I just watched Roman Holiday for the umpteenth time. It’s been a year or two since my last viewing of this fabulous film and I still gain something new from it each time I see it. Having also spent the last half hour downloading photos and sharing one or two on facebook (no, I wasn’t multi-tasking, the film was viewed before the computer was dragged out), my latest revelation concerns the use of technology in film. Or at least the use of photography in said film.
As Gregory Peck’s Joe Bradley shows Audrey Hepburn’s princess the sights of Rome, his friend Irving (Eddie Albert) takes photos of their mini adventures. When Irving firsts meets Joe and his ‘new friend’, Joe asks him if he’s brought the lighter. At first I thought he was talking about the famous camera brand, Leica, but it turns out that Mr Peck’s character is referring to an actual cigarette lighter that contains a hidden camera. Every 15 minutes cigarettes are lit, which gives Eddie’s photographer another photo op. with his trick camera.
Roman Holiday was made in 1953 and I’m guessing that this was considered rather sophisticated technology at the time. Or was it just like the shoe phone that popped up 15 years later on television’s Get Smart? Just the visual realisation of someone’s fertile imagination – nothing more than a sophisticated prop.
I like to think not.