August 12, 2019

"Never mind the long tradition of lounging on the fabled spot — a scene perhaps best evoked by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in the 1953 film 'Roman Holiday' — sitting on the Spanish Steps is now subject to a fine of 400 euros..."

"... or about $450, under new municipal rules that ban a variety of activities in the city’s historic center. The regulations are intended to 'guarantee decorum, security and legality' by prohibiting actions that are 'not compatible with the historic and artistic decorum' of Rome’s center, according to the city’s website.... Dozens of startled people, most of them presumably tourists, were reprimanded on a broiling Wednesday afternoon by a small force of municipal police officers — this reporter counted at least eight — who admonished step-sitters by blowing twice on their whistles and gesturing stiffly to stand up.... A tired-looking father with a stroller in his hands and a toddler on his shoulders, was coming down the steps when he was stopped by a cry of 'Hey Mister.' The stroller, an officer said, cannot touch the steps. The father grudgingly complied.... 'You see one stroller — we see millions of them. This is a historic monument that has to be preserved,' [the police officer] said, declining to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. He asked to be identified as 'a municipal police officer who loves Rome.'... The Rome newspaper Il Messaggero said Wednesday that photographs of empty stairs 'were not an image of strength, but of desolation.' The newspaper accused the mayor of trying to apply 'Swiss rigor' to what was a quintessentially Roman spot for relaxation."

From "Rome’s New Rules: No Sitting on the Spanish Steps (and No Wading in the Trevi Fountain)" (NYT).



Famous tourist attractions are too crowded these days. You travel to see something, and it's full of people, and way too many of them are taking pictures of themselves. It affects who travels, and I suspect the city would prefer the travelers who spend a lot money, the people who stay at that hotel at the top of the steps and not the people who'd like to lounge on the steps eating street food.

ADDED: Audrey Hepburn totally littered that ice cream cone!

I've never seen "Roman Holiday," but, boy, does it look bad. Is Gregory Peck a bad actor? I see that the role was originally offered to Cary Grant:
Grant declined, believing he was too old to play Hepburn's love interest (though he played opposite her ten years later in Charade.) Other sources say Grant declined because he knew all of the attention would be centered around the princess. Peck's contract gave him solo star billing, with newcomer Hepburn listed much less prominently in the credits. Halfway through the filming, Peck suggested to [the director William] Wyler that he elevate her to equal billing—an almost unheard-of gesture in Hollywood.
I'm just noticing that Hepburn's character, a princess, is named Ann. Ann, with no "e." Strange! I wonder if I'd noticed that years ago, I might have eventually gotten around to watching this movie. I have seen the other Hepburn-as-Italian-tourist movie, Katharine Hepburn as an aging spinster in "Summertime." Generally, I'm not big on the cliché movie idea of woman traveling and finding herself by getting into a sexual relationship. Oh, I don't know. It could work on me. I love "A Room With a View." The Italian city in this one is Florence:

124 comments:

rcocean said...

I'll say It: No one goes there anymore - its too crowded.

Carry on.

jimbino said...

After riding around to see the usual tourist sights by motorcycle in 1973, I rode my bike onto the Circus Maximus, probably deserving a fine nowadays.

rcocean said...

Normally Greg Peck was too stiff for romance. In Roman Holiday he's a good fit. We need someone adult/serious to contrast with Hepburn's girlishness.

Dave Begley said...

Great hairstyle for her. Great clothes for him. No shorts.

wild chicken said...

And all the walking around you do, on holiday, looking for a place to rest. Yikes. Gonna be harder than finding ice cubes.

rcocean said...

Americans are getting famous in Europe for being cheap-skates. They go to restaurants and order the appetizers or ask for water instead of wine or beer. Plus, the Chinese Hordes have descended. As "Jim" would say; Rome isn't Rome anymore.

Bay Area Guy said...

Love Rome, the Spanish Steps & Trevi Fountain. Only been there once, would enjoy a return visit.

EDH said...

My (Italian) aunt used to cover her living room furniture with plastic.

From Drudge:

Italy's Salvini Tells Richard Gere to Take Stranded Migrants to Hollywood on his Jet...

gilbar said...

There's a National Park axiom: 99% of All visitors never go a 1/4 mile from the road

I wonder if there's a Urban Tourism Corollary? How far from the trademarked landmark must you go?

Michael K said...


Americans are getting famous in Europe for being cheap-skates. They go to restaurants and order the appetizers or ask for water instead of wine or beer.


It would be hard to beat the Germans who travel to Venice on huge busses, where they also eat and sleep. During the day they march in formation around the city not spending a dime. Or 10 centimes, if you prefer.

Seeing Red said...

If only people weren’t so rich....

Michael K said...

My favorite scene from the movie is "The Mouth of Truth." I've taken most of my kids there and had them pout their hand in the mouth.

Wilbur said...

But … but … those places were put there by God so I could take ever so cute pictures of them and post them on social media! Why else would anyone go there? And to deprive my friends of those pictures just isn't right.

Ralph L said...

Shelley died in a house at the bottom of the steps. TB, not a tumble.

William said...

Anyone else notice that Audrey only eats half the ice cream cone and, then, unceremoniously just throws it away. That's not only slovenly but presents a hazard to people walking down the steps. It's a little known fact but Audrey Hepburn was a big slob and many of her co-stars were bothered by her extreme body odor and flatulence.

Fernandistein said...

'not compatible with the historic and artistic decorum'

Violators should be enslaved and then fed to the lions when they wear out.

buwaya said...

Go off-season.
Yes, weather, but still.

Also go elsewhere. Its odd that there is so much to see, but the crowds are only in certain places.

Best sort of tourism is being able to take months, a year, not two weeks in the summer.

Ralph L said...

There's a National Park axiom: 99% of All visitors never go a 1/4 mile from the road

And 1% try to shake hands with wildlife.

Seeing Red said...

Parts of Europe aren’t cheap. The conversion rate is a lot better than it was, but.... the

Dave Begley said...

in "Frankenstein in Love" I think the iconic scene will be the big fire where Captain Charles Edwin Saville, III's body is cremated.

Original Mike said...

New Zealand has been overrun by the Chinese. And boy, are they bad drivers.

rhhardin said...

Roman Holiday was okay.

AAT said...

“Americans are getting famous in Europe for being cheap-skates.”

I googled that, and didn’t find anything but this:
he mayor of Venice has branded tourists who complained about being charged €526 ($797) for lunch in a restaurant close to St Mark's Square as "cheapskates".

Luigi Brugnaro, who has a reputation for plain-speaking, said the visitors should have learnt Italian - and even some Venetian dialect - so they could have understood what was being delivered to their table.


Most stuff was more like this:
"Bahamians are a staid bunch, and since most of us are in service jobs, they see tourists every day. But Americans are congenial and friendly to a fault, insisting on talking to the locals until their formality breaks down. Also, it blows me away how affably American tourists spend money -- they're the main reason I was able to capitalize on my business of selling $20 CDs of tourist photos. Europeans and Canadians bitch about prices, but Americans happily open their wallets time and time again." -- Ken, Bahamas From The Thrillist

rcocean said...

Roman Holiday is one of those movies you watch for the Star: Audrey Hepburn and for views of Rome Circa 1953. As a movie, its nothing special. Frankly, I think William Holden would've been better than Peck. But he was doing Stalag 17.

rhhardin said...

decorum of Rome

decorum is genitive plural

Ken B said...

I did not like Roman Holiday.

Peck is often bad. He is generally stiff. That is fine in some roles, where it suggests something behind the reticence, but it often doesn’t.

Ken B said...

Helena Bonham Carter is WAY more beautiful than Audrey Hepburn.

rhhardin said...

Lucy: You should do the interviews on your own. Harry Raskin, Richard Beck. Interesting prospects for my replacement. Let's see.

George: No, it's gotta be a woman.

Lucy:L What a surprise. I suppose a certain bust size would help. Maybe some bathing-suit shots?

George: It will annoy Howard if it's a woman. Tell you what. All I want is someone as intelligent as you, but a little less tense and argumentative. A sort of Katharine Hepburn figure.

Lucy: You don't deserve Katharine Hepburn.

George: Audrey Hepburn.

Lucy: Also too good. Just stay away from the Hepburns.

- Two Weeks Notice (2002)

rhhardin said...

All pre-60s films are stiff, owing to the acting conventions of the time.

Kay said...

I’ve never seen this movie either, but I think I would enjoy the atmosphere it creates. The clothes, the looks, the views, the overall style.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

they dont let you stretch out on the Rack,
or hang out in the Iron Maiden in the Tower of London anymore.

killjoys!

Original Mike said...

"Audrey Hepburn totally littered that ice cream cone!"

I just saw that too! If sitting on the steps is $450, discarding your ice cream cone must be a night in the hoosegow.

Caligula said...

Replicas. If it could be built in 1629 (or the first century) it can be built now.

Let tourists play on replicas. With lasers one can measure the originals down to the millimeter, and create near-exact copies.

Yeah, it's not authentic. But it can be made to look more as the real thing did when it was new and, anyway, many of the "authentic" objects have been repaired and rebuilt to the point that they've become George Washington's Axe.

Howard said...

I prefer Spaghetti Westerns.

readering said...

I want a clip from the following year's 3 Coins in the Fountain. Always had a soft spot for Dorothy McGuire.

Howard said...

rhh believes in The Method? Russian infiltration of HUAC era Hollywood via Clift, Brando and Dean.

Amexpat said...

Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble
Ancient footprints are everywhere
You can almost think that you’re seein’ double
On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs

Unknown said...

Meh. Peck being Peck. Besides he’s playing a reporter. Not my fave Audrey film either. But loved ‘Sabrina’. Isn’t it romantic?

h said...

Related: "Love in the Afternoon" with Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper 1957. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_in_the_Afternoon_%281957_film%29

h said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buwaya said...

A. Hepburn is my female ideal.
She was much more lovely than HB Carter.
She also out-gamined HBC by miles.

“Roman Holiday” depends entirely on Hepburn, and Rome.
The stars of an excellent show.

h said...


And has anyone else heard that TIppi Hedren's parents had intended to name her "Tiffi", but misspelled it on the birth certificate?

AAT said...

I loved the one where Clark Gable goes to the Naples and meets Sophia Loren, it has the great song:

Tu vuo fa L'Americano - "You wanna be Americano"

BarrySanders20 said...

Mama mia, people. It is not ice cream. It is gelato. And the reason she is so skinny is that she does not eat much gelato, even here where she is supposed to be eating gelato as part of the scene.

Char Char Binks said...

"Audrey Hepburn was a big slob and many of her co-stars were bothered by her extreme body odor and flatulence."

That's what humanized her. It made her even more endearing to know that she was one of us, and not a goddess from Heaven.

Darrell said...

I'd fuck Audrey Hepburn on the Spanish Steps.

Wait. What's the question?

BarrySanders20 said...

Or maybe Pack kept screwing up his lines and she actually ate a dozen gelatos before this take and couldn't eat another bite.

gspencer said...

"The regulations are intended to 'guarantee decorum, security and legality' by prohibiting actions that are 'not compatible with the historic and artistic decorum' of Rome’s center, according to the city’s website"

Abdul writes in to the website and asks, "Does that include doing beheadings of infidels on the Steps? Because if it does that will be Islamophobic and I'll be taking this matter to the European Human Rights Council as a deprivation of my rights to follow by religion and to follow the example of my Prophet (PBUH)."

Ficta said...

"A. Hepburn is my female ideal."

Mine too! And Roman Holiday is her big breakthrough. The moment when she cuts her hair is the precise moment the Audrey legend was born. And Gregory Peck is pretty forgettable; but he's just there to radiate "American" and he does that fine.

"Generally, I'm not big on the cliché movie idea of woman traveling and finding herself by getting into a sexual relationship."

FWIW, I don't think that would be a particularly apt description of Roman Holiday. There's barely any sexual relationship to speak of, for one thing. It's about growing up rather than "finding herself" (although I suppose growing up is finding yourself so...); she's jumping up and down on the bed like a child in nearly the first scene, by the end she's a poised adult. Okay, I guess maybe that is finding yourself.

But it's also a coded parable about Western freedoms breaking through the Iron Curtain. She's allegedly a "princess" from some central European Ruritania, but pretty much everything about her entourage screams Eastern Bloc.

For added fun, watch it back to back with La Dolce Vita, which, I think, purposely recapitulates much of Roman Holiday in a cynical mode.

gilbar said...

Thanx for mentioning Roman Holiday, Professor!
I'd never seen it before; and am watching it right now
(He just asked her what sort of work her dad was in?
"Mostly, you might call it Public Relations*" Which was funny
Then he asks her if he likes it, and she says "I've heard him complain"
and HE says: " Why doesn't he Quit?"
And SHE says:
"People in that line of work seldom do... Unless it's Actually Unhealthy for them to continue"
Which is the Funniest thing i've heard today, Because it's True)


Public Relations* On the sci fi show, Firefly; someone asks the Captain what it IS that Jayne does for him? "Public Relations" says the Captian

Earnest Prole said...

Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rabble

iowan2 said...

Generally, I'm not big on the cliché movie idea of woman traveling and finding herself by getting into a sexual relationship

Agreed, its like internet dating, it might be a thing, but who would really do that? Finding love on the interwebs?...sure ;)

intended to 'guarantee decorum, security and legality' by prohibiting actions that are 'not compatible with the historic and artistic decorum' of Rome’s center

Gee, looks like a perfect place for a Great Slide, like you will find at the Iowa State Fair. Climb to the top and ride down on a burlap feed sack. Add a few other carnival accouterments and they're set.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Peck isn't a bad actor but he's a stylized actor--you almost never forget that he's *acting* when he's onscreen, so if you prefer a more naturalized artistry you will probably not like his performances.

Michael K said...

“Roman Holiday” depends entirely on Hepburn, and Rome.
The stars of an excellent show.


Making films in Europe was a big deal. Although Italy had a big movie industry.

My other favorite travelogue movie is "To Catch a Thief. I know all the locations.

gilbar said...

AAT said... I loved the one where Clark Gable goes to the Naples and meets Sophia Loren
Imagine how different the world would be, if her parents named her Sophia Tiffi?

gilbar said...

another Iowan misspoke; saying...
Gee, looks like a perfect place for a Great Slide, like you will find at the Iowa State Fair

HELLO! it's THE GIANT SLIDE, and it's The Most Best thing at the fair
Well, that and the Butter Cow*
And the Pork Producers tent
And the Lemonaide
And the Big Pig
And the .... Well, EVERYTHING'S AWESOME at the iowa state fair; It's the BEST state fair in our state!

the Butter Cow* This Year, they're going to have a Sculpture, of A Cow, Made of BUTTER!!

jaydub said...

rocean: " Americans are getting famous in Europe for being cheap-skates. They go to restaurants and order the appetizers or ask for water instead of wine or beer. Plus, the Chinese Hordes have descended."

Chinese hordes, yes, but Americans as cheapskates is not the case in my experience; in fact it's the opposite. Americans are ripe for being ripped off for meals and other things because they are trusting and easy marks. Also, the bottled water costs more than beer or wine and you can't get tap water so that part makes no sense at all. As for the appetizers, the issue is almost all European lunch menus are the same as the dinner menus and Americans are not used to eating so heavy at lunch - I lived there for years and almost always ordered a salad or an appetizer for lunch. I also tipped 10% to piss off the locals, who are the real cheapskates. Particularly the Spanish

virgil xenophon said...

For the same reason that one can no longer wander amongst the monuments nor touch them at Stonehenge as was the case when I visited in the 70s nor are temple "rubbings" of the stone carving artwork transferred to art canvas now allowed in Thailand (mine from the 60s are thankfully part of the chez VX interior decor)

Amy Welborn said...

Jumping in here to defend Roman Holiday! What? You people!

Sure, Gregory Peck is wooden - what else is new? Eddie Albert, however, is delightful as the photographer buddy.

Generally, I'm not big on the cliché movie idea of woman traveling and finding herself by getting into a sexual relationship

But see - this isn't what the film is about. (spoiler alert) They don't have a sexual relationship. The dynamic between them is something else - a hard-to-define mix of innocence, experience, irresponsibility, cynicism (his) and pride (hers), image and reality.

The film is made, not by Hepburn or even by Rome, but by the ending. It would be indeed nothing but froth but for the end - which is about duty. And that's sort of what the whole film is about - the duty that we owe each other as human beings with dignity and personal integrity, both in individual relationships and in our roles in our communities.

It's the opposite of the 21st century "find personal fulfillment in doing what you feel like and following your bliss" ethos.

It's also hilarious.

/rant

Fernandistein said...

They should recall or at least censor that movie because

"We have so many mentally deranged people out there. We do not want a movie that will give them any ideas."

Bricap said...

People are missing out in Italy if they don't order wine there. Lots of interesting stuff that doesn't make it over here, and the restaurant markups are often quite reasonable compared to here.

vanderleun said...

I'm so pleased I got to visit, work in, and live around Europe for years before it disappeared.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Requiring tourists to throw their half-eaten ice cream cones on the steps would be a good way of preventing people from sitting on them.

AAT said...

Roman Holiday was written by Trumbo. I admire the guy really, he was a commie, but he was a hard worker. He was kind of a precursor to Trump. He called out the prigs and pearl clutchers in the media and stared them down in the end and showed they were actually powerless.

AAT said...

You guys know you were wondering how Trump would fit in!

chuck said...

The most memorable appearance on the Spanish Steps was the burning Gully Foyle.

Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination

Michael K said...

Blogger vanderleun said...
I'm so pleased I got to visit, work in, and live around Europe for years before it disappeared.


Me too. I just visited and our last trip was cancelled because of the Greek crisis. We used to go to Britain every year just to stay in London and go to shows. I'm not that comfortable in London anymore.

I used to go to Mexico a lot, too.

Francisco D said...

All pre-60s films are stiff, owing to the acting conventions of the time.

Perhaps, Gone with the Wind is the exception that proves your rule.

I spent significant time in Paris 20 years ago. The food was cheaper (and much better) than what we found in fancy Chicago restaurants. That was before the euro.

PM said...

We can see everything worth seeing from our balcony at the Hassler.

YoungHegelian said...

Drawing of the Spanish Steps by the young Felix Medelssohn, 1830-31.

Ambrose said...

Rome has long had decorum rules. In the mid 80s, I learned to my chagrin that many of the historic churches would not admit a male tourist wearing shorts. Anne - the "short-a-phobe" -would approve I suspect.

Ice Nine said...

I never got Audrey Hepburn's supposed "great beauty." She was flat-out skeletal, had that weird-looking giraffe neck, and her face was merely pretty - perhaps an 8. Ho hum.

buwaya said...

Rome has been a continuous tourist draw for thousands of years.
Its one of the very few places on Earth with that distinction.

Roman tourism through some relatively dry periods, but only relatively.

chickelit said...

Some of Rome's best gelato shops are at the bottom of the steps and piazza. Surely their business will suffer as a result.

bagoh20 said...

When in Rome, do as the Swiss do.

Ken B said...

Buwaya
Stop driving immediately! Clearly you are in desperate need of corrective lenses!

Earnest Prole said...

I never got Audrey Hepburn's supposed "great beauty."

The better term is charisma. Like Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn was quite strange looking in real life, yet on the screen you can't take your eyes off either of them.

bagoh20 said...

If those steps were in San Francisco, you'd be allowed to poop there.

Michael K said...

Blogger PM said...
We can see everything worth seeing from our balcony at the Hassler.


The first time I went to the roof restaurant I learned they only took cash. A bit of a scramble. I didn't have to wash dishes.

jaydub said...

Blogger vanderleun said...
"I'm so pleased I got to visit, work in, and live around Europe for years before it disappeared."

You'll be please to learn it's still there, just not in the places that most people look and visit. Most of the 22 European countries I visited during the past six years seem to have kept their cultures and ambience intact despite the immigration issues and European Union dictates. Of course, I avoid tourist meccas and major cities as much as possible and concentrate on less publicized locales, particularly those that are not on Chinese tour company radars. Major cities like Paris, London and Berlin are no more representative of their respective countries than is NYC, DC, Miami or LA representative of the US, but those US and European cities are the primary ones that foreigners visit and by which they form their opinions.

Ice Nine said...

>>Blogger bagoh20 said...
If those steps were in San Francisco, you'd be allowed to poop there.<<

Well...um...My abiding memory of my first time at the Spanish Steps. I had to pee desperately. Searched for a toilet in the vicinity. None. As a last resort I went into that building at the right at the bottom to look for one. Nothing but stairs, closed doors, and planters with trees on the landings.

I suspect that the tree on the second landing didn't last the month.

chickelit said...

bagoh20 said...If those steps were in San Francisco, you'd be allowed to poop there.

Well, there's always pooping along Lombard Street.

Rana said...

Dropped a hefty amount of money in Rome and ordered both water AND wine. The municipal officers should leave the tired tourists alone and clear the area of the pushy street vendors.

Fernandistein said...

I never got Audrey Hepburn's supposed "great beauty."

She always impressed me as a phthisic child, asexual and not attractive.

AAT said...

If I could get Eliza Doolittle to move into my place and just generally decorate it by being herself, you can count me in.

AAT said...

I’ll give you a home somewhere honey!
Far away from the cold night air too.
And I will throw in a gigantic chair!

I promise you it will be loverly! Forget these guys who don’t know beauty.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"Grant declined, believing he was too old to play Hepburn's love interest (though he played opposite her ten years later in Charade.)"

This is a good example of the half your age plus seven rule for determining the appropriateness of a romantic relationship of an older person with a younger person.

In 1963, when Charade was released, Cary Grant was 59 and Audrey Hepburn was 34. As ((59 / 2) + 7) = 36.5, That put Cary Grant a little too old for Audrey Hepburn.

In 1953, when Roman Holiday was released, Cary Grant was 49 and Audrey Hepburn was 24. As ((49 / 2) + 7) = 31.5, Cary Grant would have been seven and a half years out of range for Audrey Hepburn. But Gregory Peck was 37 in 1953. As ((37 / 2) + 7) = 25.5, he again was only a little on the old side for the role.

If you think Cary Grant and Gregory Peck are right for Audrey Hepburn in both movies, then perhaps the formula should be adjusted to half your age plus 5. But weren't they both a little too old?

Hollywood does play with that. In 1954's Sabrina, William Holden at 36 was just in range for Audrey Hepburn at 25. But Humphrey Bogart at 55 was 10 years out of range.

Aging in definitely works in terms of societal acceptance. Donald Trump was out of range when he started dating Melania, still a little too old when he married her, but well within range by the time he ran for President. Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Macron were ten years out of range when they started dating and five years out of range when they married, but were in range by the time he was elected President of France.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"Only in the movies"

check out who Michael Baden, medical examiner, has been involved with

Michael K said...

While making "Sabrina" Holden wanted to marry Audrey but he had had a vasectomy and she wanted children. She did get her children who were apparently quite happy with her as a mother but she had little luck with husbands,.

sykes.1 said...

You're kidding? Gregory Peck was a very fine actor, well deserving of his fame. He was a convincingly maniacal Ahab in "Moby Dick" and an exemplary group commander, with a convincing breakdown due to combat stress in "Twelve O'Clock High."

"Twelve O'Clock High" is one of the finest war movies ever made, on a par with "Saving Private Ryan" or "All Quiet on the Western Front" (original version) or "Dawn Patrol." I hope you've seen all of them.

n.n said...

In her youth, Hepburn was the prototypical flower child, pretty and sweet.

n.n said...

Mary Ann... Dawn, is still pretty and sweet. What's in a name?

PM said...

sykes.1: "Twelve O'Clock High" is one of the finest war movies ever made..."
True. Peck also xlnt in "The Gunfighter". Both made better by the presence of the great Millard Mitchell.

Fritz said...

The most memorable appearance on the Spanish Steps was the burning Gully Foyle.

Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation.
Deep space is my dwelling place,
The stars my destination


I always thought that was worthy of a movie.

Ann Althouse said...

“FWIW, I don't think that would be a particularly apt description of Roman Holiday. There's barely any sexual relationship to speak of...”

Either it’s a sexual relationship or it isn’t. If it is and it’s lackluster, that’s bad.

“For added fun, watch it back to back with La Dolce Vita, which, I think, purposely recapitulates much of Roman Holiday in a cynical mode.”

La Dolce Vita is very long. It would take me several days to get through the DVD I have been trying to finish for years. I like it, but only one scene at a time. Can’t take it as a double feature.

Earnest Prole said...

This is a good example of the half your age plus seven rule for determining the appropriateness of a romantic relationship of an older person with a younger person.

1957 Funny Face Audrey Hepburn 28, Fred Astaire 58.

readering said...

Which version of Dawn Patrol?

readering said...

Audrey Hepburn seemed to specialize in playing opposite much older men. Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady also. I suppose Buddy Ebsen in Breakfast at Tiffany's doesn't count. Then in real life, after her first divorce, she went for men younger than herself.

Narr said...

Age rules for appropriate sexual relationships always make me laugh. Oops, I see the rule is for "romantic relationships" but I still find the notion of rules funny.

Part of the charm of our visit to Paris (the one in France) in 2017 was being sneered at by waiters for being cheap-- but I didn't want all the food, or the wine or beer. Since I make it a point to tip well when I get good service (and poorly when I get bad service), I left it to them to figure out what was more important to their bottom lines.

My first and probably last visit to Rome was a brief one, when I was a kid. It was hotter than Hades and I recall we visited the Spanish Steps and the Vatican . . .

Narr
Maybe it's nicer in the autumn





AFChiling said...

It wasn't Shelley, but Keats who died in the house at the foot of the Spanish stairs.

Michael K said...

It wasn't Shelley, but Keats who died in the house at the foot of the Spanish stairs.

Didn't Shelley drown ?

Michael K said...

Twelve O'Clock High" is one of the finest war movies ever made..."
True. Peck also xlnt in "The Gunfighter". Both made better by the presence of the great Millard Mitchell.


Especially as it is a true story. The Peck character was based on Frank Armstrong., He was copilot ()n although group commandeer)on the first mission over Germany. Guess who was the pilot ? Paul Tibbets. The novel, written by two guys who were there has a romantic interest and Armstrong perforated an ulcer, I believe, as the final event,.

Armstrong's group, in the movie the 918th was actually the 306th, they multiplied the number by 3.

EsoxLucius said...

Shelly drowned in the Gulf of Spezia, an accident that may have been suicide.

EsoxLucius said...

Audrey Hepburn seemed to specialize in playing opposite much older men.

Most of the actresses of the late '50 specialized in playing with actors who were twice their age, a symptom of how broken Hollywood was at that time. Cary Grant wooing Sophia Loren in Houseboat, Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief, and Dina Merrill in Operation Petticoat are just three cringeworthy examples.

Bay Area Guy said...

Audrey Hepburn? -- cute, attractive, wonderful eyes, wonderful smile.

Sophia Loren? -- Va va voom!

Marc said...

"They don't have a sexual relationship. The dynamic between them is something else - a hard-to-define mix of innocence, experience, irresponsibility, cynicism (his) and pride (hers), image and reality.... And that's sort of what the whole film is about - the duty that we owe each other as human beings with dignity and personal integrity, both in individual relationships and in our roles in our communities. It's the opposite of the 21st century 'find personal fulfillment in doing what you feel like and following your bliss' ethos."

Brava, Amy Welborn! Please comment here more often.

Ficta said...

Hmmm... Was there a sexual relationship or not in Roman Holiday? There's certainly sexual tension, flirtation, an "accidental" kiss, so yes, I guess? It doesn't seem lackluster to me, just restrained. There's certainly some longing and self denial in the ending, but is she longing for the man she can't have or the life she can't have? I'd say the latter, but I think viewers could legitimately differ on that.

Oy, yes, La Dolce Vita is loooong.

Earnest Prole said...

Was there a sexual relationship or not in Roman Holiday?

To boast that you don't "get" sexual tension is to boast that you're still a child.

EsoxLucius said...

I think viewers watching Roman Holiday today miss the newness of shooting a major picture out in a city that most people in the united states could only dream about going sixty years ago. Italian neorealism had yet to play in most towns and this film, like the aforementioned Summertime, were more travelogue than actual movie and a fresh breath after so many studio movies on sets. That said, the scene were Peck acts like he's lost his hand in the Bocca della Verita still slays me after repeated watchings.

Ficta said...

"To boast that you don't "get" sexual tension is to boast that you're still a child."

Huh? I was merely dithering over what exactly would or would not constitute a "sexual relationship" for the purposes of Althouse's "the cliché movie idea of woman traveling and finding herself by getting into a sexual relationship".

Mark said...

I've never seen "Roman Holiday," but, boy, does it look bad. Is Gregory Peck a bad actor?

(Just shakes his head.)

Mark said...

I spent the day last Friday at the Louvre.

More than a few people taking pictures of family members standing in front of paintings of the Crucifixion.

Bet if they had cameras back then, they would have tourists walking by taking photos of people smiling and standing at the foot of the Cross.

Mark said...
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Mark said...

Lot of hating on the larger-than-life Gregory Peck and the vision-of-grace Audrey Hepburn, when in actuality folks ought to be turning on the Spanish Steps. What a lot of meh that place is.

Mark said...

As for "sexual relationship" -- Peck respectfully treats Hepburn as the young girl and the royalty that her character is, and she views him as an father/older brother figure. Until the evening is done and they do not want to say goodbye.

Also, as she reveals, the Princess Ann has never been alone with a man before.

Mark said...

The film is made, not by Hepburn or even by Rome, but by the ending. It would be indeed nothing but froth but for the end - which is about duty.

That last scene, where the Princess Ann has ended the interview and is walking away, then she stops and turns -- and the smile growing on her face mixed with her anguish of having to do her duty and her genuine loving affection for the Peck character -- what a beautiful scene. All of Audrey Hepburn's natural grace shines.

Narr said...

Peck was a good American to play Hornblower, and was capable in Pork Chop Hill and Twelve O'clock High as already mentioned.

Wife and I Eurailed around for two months in '78; biggest regret was being too cheap and tired to go to West Berlin--I had no inkling how soon the Iron Curtain would come down at that time, though I began to suspect it was not long for this world a few years later.

Now you youngsters listen to how it useta was. In Vienna we had to go to the post office and request an overseas call to be placed. We waited while arrangements were made, about ten minutes IIRC.

We were going to stay in Milan but happened to be there during the big trade fair. While walking around I noticed that the city had nice new corporate buildings (I wouldn't call them skyscrapers in the American sense) with nice cars in the parking lots--but a lot of the parking lots were just unpaved open spaces!

And Milanese families strolled in the evening, which was charming except for the cartoonish (cartoonly?) leering of a lot of the men at my pretty blue-eyed fair-haired wife.

Narr
We would often get asked for directions, in German, in German-speaking places

William said...

There have been actresses like her since but there were none before. Audrey Hepburn created her own archetype.....I'm not sure how God will reward me for my time on earth, but I've taken the liberty of preparing a power point demonstration of how heaven should be run. One of my seventy brides is Audrey Hepburn, and I would choose her fairly early in the draft.....Her counterpart in La Dolce Vita was Anita Ekberg. Anita was far more voluptuous, and there was never any ambiguity about whether or not there was any sexual tension in her dealings with men. Still, there's a downside to all that sensuality. It's hard to stick to a diet. She really pigged out towards the end. I'm not at all sure she would make the draft. She would certainly get a much lower call than Audrey.

Earnest Prole said...

Huh? I was merely dithering over what exactly would or would not constitute a "sexual relationship" for the purposes of Althouse's "the cliché movie idea of woman traveling and finding herself by getting into a sexual relationship".

I should have made clear my comment was intended to amplify, not contradict yours.

D 2 said...

I was in my teens when Room with a View came out. Girlfriend wanted to see it. Helena B- Carter was absolutely beautiful in that. I listen to that mio babbino song and life is good. I don't know if I thought her career was all that after that movie (I'm not a fan of her in the Harry Potters)

As for tourists running all over the earth and running things, I will say that's simple misanthropy about there being 7 billion of us, including 1 billion Chinese, an ever increasing percentage of which are taking select tours of the local fishing village near you.

Wait 70 years. If we can keep it together, we'll be down to 4-5 billion. Hopefully peaceably. Prosperity brings lower fertility.

Michael K said...

That last scene, where the Princess Ann has ended the interview and is walking away, then she stops and turns -- and the smile growing on her face mixed with her anguish of having to do her duty and her genuine loving affection for the Peck character -- what a beautiful scene. All of Audrey Hepburn's natural grace shines.

Agreed. It is a favorite and I think of it as a growing up film. The sexual tension is minimal, as where she reaches down to make sure she had pajama bottoms on.

It is also a favorite with Eddie Albert who, by the way, had a good war record. mPeck did not serve but did a good job in the movie. I just wish he had not done that smear of Bork.

Nichevo said...

Sophia Loren was a ginger? Grrrrrowl!

But here's another rendition of "Tu vuo fa L'Americano," speaking of cultural appropriation. Love the clarinetist:

https://youtu.be/J0ogqBcK9ow

Biff said...

The Professor wrote: "You travel to see something, and it's full of people, and way too many of them are taking pictures of themselves."

Coincidentally, I saw this: Three Questions: Gal Zauberman on the Psychology of Taking Vacation Photos

Zach said...

Either it’s a sexual relationship or it isn’t. If it is and it’s lackluster, that’s bad.

It's pretty chaste. More of a friendship story than a love story.

It's probably the Audrey Hepburniest movie there is. If you love her in other movies, this will be an undiscovered gem. If not, it's a neat travelogue of Rome in the early '50s.