June 28, 1999 12:00 PM

Roman Holiday

American Movie Classics (Sun., June 27, 9:30 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

A stimulating short subject followed by a great feature attraction—now that’s a night of old-fashioned movie entertainment. And AMC adds a touch of synergy: The short concerns the making of the feature.

Backstory is the half-hour pilot for an occasional series of behind-the-scenes looks at well-known films. The June 27 entry, narrated by Donald Sutherland, is filled with insights into what made 1953’s Roman Holiday such a captivating romance. We learn how the cast bonded through the shared joy of location shooting in the Italian capital, and how director William Wyler and lead actor Gregory Peck worked together to draw out the star quality of lovely but inexperienced Audrey Hepburn (whose unique charm shines through in a clip from her screen test). The program also highlights the key contribution of then-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, who received posthumous credit for the Oscar-winning original story 40 years after the picture’s release. Once Backstory puts you in the mood for movie magic, watch Roman Holiday itself at 10 p.m. Chances are you’ve seen it before, but you’re sure to enjoy it even more.

Bottom Line: Double delight for film buffs

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