Big Screen, Small Screen, or Tiny Screen?


My teenaged daughters and I got to see a great old movie on the big screen this weekend, as a part of Reading Cinema’s Forty Foot Films series in San Diego.

Roman Holiday (1953) is the story of a young princess (Audrey Hepburn) on an extended diplomatic tour of Europe who suddenly cannot stand one more royal parade or gloved handshake or polite dance with old members of the nobility. She sneaks out and spends the day in Rome pretending to be a regular girl, accompanied by two men who take her around the sites.  She is unaware that Gregory Peck is a newspaper man who knows who she really is and will sell her story the next day for $5000.  His friend, played by Eddie Albert, is a photographer who is documenting her adventure with a camera hidden in a cigarette lighter.  Fun and romantic!

Movies are so much better on the big screen!  And don’t even try to get me to watch anything more than YouTube videos on a tiny iPod Touch screen.  I’ve only seen this movie on a regular TV screen, and caught so many more details and nuances while watching in the theater.

Faces:  This is Audrey Hepburn’s first American movie, and she is young and poised, with perfect eyes and makeup, but has not yet had her teeth fixed.  You can actually see her smile improving at different times during the film (she must have been undergoing orthodontic procedures while shooting).  Gregory Peck can express so much with just his eyes, something else you miss on the small screen.

Set Design:  The props and set decorations are very carefully thought out.  By the courtyard door in Gregory Peck’s apartment is a small table with a statue of a face with an open mouth.  Only in the movie theater did I catch that it is Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth) which foreshadows that terrific scene when the friends dare each other to put their hands in the real Mouth of Truth.

Location:  Rome!  How can you capture the grandeur and glamour and grittiness that is Italy on the small screen?  You can’t!

Do you have any favorite movies that you simply must watch on the big screen?

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