9.7 C
New York
Monday, April 22, 2024

Roman Holiday [70th Anniversary] (4K UHD Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


A sheltered and weary princess runs away from her handlers, meets an American newspaper reporter, and has a romance against the backdrop of a day out in Rome.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

With 1953’s Roman Holiday from William Wyler (Ben-Hur, The Best Years of Our Lives) young star Audrey Hepburn broke out to superstardom. Hepburn plays Princess Ann, a young royal on an official visit to Rome. Tired by all the formal appearances and the rigidly structured life she must lead, Ann sneaks away from her handlers after they dosed her with a sleeping aid. Tired and half-asleep on a bench, American newspaper reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) spots her. Joe assumes she is drunk and offers to give her a ride home in his taxi. Realizing she is too out of it to make it home on her own, he brings her into his apartment to spend the night and sleep it off, still not realizing she is the princess.

The next morning when Joe finds out who Ann is, he stays quiet about it. A struggling reporter looking for a big scoop to get him back to an American newspaper, he decides he will follow the princess and get an inside scoop on her real life and thoughts, with the help of his photographer colleague Irving Radovich (Eddie Albert). With Ann hiding her identity and Joe pretending to be someone he is not; romance ensues as the two spend a fun day seeing the sites of Rome.

The ‘Eternal City’ is the gorgeous backdrop (the film was shot entirely in Italy on location and in studio) to this lighthearted romantic comedy from William Wyler, who steps out of his usual zone of epics like Ben-Hur or post-war melodrama like The Best Years of Our Lives for this film. Gregory Peck  almost seems out of place next to the delightful and talented Audrey Hepburn who dominates the screen and the scenes, but the chemistry still works for this star-crossed love story.

  • Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (1953)
  • Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953)
  • Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (1953)
  • Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953)
  • Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953)
  • Roman Holiday 4K Ultra HD Combo (Paramount)
  • Roman Holiday 4K Ultra HD Combo (Paramount)
  • Roman Holiday 4K Ultra HD Combo (Paramount)

The Video

Paramount lists Roman Holiday as “Fully restored and remastered.” It comes to 4K Ultra HD in a 1.37:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement. The black and white film from 1953 comes looking quite good, but the granularity leans toward the coarser side of some catalogue films from the same era, such as Anatomy of Murder, for instance. While the grain looks natural and we get decent detail, crispness is not the restoration’s strong suit. The Dolby Vision grading brings only slightly more ‘pop’ in specular highlights and slightly more extended overall dynamic range, with a little bit deeper black, for instance. Truth be told, the included Blu-ray looks very similar and there are extremely slight differences between the two. As I mentioned, the 4K brings very slightly inkier black levels and vaguely brighter whites and specular highlights and maybe — with the emphasis on maybe – the grain looks a little more natural.

The Audio

The original mono audio mix for Roman Holiday is supplied in Dolby TrueHD 2.0. The audio presents dialogue that is intelligible, but there is some boxiness and clipping and overall sound level is low, causing me to boost playback level 12db over normal listening levels.

The Supplements

All the bonus features for this release are on the included Blu-ray plus there is the digital code included. Paramount includes their usual Filmmaker Focus with Leonard Maltin and other archival featurettes on Audrey Hepburn, Dalton Trumbo, and more.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray Only):

  • Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on Roman Holiday (1080p; 00:06:59)
  • Behind the Gates: Costumes (1080i; 00:05:31)
  • Rome with a Princess (1080i; 00:08:57)
  • Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years (1080i; 00:29:55)
  • Dalton Trumbo: From A-list to Blacklist (1080i; 00:11:55)
  • Paramount in the ‘50s (SD; 00:09:33)
  • Remembering Audrey (1080i; 00:12:12)
  • Theatrical Trailers:
    • Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer (SD; 00:01:48)
    • Original Theatrical Trailer (SD; 00:02:12)
    • Theatrical Re-release Trailer (SD; 00:02:28)
  • Galleries (1080p):
    • Production
    • The Movie
    • Publicity
    • The Premiere

The Final Assessment

A classic that never seems to get old and maintains its charm 70 years after it was released, Roman Holiday is a film that should be on every film lover’s shelf and this 4K release offering it up with satisfying results.

Roman Holiday [70th Anniversary] is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo August 15, 2023 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

  • Rating Certificate: Passed
  • Studios & Distributors: Paramount Pictures | Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Director: William Wyler
  • Written By: Dalton Trumbo (screenplay & story by) (originally uncredited) | Ian McLellan Hunter (screenplay & story by) | John Dighton (screenplay by)
  • Run Time: 118 Mins.
  • Street Date: 15 August 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Mono
  • Secondary Audio: German DD 2.0 Mono | French DD 2.0 Mono | Japanese DD 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English | English SDH | Czech | German | French | Japanese | Korean

Related Articles

Join the Discussion on TheaterByte!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment "screeners" and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

A sheltered and weary princess runs away from her handlers, meets an American newspaper reporter, and has a romance against the backdrop of a day out in Rome. Roman Holiday [70th Anniversary] (4K UHD Review)