A classically recited romantic poem is William Wyler's Roman Holiday, starring Gregory Peck as Joe Bradley, a reporter and Audrey Hepburn as Princess Ann. Hepburn won the Best Actress Oscar for her very first lead role. The film is perfectly laid out in every way, with a perfect ratio of bitterness and sweetness, not losing its charm in any single frame. Joe picks up Ann from the park bench and lets her sleep on his couch, little knowing that it will turn out to be the biggest scoop of his life. Ann on the other hand involves us into every single emotion of hers, be it her suffocating lifestyle as a princess, her trip around Rome with Joe Bradley, or the way the couple parts ways. This is a film that is as immortal as Audrey Hepburn herself.
Life is Beautiful
This is an Italian film based on the life of a Italian Jew, Guido, played by Roberto Benigni, the director and co-writer of the movie. Set against the reality of World War II and a Nazi concentration camp, the film bagged the Academy award for Best Dramatic Original Score, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor for Benigni. Believing that laughing in the face of adversity is the best way to triumph, Guido makes light of the situation in the camp so that his son has the childhood he deserves.
P.S. I Love You
A film based on the novel by the same name, it stars Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler as Holly and Gerry, a couple madly in love. Gerry dies of a tumour, and the young widow Holly is forced to live a life of loneliness and despair. It is then that she discovers that her late husband had left her ten messages which help her ease her pain, get back to living, fearlessly fall in love and explore life with hope.
The Great Dictator
The film belongs to Sir Charles Chaplin who plays the dual role of Adenoid Hynkel, the dictator of Tomania (symbolically representing Hitler) and a Jewish barber, where he plays his usual comic self. This film of Chaplin's was methodically made; as an act of defiance with a purity of purpose. The cheesier the jokes get, the harder they land. The final speech of the Jewish barber disguised as the dictator Hynkel deserves a standing ovation.
My Fair Lady
Yet another Audrey Hepburn hit, this film is a musical based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion starring Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins, a phonetics professor, who takes up a challenge to change a common flower girl and make her presentable in high society. He wins his challenge but misses something else. In both her role as a cockney flower seller and a lady of society, Eliza Doolittle is simply delightful, charming and irresistible.
Those that almost made it
Mozhi: Radha Mohan
Aval Oru Thodar Kadhai: K. Balachandar
The Pursuit of Happyness: Gabriele Muccino
Shakespeare in Love: John Madden
Cleopatra: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Agalya G.S. is a brand management executive who loves to watch classics. She lives in Chennai.
Keywords: world cinema