Reel Life: Roman Holiday

I don’t suppose there is anyone on the planet who hasn’t fallen a little in love with either Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday.

But … just in case … I thought I’d mention this lovely 1953 romantic comedy.

Roman Holiday was filmed entirely on location in Rome — a novelty at a time when most films were shot on studio lots in Hollywood. One of the most memorable scenes takes place at the Mouth of Truth. According to legend, if you told a lie with your hand in the mouth, it would be bitten off. While filming this scene, Gregory Peck decided to pull his hand up inside his sleeve as he was pulling it out of the mouth. Audrey Hepburn’s screams were the real deal, he said in interviews many years later, as she had no idea he would play such a trick on her.

The next time you’re in Rome, you can test the legend for yourself. The Mouth of Truth is located in the front portico of the Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin, a small church next to the Tiber. There’s always a long line of tourists waiting to have their photo taken with their hand in the mouth — a credit to the enduring popularity of Roman Holiday.

Me: I’ve been there, done that. My next goal is to find myself a Roman apartment to rent, identical to that of Gregory Peck’s character, Joe Bradley. Something tells me I’ll be searching for a very long time.

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