How much did you know about the 1953 movie? And how much did you know about Rome?
There (above) are the film’s two stars (Audrey Hepburn as a royal princess on the lam, and Gregory Peck as an American newsman) playing a hand of cards outside the latter character’s apartment, located perhaps in Rome’s colorful Trastevere district.
Below are the two stars riding a popular means of transportation at the time — a Vespa motor scooter — perhaps down the famed Via Venito, one of downtown Rome’s fashionable thoroughfares.
Ok, on the answers to our Roman Holiday Quiz.
1) Question: The success of Roman Holiday generated interest in a local means of transportation that until the movie came out was largely unknown in America. What was it? a) Commuter trains that ran on time; b) SUV’s; c) underground railroads; or d) motor scooters.
Answer: As indicated above, the answer is d). Partially spurred by the movie, Vespa motor scooters (and other makes ) did catch on in the U. S. for a time. Those were the days.
2) Question: At the time he made Roman Holiday, Peck considered himself movie’s real star, and adamantly refused Hepburn top billing. a) True; or b) False.
Answer: b) False. Peck had nearly 20 movies and four Oscar nominations under his belt when he teamed up with Hepburn, a big-screen newcomer at the time. The actor was smart (and magnanimous) enough to realize her potential and obvious talent, and insisted that her name should appear with his over the title — the classic Hollywood nod to stardom. He was right. She won an Oscar for Roman Holiday, he didn’t.
3) Question: The shooting of Roman Holiday on location set off a wave of Hollywood films being shot in Rome. What was to became the city’s informal name? a) Hollywood on the Tiber; b) Cinema at Cinecitta; c) Schlock City; or d) Holiday in Rome.
Answer: a) Hollywood on the Tiber.
4) Question: Hepburn has a memorable scene in front of “The Mouth of Truth”statue in Rome, which threatens to bite off her hand. Why would such a nice classical statue do such a thing? a) Myth has it that only a liar runs a risk; b) The myth is just that and there was no risk; c) There was a risk for only those guilty of over acting; or d) none of the above.
Answer: Roman Holiday suggests that (a) is the right answer. But hard-hearted us prefer (b) that no one’s hand is in danger at “The Mountain of Truth.” Nonetheless, the scene pictured above is one of Roman Holiday’s most entertaining and, as performed by Hepburn, the most touching.
5) Question: Roman Holiday anticipated Fellini by having Hepburn take a soak in the Fountain of Trevi. a) True; or b) False.
Answer: b) False. Hepburn’s princess doesn’t take a wade-through in the Fountain of Trevi — as does Anita Ekberg (pictured above) in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, made some seven years after Roman Holiday.
Here are a soggy Peck and Hepburn after a raucous barge brawl that sent them overboard into what we suspect is the Tiber River.
Final Words: Thanks to regular reader Dan for correcting our math in yesterday’s blog. Roman Holiday is nearly 70 years old, not 60. Yikes, how time flies.