Movie Poster of the Day: Roman Holiday (1953)

Roman Holiday poster Roman Holiday #2 (tcm)

A re-imagined Roman Holiday (1953) poster designed for Turner Classic Movies’ “Summer Under the Stars” series in 2009 (above) alongside the film’s original release poster (below).

Roman Holiday made a star of Audrey Hepburn, who was just 23-years-old when the movie shot on location in Rome in the summer of 1952. Hepburn went on to win an Oscar for her role as a princess who plays hooky from her royal obligations for a day and falls for American newspaperman Gregory Peck. The film was nominated for a total of 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture (it was beaten out by From Here to Eternity), which seems excessive for what is essentially a fluffy, lightweight romantic fairytale. That said, it has one of the truly perfect final shots in movie history, which you can watch now on either Netflix or Amazon Prime streaming.

Behind the Scenes: Ben-Hur (1959)

Ben-Hur #8 (Wyler) (#29)

Ben-Hur was photographed using MGM’s 65mm anamorphic widescreen format, Camera 65.

At the time of its release in 1959, MGMS’s lavish quasi-biblical spectacle Ben-Hur was the most expensive film ever made, with a budget of nearly $16 million. The famed chariot race alone required an 18 acre set at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios, a five week shooting schedule and 7,000 extras. (continue for more behind the scenes pics) Continue Reading ›

Golden Age issues of American Cinematographer

AC 1942 (Shadow of a Doubt, Hitch) copy

(Above) Alfred Hitchcock peers through the camera’s viewfinder on the set of Shadow of a Doubt, which was shot on location in Santa Rose, California.

The Media History Digital Library boasts a database of more than 800,000 pages of digitized materials from vintage periodicals. That includes full issues of American Cinematographer ranging from 1924 to 1942. The database can be accessed here.

What’s interesting about this era of the magazine is that the cinematographers wrote the features themselves. Thus Greg Toland pens a piece in the February 1941 issue on Citizen Kane and Joseph Valentine contributes a feature in the October 1942 issue on Shadow of a Doubt.
AC 1941 (Citizen Kane) copy
(Above) A low-angle camera set-up  from Citizen Kane, a film that broke with the conventions of the era by showing the ceiling of its interiors.
AC 1926 (Ben Hur) (#2) copy
(Above) The chariot race  from the 1925 silent version of Ben-Hur. Continue Reading ›