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At the leading man's own suggestion, newcomer Hepburn was generously accorded equal above-the-title billing with Peck: he knew that the film belonged to her anyway and wasn't one to stand on ceremony. As the princess who chafes at stuffy responsibility Hepburn's appealing girlishness is suffused with a will and wilfulness that rubs delightfully against Peck's more earnest mannerisms (even playing light-hearted comedy, he's still Atticus Finch at heart). The then-unusual decision to shoot entirely on location provides the movie with its glorious travelogue backdrop, and stalwart character-actor Eddie Albert is a fine foil for the two leads. Although Wyler is best known now for the grander vistas of The Big Country and Ben-Hur, none of his epics have as much heart as this.
On the DVD: Roman Holiday comes to DVD in a good digitally restored print--in itself a powerful reason to acquire the movie on disc. Sound is clean Dolby mono. Extras include a brief piece on the film restoration process, and a short documentary about costume designer Edith Head, which isn't specifically about this movie. The 25-minute making-of featurette has recent and archive interviews with cast members, including Peck and Eddie Albert, as well as William Wyler's daughter, plus Hepburn's screen test footage. Still-photo galleries and trailers complete a pleasant selection. --Mark Walker
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