Roman Holiday (1953)

credit: acertaincinema.comIt’s like a backwards version of Cinderella, but I prefer calling it The Princess and the Peck.

 

First you should know that this is NOT the same as Hanna-Barbera’s 1972 animated TV series known as The Roman Holidays that was cancelled after 13 episodes despite its Flintstone-like family of endearing ancient Romans and their lovable but mischievous pet lion named Brutus.

No, this Roman Holiday is the classic movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck that every woman in America has hidden under her pillowcase.

The starring role was originally offered to Cary Grant, but he turned it down because he thought he was too old to play Hepburn’s lover. (Don’t worry, though, he felt young enough to play her lover 10 years later in Charade.) Gregory Peck was the runner up, and he obviously did a great job.

While they were filming the movie, Peck was so impressed with Hepburn that he insisted she get star billing alongside his name, which was unheard of at the time — especially since Hepburn was fairly unknown by the public. In fact, this was her first major role on screen.

It paid off, though. After this movie, Audrey Hepburn officially entered movie star status and ended up winning an Oscar for her performance.

roman holidayOH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW:  It doesn’t end like you’d expect. And because real life and a romantic comedy made 60 years ago are like the same thing, I may have cried out in flabbergasted anguish when the movie ended… It must have been hours before my wife found me curled up in the bathtub silently clutching the DVD case against my tear-stained cheeks.

I won’t spoil the ending if you haven’t seen it, so I’ll just tell you Gregory Peck is forced to make a difficult choice between saving his own reputation or ruining someone else’s.

While most of us aren’t faced with such drastic decisions, we all hold the power to tear down those around us in public and private.

We see this kind of thing a lot in the press and social media. Our carnal tendencies enjoy laughing or pointing fingers at people. Strangers, politicians, and celebrities are easy targets because we don’t know them personally, so it’s easier to treat them as objects of ridicule instead of as imperfect individuals like ourselves.

I love to laugh. And while I try not laugh at the expense of others, I’ve probably crossed the line when poking fun at actors or filmmakers in several of my blog posts. Sarcasm comes naturally to many of us, but if we can’t make each other laugh without belittling people — even if they deserve it — then we might succeed as comedians, but we will most definitely fail as disciples of Christ and as fellow human beings.

The mark of a truly great person is someone who holds the power to flaunt the faults of others but chooses to take the high road. As Joseph B. Wirthlin simply stated: “Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known.”

We must not only do the right thing, but we must do the right thing and be willing to be left with nothing in return — because in reality, we will get everything in return.

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.”Proverbs 3:27

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