Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Roman Holiday (1953)

WHO: William Wyler directed this.

WHAT: I had the pleasure of interviewing Wyler's daughter Judy Wyler Sheldon back in 2007; she resides locally and can sometimes be spotted at screenings of her father's work (most recently I saw her at the Noir City presentation of his 1931 A House Divided). Here's an excerpt from that interview, in which she talks about spending a summer in Rome with her parents while Roman Holiday was made.
It was the first movie he made in Europe on location, and I guess it was the first big Hollywood movie that had been made in Rome. I remember my parents saying how the city authorities leaned over backwards to make it easy for them to film there, closing off streets and all the stuff that's much harder to get done today. My father had just the most wonderful time, and my mother as well, living there while making this movie. 
WHERE/WHEN: Tonight through Tuesday, June 25 at the Stanford Theatre, with nightly screenings at 7:30 and additional 3:15 shows on Saturday and Sunday.

WHY: The Stanford's summer calendar is now available online, and although I've already written a general preview of the summer selections, there are plenty of further titles worth highlighting. William Wyler fans should certainly take note of the August 24-27 booking of the director's 1933 Counselor-At-Law, Audrey Hepburn fans should likewise take note of The Nun's Story August 14-16 along with this week's screenings.

I've never watched them in close enough succession to understand why, but I've long had an unexplained suspicion that there's some kind of primal connection between Roman Holiday and Roberto Rossellini's 1954 with Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders, Voyage To Italy a.k.a. Journey To Italy. Perhaps the Rossellini film is the artistic obverse of Wyler's Hollywood classic? I'm not sure, but this week seems like a good one to investigate this hunch, as a new DCP version of Voyage To Italy screens at the Rafael Film Center tomorrow and Sunday (and the first Rossellini/Bergman collaboration Stromboli screens there Sunday and next Thursday), while Roman Holiday plays at the Stanford.

HOW: On a 35mm Audrey Hepburn double bill with Billy Wilder's Sabrina.

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