In 2010 I saw 100 different movies in 100 different theaters. Here are the details.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Roman Holiday

Alameda Theatre and Cineplex

I ventured out to photograph the newer addition to the theater, including the ground floor hallway leading to many of the newer auditoriums.

All of my viewings in the newer auditoriums have been in the screen at the end of the second floor hall, equipped with a 3-D projector. I haven't yet seen the concession stand open in the upper lobby.

Here's a shot of the main auditorium, looking up at the balcony. I look forward to some event when this will be open.

The theater's manager once again introduced the movie. He related that Gregory Peck told the studio that Audrey Hepburn's performance was sure to get her an Oscar, and so her name should go above the movie's title. True to his prediction she won Best Actress.

Another round of trivia, with the grand prize being free tickets and Red Vines (now the "Audrey Hepburn of candy"). The manager is currently taking suggestions for their fall classic film series.

The manager stated that the run of Roman Holiday was currently performing better than any other film at the theater, including Avatar. This was meant to impress us about Roman Holiday, but instead it concerned me about the theater, since my audience was so sparse. If thirty people constitutes the largest audience, the theater is in trouble. (Although my viewing of 9 last fall was nearly sold out.)

The auditorium was quite cold throughout the film. When Audrey Hepburn decided to get a gelato, I thought she was out of her mind.


The manager started off with an ad for Turner Movie Classics featuring a montage of "Leading Ladies". It wasn't quite as riveting as The Endless Night: A Valentine to Film Noir, but it was good.

To Catch a Thief (1955)

Grace Kelly seduces Cary Grant into helping her with a heist. I can see why our modern previews have moved toward revealing the entire plot. A trailer such as this, consisting mostly of cowing shots of its leads, just leaves me wondering what the movie is actually about, but without having enough information to make me want to find out. Cuts unknown.

Roman Holiday
Audrey Hepburn is Princess Ann, finishing up the last leg of a European tour. Young and frustrated with her stifling duties as a dignitary, she sneaks away one night for a little fun. Under the influence of a sleep sedative, she eventually comes to rest on a park bench, where she is discovered by newspaperman Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck). Joe is a gentleman, trying to get the young lady to her home, wherever that is (he doesn't recognize her), but when that doesn't work out, he reluctantly puts her up for the night on his own couch.

By the time Ann has awoken, Joe knows who she is and, with his photographer friend Irving (Eddie Albert), hatches a plan to tour Rome with Ann and get the exclusive scoop. Ann, calling herself Anya, welcomes Joe as her host and relishes her day of fun, getting to do things she's always wanted (like cut her hair, drive a motorcycle, and go out dancing).

The film has at its core a now-common romantic gimmick (actually, I guess it's been common since the days of Shakespearian comedy). Both leads have a secret that must eventually out. The plot is uncomplicated, though, by Joe already knowing Ann's secret, and further by him being such a gentleman that it's clear he won't do anything to exploit her. Yes I was dreading the moment when she would find out he's a reporter, and suspect that he was faking his affection, but he's just so darn good-natured, how could she stay mad at him long?

Hepburn and Peck both look wonderful, and their romp through Rome is fun and charming. My only disappointment with the film is the way Peck leads Ann around by grabbing her arm and physically pulling her about.

When Peck's secret is finally revealed, it is done so in an endearing way. The movie's final scene is a show-stopper that just broke my heart. Great stuff.

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