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ROMAN HOLIDAY, 1953
ROMAN HOLIDAY, 1953
ROMAN HOLIDAY, 1953
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ROMAN HOLIDAY, 1953
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ROMAN HOLIDAY, 1953

Audrey Hepburn and others for the 1953 Paramount production Roman Holiday

Details
ROMAN HOLIDAY, 1953
Audrey Hepburn and others for the 1953 Paramount production Roman Holiday
an exceptional collection of approximately 211 gelatin silver publicity stills
including 167 shots featuring Audrey Hepburn
10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.3 cm.)
(39)
Literature
An Elegant Spirit, p.61
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These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Adrian Hume-Sayer
Adrian Hume-Sayer

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Lot Essay

Blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo had come up with the screenplay for Roman Holiday in the mid-forties; the reverse Cinderella story of a frustrated young princess who eludes her attendants for 24 hours to explore Rome as an anonymous tourist, falling in love with an American reporter, until dutifully returning to her royal obligations. However the project was shelved until taken on by William Wyler in 1951, signing Gregory Peck as the male lead. The success of the picture now depended on finding the right Princess. Wyler recalled I wanted a girl without an American accent... someone you could believe was brought up as a Princess.

The London office of Paramount Pictures spotted Hepburn as a cigarette girl in her first professional film role Laughter in Paradise and suggested her as a candidate. Wyler immediately ordered a screen test, which took place at Pinewood Studios on 18 September, 1951, under the direction of Thorold Dickinson, who had recently directed Audrey in her first significant film role Secret People, an Ealing Studios production which would be released in February, 1952. Dickinson recalled Paramount also wanted to see what Audrey was like not acting a part, so I did an interview with her... She talked about her experiences in the war, the Allied raid on Arnhem, and hiding out in a cellar. A deeply moving thing. In order to assess the real Audrey, Wyler had instructed Thorold to keep the cameras rolling after Audrey thought she had finished acting her test scenes. Wyler remembered First, she played the scene from the script, then you heard someone yell 'Cut!' but the take continued. She jumped up in bed and asked, 'How was it? Was I any good?' ...Suddenly she realised the camera was still running and we got that reaction too... She had everything I was looking for - charm, innocence, talent. She was also very funny. She was absolutely enchanting, and we said, 'That's the girl!'

Paramount signed her immediately to a seven picture contract, with filming to begin as soon as she finished her run in Gigi at the end of May, 1952. At Wyler's request, it was shot entirely on location in Rome. Instantly realising that Audrey was going to be the real star of the picture, Peck generously insisted that the unknown Hepburn receive co-star billing. Interviewed by Wyler for a documentary in 1986, Peck recalled We all knew this was going to be an important star and we began to talk off-camera about the chance that she might win an Academy Award in her first film. Looking back, Wyler remembered Audrey was the spirit of youth - and I knew that very soon the entire world would fall in love with her, as all of us on the picture did.

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