Review: Spellbound (1945)

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The Fault… is Not in Our Stars, But in Ourselves… — William Shakespeare

It’s so easy to adore Ingrid Bergman and it’s no different in Spellbound. Yes, she starts off as an austere psychiatrist purely interested and invested in scientific thought and practices in psychoanalysis. However, by the film’s conclusion, she evokes the passionate vitality that made her so beloved in pictures such as Casablanca (1942) and Notorious (1946).

The eminent Gregory Peck was still in the dawn of his career and while not your typical Hitchcockian hero, he is Gregory Peck a handsome actor with tremendous presence and a quiet dignity that made him an acting favorite for years to come, shortly to gain the reputation of an undisputed superstar. Put two such icons together and it’s honestly very difficult not to be won over, especially in a Hitchcock picture.

In fact, I’m predisposed to empathize with both of them from the very beginning and to thoroughly enjoy this picture even if it’s hardly the best of Hitchcock or the respective stars. But the story about the female psychiatrist Constance who falls in love with her colleague and subsequent patient one Dr. Edwards does have its share of enjoyments without question, aside from the names above the title.

As with any solid Hitchcock movie, there’s psychological duress and the man is implicated in a murder that he must run away from even if it’s proved he is innocent. So Spellbound is no question a romance and a bit of a mystery wrapped up neatly in a psychological thriller.

Michael Checkov the famed Russian stage performer (and nephew of Anton Chekhov) plays Dr. Brulov, Constance’s old mentor — a charming sort of gentleman who is impertinent but oh so sweet to his friends  — exhibiting the most jovial of personalities.

Even today, there still is a certain logic to psychodynamic therapy as there is to cognitive behavioral therapy that seems believable depending on how it is utilized and who is practicing it. Thus, though there are jumps Spellbound makes that are a little bit preposterous or a little too easy to resolve — like the perfect correlation between dreams and reality — there’s still kernels of truth in this film and it must be lauded for tackling the ideas of Freud in ways that were fairly groundbreaking for their day.

It also boasts the famed dream sequences inspired and partially orchestrated by the acclaimed surrealist artist Salvador Dali. His imprint is undeniable on the images that Peck recounts, reminiscent of the Persistence of Time and other similar works. Even Hitchcock would continue to address these topics with an arguably more Hitchcockian dream sequence in Vertigo and some similar analysis at the end of Psycho to assess Norman Bates.

Of course, Hitchcock films are at their best when the plot is working in spite of dialogue. Though the script is composed by Ben Hecht who has a long list of wonderful accomplishments, there’s also the influence of the overbearing hand of David O. Selznick on the picture meaning it relies perhaps too much on verbal explanation instead of Hitchcock’s own timeless setpieces or visual approach to cinema. Still, he does manage a few perspective shots that are particularly interesting providing us the frame of reference of several of his characters in key moments.

There’s also the benefit of Miklos Rozsa’s particularly elegant score which nevertheless is less a Hitchcock score as Bernard Hermann would famously compose later. In some respects, it suffocates the drama though it does include the cutting edge use of the Theremin, this marking one of its earliest appearances in a film score.

But ultimately, Spellbound does have a delightful false ending, as things slowly spiral down into despair only to find their new conclusion as all the puzzle pieces of Peck’s character begin to fit together. His exoneration is followed by the ousting of the real perpetrator, another quintessential Hitchcock villain.

The summation seems to be that though humanity might be wrought with shortcomings, many of them buried so deep inside, love does have an uncommon power to heal old wounds. The fault might be in ourselves but that need not be the resolution of the story.

3.5/5 Stars

Roman Holiday (1953): Escapism and Why That’s Okay Sometimes

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I’ve made a point of suggesting that the reason that I return to movies, again and again, is not because I go to them as an outlet of escapism but for the fact that films give us a little bit more insight into the lives we lead as human beings. In some ways, you could say I’ve even vehemently warned against films functioning in such a way if that’s their sole purpose. In other words, I’m not a proponent of turning on a movie and tuning out all the periphery. It sounds a little too much like Timothy Leary for my tastes.

And yet I return to Roman Holiday time after time.  This story that literally functions as a fairy tale, a vignette-filled journey that perfectly encapsulates a day on the town. And we get the pleasure of returning to it again and again along with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. I will qualify why this all still makes sense but first, a little background is in order.

From the first time I saw it, on a plane flight to England, I was enamored by the whole adventure and the individuals involved. Hepburn has remained unequivocally my favorite actress of all time period. Gregory Peck’s lasting screen presence keeps him among the greats as far as film stars go.

They make Roman Holiday work so impeccably, but the major key to director William Wyler’s success is the very fact that he took his film on location — something that was still a fairly new phenomenon. So instead of getting some artificial Italian world conjured up on the Paramount backlot, we got a far more realistic experience that is almost palpable with its authentic flourishes.

They’re the kind of iconic panoramas that you cannot try and fake without them turning out ridiculously corny. But Roman Holiday is the real deal and that shines through its crisp black and white imagery and successfully turns Rome into the third major player in this romance.

I think it’s telling that Roman Holiday is a fairy tale in itself. It’s the story of Princess Ann’s little bit of escapism. It’s a bit of bliss that she gets to share with someone very special. But does she wrap herself in it forever and never return to reality and the responsibilities she has? No, she goes back to them. And there’s a reluctance and as an audience, it’s certainly bittersweet.

But look at Ann in the end and we see that she has truly grown up in that short span of time. If she had not, she would have undoubtedly been content with a life living out her little fantasy and forgetting everything else around her of substance. That’s so easy to desire after all. However, in doing what she did, she not only grew immeasurably but, in the end, she has a magical experience to hold onto and remember fondly. The fact that it cannot last forever only makes it that much more special.

There’s nothing wrong with vacation — a day of rest and relaxation is necessary for all of us. It’s no coincidence that we have a weekend built into our daily rhythms. That’s why I enjoy returning to Roman Holiday every few years because it’s alright to have that guilty pleasure every once and a while. In fact, it’s not a guilty pleasure at all. You could make a case that stories like this are even necessary. But the important distinction to make is that escapism is fine — I’m not against it completely — but it needs to be in moderation.

We can return back to earth after the fun of the fairy tale and simultaneously our lives are made better and we have the good times to look back on. I will continue returning to Roman Holiday for years to come and without the least bit of hesitation. A little bit of fantasy can be a very good thing. I’ll try and remember that.

5/5 Stars

4 Star Films’ Favorite Movies: 21-25

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One of the reasons film is so engaging and fascinating is the discussion that it evokes from all people. Every person, no matter their age or knowledge, can have their own subjective opinion on a film and why they liked it, or better yet why they hated it so much that they wanted to throw up.

But I’m going to cut the discussion short and put my cinematic life on the line by being completely vulnerable with some of my admittedly subjective picks for my favorite movies. Any agreement is highly encouraged. All dissenting opinions will be disregarded without a thought. Enjoy #21-#25 in this ongoing series:

21. It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)

This first title was love at first sight. All the things I love about a great comedy. Completely lacking sophistication and full of hilarious insanity. Also, Mad…World has arguably the greatest ensemble every assembled for one film. Everyone shows up for the party and it’s wonderful. Jonathan Winters was my favorite discovery from this film because he truly was a comic gem of a man.

22. Some Like it Hot (1959)

Jack Lemmon will always and forever be one of my favorite actors. Maybe it’s because he reminds me of my Grandpa because my Grandpa is a funny man. But that’s neither here nor there. Some Like it Hot stems from the genius of Billy Wilder, always ready with a funny storyline (two cross-dressing musicians fleeing Chicago gangsters) and a rapier wit. Of course, there’s Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe too, and the Hotel Del Coronado makes a memorable appearance filling in for Florida. Boy, oh boy, am I a boy!

23. The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

Now this one might seem kind of random. But I quickly fell in love with the fateful whimsy of Jacques Demy. His love of American musicals is evident with the casting of both Gene Kelly and George Chakiris, but this is also undeniably a French production starring sisters Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Dorleac. Michel Legrand’s music is surprisingly catchy and the fact that the film’s exposition is all given through song intrigued me from the beginning.

24. Laura

Film-Noir became a favorite genre, movement, style (whatever you want to call it) early on and Laura was one of the reasons why. I think I was smitten with Laura (Gene Tierney) much like our protagonists, and the film’s core mystery was gripping in more ways than one. David Raksin’s haunting score adds yet another layer to the drama as does Otto Preminger’s direction through the film’s interiors.

25. To Kill a Mockingbird

By now Harper Lee’s novel and Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch are almost intertwined in my mind, so much so, it becomes difficult to separate the two. And since I loved the book growing up, it’s only fitting that the film adaption would also hold a special place. Its set of sentiment and moral uprightness is hard for me to disregard, even when I’m at my most cynical. Mary Badham does a wonderful job as does Brock Peters — the perfect foils for Peck’s monumental portrayal.

Review: The Gunfighter (1950)

thegunfighter1“Ringo don’t look so tough to me.”

Those are the words that propagate a legend and simultaneously follow notorious gunman Jimmy Ringo wherever he goes. There’s always some impetuous kid looking to have it out with him and every time it’s the same result. The kid never listens and Ringo rides off to the next town, wearier than he was the last time.

The Gunfighter has a surprisingly vibrant script with numerous names attached to it at different times including William Bowers, Nunnally Johnson, and Andre de Toth.  It evolves into a sort of chamber piece made into a carnival show when Jimmy Ringo (Gregory Peck) comes to the town of Cayenne.Kids milling about peering in and catcalling as this “murderer” sits in the saloon like a sideshow attraction.

It’s an oddly compelling commentary on celebrity, and in this case, notoriety as everyone far and wide knows the name Jimmy Ringo and is either in awe of it or ready to prove they’ve got the guts to take him down. He’s constantly being sized up, continually being gawked at, or gossipped about. That’s the price of such fame.

But on the opposite side of the coin, and incidentally, the side no one much cares to think about, there’s a jaded man who’s made a life out of gunning down other men and moving from one town to the next to the next. There’s something very human about growing old and that’s what Jimmy Ringo has done. Because as the years march ever onward your whole mindset shifts along with your priorities. A life on the run doesn’t have the same luster. You want to be able to settle down, to be happy, to be at peace. But old vendettas take a long time to die, continuing just as long as the legends that they follow.

the gunfighter 2Of all men to understand Ringo, you would think that the local Marshall (Millard Mitchell) would be the last, but he happens to be an old friend of the gunman. They used to run in the same circles before Mark softened up. His life mellowed out, while Ringo’s reputation continued to build.

The subsequent sequence in the jailhouse illustrates just how much weight a simple name can carry. When the well-to-do ladies of the town come to the sheriff with their petition for justice, they think little of the stranger who tries to shed a little light on Ringo’s point of view. However, the moment they hear his name uttered, everyone is in a tizzy, rushing out of the jail lickety-split. It reflects just how hypocritical their form of morality is.

the gunfighter 3The main reason Ringo stays in a town that doesn’t want him is all because of a girl (Helen Westcott). He waits and waits, biding his time, for any word from her, and finally, it comes. He gets his wish to see her and his son in private. These scenes behind closed doors are surprisingly intimate, casting the old gunman in an utterly different light.

Of course, none of that saves him when he walks out that door back into the limelight, living the life of Jimmy Ringo, whether he likes it or not. If the three vengeful brothers don’t get him, there’s someone waiting for him up in a second story window or hiding behind a corner. A man like that can never win in the end.

It struck me that this film has some thematic similarities to another film of the same year, All About Eve. Aside from the fact that I personally enjoy Gregory Peck a great deal more than Bette Davis, both films focus on aging icons. While Ringo is not so much manipulated as undermined by his own legacy, his story ends with a young man much like himself riding off into the distance, to take up the life that Ringo led for so long. The specters of such notoriety will haunt the boy until the day he dies, and much like Eve, the deadly cycle begins again. Henry King made an unprecedented 6 films with Peck and this is probably the hallmark for both of them, certainly their most prolific western respectively.

4.5/5 Stars

Keys of the Kingdom (1944)

TheKeysoftheKingdomvideocover.jpg“Heathens are not always low just as Christians are not always high.” – Gregory Peck as Father Chilsum

Tales of humble priests are more fit for the likes of a Bresson or Rossellini, but Hollywood proves it too can offer up a film with resonance along similar lines. It’s a more melodramatic tale, a  historical and religious epic of sorts, carved out of the studio era mold, but its facets are auspicious and abundant. The script comes from veterans Nunnally Johnson and Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

It’s also hard to believe that it was this role as Father Chilsum that truly galvanized Gregory Peck’s career early on. Because if you look at him, he’s an imposing figure, kind-faced and calm. Still, there’s an unwritten maturity that seems to dwell beyond those eyes of his like he’s been doing this for a long, long time. It makes his playing an old man not all that unbelievable, in spite of any amount of makeup.

Keys of the Kingdom is also blessed by the studio system with the likes of Thomas Mitchell, Edmund Gwen, Vincent Price and a surprisingly adequate array of Asian performers including Philip Ahn, Richard Loo, and Benson Fong in an especially notable turn as the Father’s faithful right-hand man Joseph.

Despite having a loving family, Francis came from humble roots and tough beginnings illustrated by the long-held divide between Catholics and Protestants. Even as he resolved to join the clergy, his heart struggles with love and assignments that feel unfulfilling to his heart.

That is until he asks to be assigned as a missionary in a province of China. In the ensuing decades, he works to leave his mark of goodwill on a community, and he’s an upright man not looking for so-called “Rice Christians,” believing such bartering is a forgery for God. As his track record reflects, he’s a rather unorthodox as far as priests go, but he makes up for it with sincerity. His best friend is an atheist, a doctor from back home, and he’s not just concerned about the spiritual well-being his flock but their physical health too–all too soon becoming a trusted healer of the town, despite having little to no official medical training.

And although his gains are humble, he garners the respect of most everyone he meets. His fellow helper Joseph, the initially curt Reverend Mother (Rose Stradner) and even a republic soldier Major Shen (Richard Loo), who is amazed by the religious man’s resolve. True, his congregation is hardly a boon of religious conversions, but he begins an orphanage, taking in discarded children and nurturing them on the mission grounds. Many years later the Father Chilsum is to be sent back home for the sake of his health. It’s a bittersweet goodbye to this place he called home for so many years.

However, there’s a peaceful contentment to his character that Peck reflects so seamlessly. This was a man who came here to this foreign land with a vision that went beyond conversion rates. First and foremost, he cared about loving people well, and everything else was added to him.

3.5/5 Stars

Review: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Atticus_and_Tom_Robinson_in_courtHere is one of the rare occasions when novel and film are so closely connected in my mind that I cannot help love Harper Lee’s initial work and its adaptation to the screen. They’re both so timeless in their own ways. Don’t get me wrong. They are very firmly entrenched in a bygone era, but this story exudes certain themes that are universal.

It’s rather like visiting an old friend. It seemed like so long. I can hardly remember the last time I sat down with To Kill a Mockingbird the book, or the movie for that matter. And yet it rushes back so easily. The characters, the settings, the story. I can almost visualize the words on the page as the scenes take place on screen. It’s a wonderful experience and I wish I could connect with something like this more often. But To Kill a Mockingbird is special to me because I read it at a young age and really ate it up. Thanks to Peck’s performance the story was just moving the second time around. It never ceases to be.

It struck me that I thoroughly enjoy Gregory Peck’s iconic performance as Atticus Finch, because of Mary Badham. Finch is a stalwart father figure and that comes out in the ways he guides and leads his young daughter Scout through life. She has a very cut and dry view of the world, not getting down the nuances or complexities around her. What Atticus does is model what it is to live life with other people, pure and simple. He takes the complexities of life and simplifies them in terms his daughter can try to make sense of.

To a lesser extent, that means telling his kids to leave the Radleys be and complementing the always ornery Mrs. Dubose. He is not prone to bravado by acting his age instead of playing football and not gloating about his skill with a gun. He’s too humble a man for that. He also does not fight back. He has more self-respect for himself and other people.

He attempts to instill this and other skills like tact in his kids, especially naive Scout. He gives her the eponymous metaphor that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because they are a bird (supposedly) that brings only beauty and goodness into the world. And as he says, and I’m paraphrasing, you never understand someone else until you climb into their skin and walk around a bit. He delves into what empathy is and it’s what allows him to feel sorry for the Ewells, instead of desiring vengeance.

Atticus Finch is one of the special characters that I would actually use as a model. He makes me question my own actions as I take on a role much like Scout. He’s constantly reminding, constantly being patient, and modeling what it means to do what is right. All this is done without condescension, without lecturing. It’s done out of love.

His greatest act is, of course, defending accused African-American man Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), because after all, without this central point there is no film or book before it. But rather than focus on the depiction of these African-American characters and whether they are objectionable or not, I would rather acknowledge that this was a simpler time with a lot of evil still left in the world (as there is now), so this film speaks to me, because on a basic level, it is a story of good in the midst of all this blind discrimination and hatred.

That simple truth still speaks to me even with a story that is over 50 years old. The only adult cast member who is still with us now is Robert Duvall, and he is well into his 80s. Gregory Peck with his bespectacled visage and his soothing yet commanding voice is gone. Brock Peters is no longer with us, nor are the many other lesser known figures. But their story and these characters they embodied remain as a testament to Harper Lee’s original work.

It seems important to ask ourselves why would a man like Atticus do what he did? Why would he take that risk when no one else would? He answers Scout in this straightforward manner, “If I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again.” He’s a man who holds himself to a different set of standards.

5/5 Stars

The Bravados (1958)

The_Bravados_-_US_film_posterThe Bravados opens with an ominous stranger in black riding towards a town. He doesn’t say much, but his presence alone creates tension enough. He gets led into town by the local deputy and after a meeting with the sheriff, he is allowed to stick around. His only reason for coming to the city of Rio Arriba is to watch the hanging of four outlaws, at least that’s what he says. But when he asks to see the prisoners, he surveys them and there is nothing but anger in his eyes.

As they wait for the hangman from out of town to arrive, Jim Douglas (Gregory Peck) gets reacquainted with the beautiful Josefa (Joan Collins). And nothing is said about their backstory, but there is obviously something between them. He at first refuses her offer to go to church, but requests to walk her over before reluctantly joining her in the chapel.

However, back at the jail, the hangman is not who he appears and stabs the sheriff in the back with the four outlaws getting away taking a local’s daughter with them. So the town is in a fury sending a posse after the fugitives led by Douglas.

And one by one Douglas tracks down the culprits. First, ambushing Parral (Lee Van Cleef) who he shoots after the man begs for his life to be spared. Next, he takes down Taylor and hangs him from a tree after dragging him behind his horse. The posse does eventually get the kidnapped girl Emma, but Douglas is far from satisfied, crossing the border to Mexico to finish the job. He guns down Zachary in a bar and his only target left is Lujan (Henry Silva). But that’s when things change. Douglas is knocked out of his blind rage for a moment. Because this whole vendetta began after his wife was raped and murdered. He went on an obsessive quest to find the four culprits and although these four no-goods constantly denied seeing his wife, he just went after them anyway.

It is Lujan who finally makes Douglas realize he made a mistake. In this epiphany, Douglas realizes he is little different than these four outlaws, willing to kill mercilessly, even in the name of justice. He goes back to town a hero, but he heads straight for the church where he confesses his wrongs to the local priest. He is a man with a lot to wrestle with, but also a lot to live for thanks to his daughter and Josefa. Although not quite as iconic and memorable, The Bravados, in a sense, is Gregory Peck’s version of The Searchers. This Henry King western in CinemaScope is noteworthy for allowing Peck to play another morally ambiguous character. He is no Atticus Finch.

3.5/5 Stars

Yellow Sky (1948)

yellowsky2From William A. Wellman comes an unheralded western with an intriguing cast dynamic. Gregory Peck is the undisputed star as the boss of a group of outlaws who ride into town, pull a quick bank job, and are forced to flee from the Cavalry across the desert wasteland. It’s the prerogative of “Stretch” (Peck) to continue across the desolate terrain, despite the obvious drawbacks. But everyone else reluctantly follows although a few are opposed including his biggest rival Dude (Richard Widmark).

The story could end there with the band of fugitives dying of thirst in no man’s land and it nearly does happen, but like a mirage, they come upon a ghost town. It’s like a sick joke because it seems that all the people have picked up and left. All that is except an old prospector and his plucky Granddaughter (Anne Baxter). She is wary of these marauders, and she is extremely protective of her old grandpa. The men get a bit lustful since they have not seen a woman for some time and she catches the eye.

Again, the path of this story seems like it will be stagnant once more and yet that’s before we knew that the two relations are sitting on top of a gold mine. That catches the attention of the outlaws and the avarice grows in the hearts of the men. Not to mention their lustful desires.

yellowsky4That’s what makes “Stretch” such an interesting villain as portrayed by Gregory Peck. Certainly, he does wrong in the eyes of the law, but he has his morals in a sense. He vows to the old man that they will keep their agreement to split the gold. It’s the honorable thing to do and he is smitten with the attractive Mike. But Dude is not so excited about this act of charity and so he gets the boys to turn on “Stretch.” They try and pin him down and thus unfolds the necessary gunfight. The power struggle reaches its apex in the shrouded saloon where “Stretch”, “Dude”, and “Lengthy” face off for one final showdown. Shots are fired and a desperate Mike goes charging in to witness the outcome.

The bad boys get their comeuppance and the stooges including Walrus and Half-Pint (Harry Morgan) are okay. Most importantly “Stretch” is now a straight arrow for the girl he loves by pulling the world’s first reverse bank robbery.

Yellow Sky was a thoroughly enjoyable story because it felt surprisingly dynamic and even graphic for a 1940s western. Highlights include Anne Baxter slugging Gregory Peck and dishing out the ultimate insult that he smells bad.  Peck is such a commanding presence, and it’s fun to see him in a darker role. Baxter was also deadly in a very different way than her backstabbing Eve Harrington. Richard Widmark and John Russell were worthy adversaries while Charles Kemper was the token fat guy. And I still cannot get over how young and dare I say, scrawny Henry Morgan looks.

I must confess that I have never read The Tempest, but this story is supposedly based on that Shakespearean tale. Well, now I know.

4/5 Stars

 

Review: Roman Holiday (1953)

Joe: Today’s gonna be a holiday.
Princess Ann: But you want to do a lot of silly things?
The answer is yes, yes we would!! That is the beauty of this film, which plays out as a lovely jaunt through Italy with two favorites in Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. With Hepburn being practically unknown at this point in time, it made her a wonderful choice to play Princess Ann. She was someone without any prior identifying roles making her young princess seem plausible. William Wyler took a chance on an unknown and he certainly hit the jackpot.
Gregory Peck on his part was always a strong leading man and an All-American type, perfect to play Joe Bradley. However, he also exuded gentlemanliness,s so despite the fact that the princess spent the night in his apartment we know nothing went on.  He had no ulterior motives bringing her to his apartment and even when he arranges to get an article out of her we know that is not who he is.
The film itself consists of wonderfully connected vignettes incorporating the Roman culture and landscape. Princess Ann leaves behind the hospitality of Joe in order to explore a bit before she goes back to her real life. In order to get that major scoop, he tails her and finally invites himself to tag along, so beginning the real fun. Princess Ann gets her beautiful locks cut by a friendly barber and buys some gelato from a street vendor.
 
Soon she takes her first puff of a cigarette, takes in the glory of the Coliseum, rides a Vespa through the hectic streets of Rome, and winds up in police headquarters with some explaining to do.They finish up their afternoon on a more thoughtful note at a wall of wishes originating during World War II.
 
One of the best moments occurs at the mouth of truth, a great stone statue, which you are supposed to stick your hand in before it eats it up. In a moment of sheer fear Princess Ann or Audrey Hepburn, I’m not quite sure who looks on in horror as a screaming Bradley removes his arm and his hand is gone. Up comes the hand from the coat sleeves and the jokes on her. It has absolutely no bearing on the plot but it makes us love Peck and Hepburn even more.
 

To finish off the evening the two companions and Irving (Eddie Albert) cause a ruckus at a dance aboard a barge before swimming away to safety. There Ann finds love and a soaking wet kiss to go with it. But it is at that moment when the laughs stop and the romance begins that everything becomes all too clear. This wonderful day cannot last forever. There is a moment, after one final embrace, when they have to say goodbye for good.

This is not one of those “love at first sight” stories, but it is a different sort of fairy tale where two individuals share an enchanting day together and fall in love. Every Cinderella story must end and so does this one (Anna: At midnight I’ll turn into a pumpkin and drive away in my glass slipper). They must eventually come back down to reality with Princess Ann fulfilling his duties and Joe moving on with his career.
 
Joe’s major newsflash is not a thing anymore. The whole day means too much to him and being the buddy he is, good ol’ Irving understands that. Speaking of Irving, he deserves some discussion. Eddie Albert’s character is spilled on, stepped on, knocked over, tripped, and through it all remains the perfect buddy for Gregory Peck.  Even his little car is a riot, not to mention his inconspicuous tiny cigarette camera and his sly efforts at photography in every type of circumstance. Irving shares a great deal of double talk with Joe which somehow gets past the unsuspecting princess. However, by the end of the film, the princess is also a cohort in their memorable adventure with commemorative photos included! 
 
When Joe Bradley walks out of the grand palace he leaves content knowing that he shared something special. No one else needs to know (aside from Irving) about the fairy tale they shared and that is the beauty of it all. It is just their little secret, their Roman Holiday
 
5/5 Stars

The Best Films of Gregory Peck

1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Roman Holiday
3. The Gunfighter
4. Cape Fear
5. Twelve O’Clock High
6. The Guns of Navarone
7. The Big Country
8. Spellbound
9. The Yearling
10. The Keys of the Kingdom
11. The Valley of Decision
12. The Omen
13. Yellow Sky
14. How the West was Won
15. Captain Horatio Hornblower
16. Moby Dick
17. Genteman’s Agreement
18. The Bravados