrancy and beauty that remains true to director William Wyler’s vision.”
Even with all of the work required, the end result is a smooth, sharp and downright gorgeous presentation that still retains plenty of grain, pops and other welcome artifacts representative of its film source. It holds up flawlessly even during the various darkly lit and somewhat fast moving sequences, never resulting in anything onscreen becoming negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Paramount that should absolutely thrill fans of this classic who have been anxiously awaiting its debut on Blu-ray.
The Blu-ray release features a 2.0 dual mono Dolby TrueHD soundtrack remastered from the original mono track. The audio presentation offers a crisp, clean and nicely balanced presentation that sounds great every step of the way. It effortlessly balances all of the music, dialogue and other audio elements throughout without ever allowing any audio content that might be occurring simultaneously to conflict with another or allow any element within to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this 2.0 dual mono Dolby TrueHD soundtrack shouldn’t have any trouble pleasing the fans as it constantly shines and delivers all of the film’s memorable music and quotes with the utmost quality.
The new ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘Roman Holiday’ features the line’s collectible packaging which includes a slipcase that opens up with a larger version of the original theatrical poster for the film, plus photos decorating the case’s interior. As always with these releases, we’ve included a ‘Beauty Shot’ of the packaging from the studio at the bottom of the review for a better idea of what to expect. The disc itself includes one brand new extra ‘Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on Roman Holiday’ (running approximately 7 minutes in length), along with a collection of previously released bonus content including ‘Behind the Gates: Costumes’ (running approximately 5 minutes), ‘Rome with A Princess’ (approximately 9 minutes), ‘Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years’ (30 minutes), ‘Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist’ (12 minutes), ‘Paramount in the 50’s’ (9 minutes) and ‘Remembering Audrey’ (12 minutes). The release also includes ‘3 Theatrical Trailers’ for the movie: ‘Original Theatrical Teaser’ (2 minutes), ‘Original Theatrical Trailer’ (2 minutes) and the ‘Theatrical Re-Release Trailer’ (2 minutes), in addition to ‘4 Still Galleries’: ‘Production’, ‘The Movie’, ‘Publicity’ and ‘The Premiere’.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 8/10
The Beloved Classic ‘Roman Holiday’ Arrives on Blu-ray for the First Time on September 15, 2020 as part of the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line from Paramount Home Entertainment