Roman Holiday appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray. Expect a highly pleasing presentation.
Sharpness worked well. While most of the movie appeared crisp and concise, a few wider shots demonstrated light softness.
Nonetheless, the image mostly came across as well-defined. No issues with shimmering or jagged edges materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain felt natural.
Source flaws became a non-issue. I noticed marks during the opening “newsreel” but those came from the source and weren’t a transfer issue. Otherwise, the film lacked marks, spots or other concerns.
Blacks looked deep and firm, and the movie exhibited good contrast. Low-light shots also appeared clear and smooth. Overall, I felt impressed by this satisfying presentation.
In addition, the Dolby TrueHD monaural audio of Roman Holiday seemed perfectly acceptable for a 67-year-old effort. Speech always seemed concise and natural, with no edginess or other distractions.
Music lacked much range but came across as clean and acceptably clear. Effects showed decent definition, and the track came free from defects. This was a perfectly solid little mix.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2008 DVD? The lossless audio felt a smidgen more dynamic, though only so much could be done with a nearly 70-year-old soundtrack.
Visuals demonstrated a nice step up, as the Blu-ray appeared more precise and natural. It also lacked the DVD’s edge haloes and minor print flaws. The Blu-ray offered a clear upgrade.
Although prior “Paramount Presents” Blu-rays dropped extras from prior releases, Holiday retains most of its, and we start off with Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years. During this 29-minute, 55-second piece, we find notes from film professor Jonathan Kuntz, authors Pamela Keough and Barry Paris, fashion designer Jeffrey Banks, producer AC Lyles, and actors Stefanie Powers and Pat Crowley.
As the title implies, the show looks at Hepburn’s stint at Paramount as well as other aspects of her life/career and her impact on films. While the show’s emphasis on her six flicks at Paramount limits its scope, I kind of like the focus.
It makes “Paramount” unusual since it doesn’t really attempt to be a full career examination. Sure, it delivers some quick notes about her life before and after that period, but it mostly sticks with the decade in question. It investigates that era well and becomes an involving piece.
For Remembering Audrey, we take a 12-minute, 12-second look at the actor. It includes notes from Hepburn’s son Sean Ferrer, her companion Robert Wolders and “Audrey Bags” designer Egidio Fontana.
They mostly tell us about Hepburn’s life outside of the movie industry. Much of the content simply lionizes Hepburn and talks about her greatness. Expect little depth in this fluffy piece.
For the eight-minute, 57-second Rome with a Princess, we take a tour through the Roman locations featured in the film. A narrator provides details about the various spots as we see them portrayed in the flick and in today’s world. This becomes a competent travelogue.
Dalton Trumbo: From A-List to Blacklist goes for 11 minutes, 55 seconds and presents remarks from Kuntz, blacklisted actors’ wives Betty Garrett and Jean Porter Dmytryk, novelist/filmmaker Nicholas Meyer, and actors Allan Rich and Marsha Hunt.
The program looks at the film’s screenwriter and controversies that affected his career. It’s too brief to provide a great take on a topic as complex about the Hollywood blacklist, but it provides a taut and intriguing piece.
We focus on clothes during Behind the Gates: Costumes. It goes for five minutes, 31 seconds and offers comments from Paramount archivist Randall Thropp as he leads us on a tour of the studio’s costume vaults.
None of this has anything to do with Roman Holiday - the closest we come is a look at a Hepburn outfit from Breakfast at Tiffany’s - but it’s cool to see some of the costumes on display.
For the final old featurette, we get the nine-minute, 33-second Paramount in the ‘50s. It simply shows us clips from a few of the studio’s biggest flicks during that era.
A narrator provides some remarks about the movies as well, but nothing particularly revealing emerges here. Instead, the show feels more like a long ad for the studio.
In addition to three Trailers, we find four Galleries. These cover “Production” (36 images), “The Movie” (43), “Publicity” (13), and “The Premiere” (8).
This becomes a decent collection of images, though not many seem all that compelling. Also, the elements didn’t get rescanned for Blu-ray, so they seem softer than they should.
New to the Blu-ray, Filmmaker Focus runs six minutes, 59 seconds and offers notes from film critic/historian Leonard Maltin.
He brings an overview of the production as well as cast/crew. Since prior “Filmmaker Focus” featurettes included actual filmmakers, this one seems a bit odd, but Maltin gives us a useful summary.
The Blu-ray does drop one feature from the 2008 DVD: a look at that version’s restoration. I don’t miss it.