One of the more enchanting and effervescent romantic comedies to come out of any era, Roman Holiday (1954) is certainly an anomaly among films from the frantic 1950s, a decade remembered for its deadly serious dramas, oppressive crime stories, ponderous literary adaptations, epics and musical productions. No, Roman Holiday is something completely different, unique unto itself; one of those magical motion pictures in which every element combines to form an exquisite, uplifting entertainment that transcends time and still feels as fresh, surprising and spontaneous today as on the day it was released.
Tag: William Wyler
The Letter – 1940 – dir. by William Wyler
It is arguably one of the most famous opening scenes in movie history. Watch as The Letter, another boffo collaboration between the incomparable Bette Davis and director, William Wyler, lures us in with its soporific images: the drip-drip of a rubber tree plant’s sap, plantation slaves swinging lazily in sleepy hammocks, fingers slowly sliding across silent chess and checkers boards. And then — BANG!! BANG!! BANG!! BANG!! A woman is firing a barrage of bullets — more bullets than would ever be needed to kill anybody — and the witnessing Malay moon emerges from behind dark clouds to reveal the dead man and the rage-filled face of an unrepentant Davis. Just grand!!
Jezebel – 1938 – dir. William Wyler (1938)
Jezebel is back on the big screen and Hallelujah for film and Bette Davis fans!!
Though it preceded the release of Gone with the Wind by a year, Jezebel was said to be Bette Davis’ pay-off for being passed over for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in that 1939 epic. Late 1930s America was under the spell of Margaret Mitchell’s wildly bestselling phenomenon and hungered for anything ante-bellum. Davis and Jezebel more than fit the bill.