Roman Holiday / The Coins in a Fountain
These two award-winning films shot in Rome are part of the series Runaway Hollywood: Global Production in the Postwar World.
In-person: Author Daniel Steinhart
“Hollywood on the Tiber” reached a high point in this story of a European princess (Audrey Hepburn in a star-making performance) who escapes her oppressive royal life during a visit to Rome, where she’s taken on a city tour by an undercover American reporter (Gregory Peck). The authenticity of Rome was important to Paramount and director William Wyler, but so were financial incentives. The studio invested its frozen lire earnings in the production while the director took advantage of a tax loophole by working abroad. The result brought a realist touch to the romantic comedy and earned multiple Academy Awards. (1953, dir. William Wyler, DCP, black and white, 118 min.)
Three Coins in the Fountain
The postwar film cycle of Americans abroad was in full swing when Fox released this tale of three single American secretaries navigating work and love in Rome. New to this cycle was the use of widescreen, which heightened the spectacle of the Italian locales. Director Jean Negulesco, who previously employed CinemaScope on How to Marry a Millionaire with mixed results, skillfully uses the format to capture Italy’s architecture in dazzling panoramas. The film won Oscars for Best Cinematography and Frank Sinatra’s titular hit song. (1954, dir. Jean Negulesco, DCP, color, 101 min.)