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William Wyler
Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert
Writing Credits:
Ian McLellan Hunter, John Dighton, Dalton Trumbo

A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome.


Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Dolby Vision
English Dolby TrueHD Monaural
French Dolby Monaural
German Dolby Monaural
Japanese Dolby Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:
Simplified Chinese

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $25.99
Release Date: 8/15/2023

• "Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years” Featurette
• “Remembering Audrey” Featurette
• “Rome with a Princess” Featurette
• “From A-List to Blacklist” Featurette
• “Restoring Roman Holiday” Featurette
• "Behind the Gates: Costumes" Featurette
• “Paramount in the ‘50s” Featurette
• “Filmmaker Focus” Featurette
• Trailers
• Galleries
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Roman Holiday [4K UHD] (1953)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson/David Williams (August 9, 2023)

William Wyler thrice won the Oscar for Best Director. He took home this trophy for 1942’s Mrs. Miniver, 1946’s Best Years of Our Lives and 1959’s Ben-Hur, each of which offered serious drama.

Wyler earned a remarkable total of 12 Best Director nominations, and 11 of those 12 came for dramas. Some seemed more serious than others, but all in that genre.

And then we find the exception to that rule, 1953’s Roman Holiday. A romantic comedy as light as its title implies, this film offers a firm deviation from Wyler’s other Oscar-honored works.

Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) leads a regimented and stifling life. Tired of all the confinement and pressure, she runs away during a visit to Rome.

Alas, the sedative that her doctor administered to her kicks in while she tours the city, and this leads her to appear intoxicated. When American journalist Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) finds her, he assists the “drunk” princess and lets her bunk at his place overnight.

Ann doesn’t reveal her identity, and Joe doesn’t recognize her. However, he soon realizes that royalty snoozes in his flat, and he smells a scoop.

While others clamor for interviews with Ann, Joe thinks he can score the story of a lifetime. As they get to know each other, Joe and Ann slowly fall for each other, though a reckoning seems likely when she learns his scam.

Holiday offers a twist on the Cinderella story, as rather than partake of the upper-crust existence, our heroine wants to see how the “lower class” lives and exists in this world. While a love story between a commoner and royalty hardly seemed fresh even in 1953, the film managed to strike a chord with audiences, as evidenced by the aforementioned Oscar attention.

Roman Holiday accomplishes what not many films can, as it crosses multiple genres - and it crosses each of them successfully. It provides a charming film that manages to be romantic, dramatic, bittersweet, and funny all at the same time.

Holiday becomes one of Wyler’s best outings. As noted, his filmography lends toward dramas of varying levels of seriousness, so a film that exists mainly as a romantic comedy seems out of his wheelhouse.

However, Wyler manages the tone well. He might let Holiday run a little long, as 118 minutes might seem a bit excessive for an inherently thin story, but the movie exhibits too much charm for me to complain.

Our leads certainly help, as Hepburn and Peck create a winning couple. They show great chemistry together and hit the right notes of both romance and comedy throughout the film.

Holiday seems timeless and remains as one of the staples of a classic Hollywood romance. It holds up very well over the years.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Roman Holiday appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this 4K UHD disc. Expect a pleasing Dolby Vision presentation.

Sharpness worked well. While most of the movie appeared crisp and concise, a few wider shots demonstrated light softness.

Nonetheless, the image mostly came across as well-defined. No issues with shimmering or jagged edges materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain felt natural.

Source flaws became a non-issue. I noticed marks during the opening “newsreel” but those came from the source and weren’t a transfer issue. Otherwise, the film lacked marks, spots or other concerns.

Blacks looked deep and firm, and the movie exhibited good contrast. Low-light shots also appeared clear and smooth.

HDR added emphasis and impact to whites and contrast. Overall, I felt impressed by this satisfying presentation.

In addition, the Dolby TrueHD monaural audio of Roman Holiday seemed perfectly acceptable for a 70-year-old effort. Speech always seemed concise and natural, with no edginess or other distractions.

Music lacked much range but came across as clean and acceptably clear. Effects showed decent definition, and the track came free from defects. This was a perfectly solid little mix.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the 2020 Blu-ray? Both sported identical audio.

As for the Dolby Vision 4K, HDR became the biggest area of upgrade, as blacks and contrast showed a nice boost. Delineation felt a little stronger here but no one should expect real changes. The HDR made the 4K somewhat preferable, but it didn’t blow away the already satisfying Blu-ray.

No extras appear on the 4K itself, but we find a bunch on the included Blu-ray copy, where we start off with Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years. During this 29-minute, 55-second piece, we find notes from film professor Jonathan Kuntz, authors Pamela Keough and Barry Paris, fashion designer Jeffrey Banks, producer AC Lyles, and actors Stefanie Powers and Pat Crowley.

As the title implies, the show looks at Hepburn’s stint at Paramount as well as other aspects of her life/career and her impact on films. While the show’s emphasis on her six flicks at Paramount limits its scope, I kind of like the focus.

It makes “Paramount” unusual since it doesn’t really attempt to be a full career examination. Sure, it delivers some quick notes about her life before and after that period, but it mostly sticks with the decade in question. It investigates that era well and becomes an involving piece.

For Remembering Audrey, we take a 12-minute, 12-second look at the actor. It includes notes from Hepburn’s son Sean Ferrer, her companion Robert Wolders and “Audrey Bags” designer Egidio Fontana.

They mostly tell us about Hepburn’s life outside of the movie industry. Much of the content simply lionizes Hepburn and talks about her greatness. Expect little depth in this fluffy piece.

For the eight-minute, 57-second Rome with a Princess, we take a tour through the Roman locations featured in the film. A narrator provides details about the various spots as we see them portrayed in the flick and in today’s world. This becomes a competent travelogue.

Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist goes for 11 minutes, 55 seconds and presents remarks from Kuntz, blacklisted actors’ wives Betty Garrett and Jean Porter Dmytryk, novelist/filmmaker Nicholas Meyer, and actors Allan Rich and Marsha Hunt.

The program looks at the film’s screenwriter and controversies that affected his career. It’s too brief to provide a great take on a topic as complex about the Hollywood blacklist, but it provides a taut and intriguing piece.

We focus on clothes during Behind the Gates: Costumes. It goes for five minutes, 31 seconds and offers comments from Paramount archivist Randall Thropp as he leads us on a tour of the studio’s costume vaults.

None of this has anything to do with Roman Holiday - the closest we come is a look at a Hepburn outfit from Breakfast at Tiffany’s - but it’s cool to see some of the costumes on display.

For the final old featurette, we get the nine-minute, 33-second Paramount in the ‘50s. It simply shows us clips from a few of the studio’s biggest flicks during that era.

A narrator provides some remarks about the movies as well, but nothing particularly revealing emerges here. Instead, the show feels more like a long ad for the studio.

In addition to three Trailers, we find four Galleries. These cover “Production” (36 images), “The Movie” (43), “Publicity” (13), and “The Premiere” (8).

This becomes a decent collection of images, though not many seem all that compelling. Also, the elements didn’t get rescanned for Blu-ray, so they seem softer than they should.

Filmmaker Focus runs six minutes, 59 seconds and offers notes from film critic/historian Leonard Maltin.

He brings an overview of the production as well as cast/crew. Since prior “Filmmaker Focus” featurettes included actual filmmakers, this one seems a bit odd, but Maltin gives us a useful summary.

An enduring romantic comedy, Roman Holiday holds up well after seven decades. A lot of the credit goes to its stars, as Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck form a delightful couple. The 4K UHD offers very good picture, positive audio and a reasonable selection of bonus materials. This remains a charming film that comes home well on 4K UHD, even if I don’t think it blows away the 2020 Blu-ray.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of ROMAN HOLIDAY

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