One of Joe’s favorite Steve McQueen films is the underrated and almost forgotten film, Love With the Proper Stranger.

The 1963 release starred McQueen with Natalie Wood (she got top billing) when both were at the height of their popularity.

One reason the film is not remembered fondly is that at the time is was considered a box office flop. The Pakula /Mulligan production for Paramount had high hopes and a big budget for its time…. over $8.5 million. It only grossed about half that.

But it was a critical success. Wood was nominated for an Oscar. Both were nominated for Golden Globes. The film itself received four other Oscar nominations.

The romantic/comedy/drama has a serious side. Long before Roe vs. Wade this film dealt with back room abortions which were the only choice of young people who found themselves in trouble.

If you haven’t seen this film, do so. It gives both McQueen and Wood the chance to play serious drama and light comedy in the same parts.

In closing, we pass along a comment received earlier this week from reader Brittaney.  

I’ve been working my way through McQueen’s filmography this past year. I really fell in love with ‘Soldier in the Rain.’ He really was a star!

Soldier in the Rain is another one of McQueen’s less trumpeted titles, although it shouldn’t be.

It was released the same year as Love With A Proper Stranger in the U.S. by the now defunct Allied Artists, and it is not easy to track down on DVD. But try anyway.

McQueen’s costars here are Jackie Gleason — with whom he was pals offscreen — and a young Tuesday Weld. The movie based on a William Goldman novel with a script co-written by Blake Edwards. McQueen and Gleason play off each other well, and Steve shows off an underappreciated way with screwball romantic comedy. Another testament to her versatility.

Winding up our Steve McQueen week, we can agree –yes indeed, Brittaney, McQueen really was a Star.

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