A couple of romantic movie favesby Terry McLaughlin
If Omar Khayyam had lived in the age of the video rental, he might have phrased his famous lines differently: a bag of popcorn, a can of soda, and thou beside me on the sofa...watching An Affair to Remember for the tenth time.
There are few things that put me in a romantic mood--or inspire my storytelling--as effectively as a good romantic film. The Philadelphia Story, Moonstruck, Sabrina, When Harry Met Sally, While You Were Sleeping, Baby Boom, American Dreamer, Roxanne, Something's Gotta Give...I have too many favorites to list here and not enough space for the oohs and ahhs and happy sighs. If you want more recommendations, you may enjoy browsing the lists at sites such as The Romance Reader or the American Film Institute.
Two of my favorites are older films that generally aren't well known, and it's these I'd like to share with you.
Set during World War II, Father Goose takes place in the South Pacific. Cary Grant plays a curmudgeonly bum who's marooned on an island, given the code name "Mother Goose," and bribed with whiskey to watch for Japanese planes. His situation worsens when he rescues a French schoolmistress, played by Leslie Caron, and seven of her young charges--all girls. The females quickly "borrow" Grant out of his food, his clothes, his hut, and his peace of mind.
Grant and Caron engage in a battle of wills and wit that's a delight to watch (the film won an Academy Award for its clever screenplay). However, since this is a romance, the inevitable ensues:
British sailor: Sir! Mother Goose is requesting a chaplain!
British officer: A chaplain? Good heavens, he's killed her!
Sailor: No sir, they want to get married!
Officer: Married? Goody Two-Shoes and the Filthy Beast?
A Little Romance offers an Academy Award-winning score and settings in Paris, Verona, and Venice. This bittersweet film about first love features Laurence Olivier and Diane Lane (in her film debut). Olivier plays an elderly con man who tells a young couple about a legend: if two lovers kiss in a gondola under the Bridge of Sighs at sunset, as the bells of the campanile ring, they'll be together forever. With Olivier in tow--to get them across the border--the couple set out to make the legend true.
One of the things I like best about this film is the way the intelligent young people at the heart of the story engage in an achingly real, thought-provoking discussion about love and commitment--and about how very, very lucky they are to have found each other. I dare you to watch the magical kiss scene near the end of the movie without tearing up--just a little.
I've shared a couple of my favorites with you. Now it's your turn to share--what are your favorite romantic films?