Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, noting that today is, as you know, Valentine’s Day.
What movies should we watch to mark the occasion?
Exactly a week ago, we asked you to recommend your favorites, and some of you — thank you! — did. As well, we’ll include our choices. (Your cups runneth over.)
Our friend Kim Wilson writes:
Can I say ‘Pretty Woman’ is a favorite Valentine’s movie of mine? It’s a tad modern, but I just love it. Who couldn’t love a story about a hooker (Julia Roberts) with a heart of gold being picked up on Hollywood Blvd. by a rich, good-looking man (Richard Gere) and then falling in love?
It’s eye-popping to note that Pretty Woman is getting on in years. The movie came out in 1990, an eon ago in Hollywood terms. By our standards, of course, the picture is still pretty modern.
Question: Just how credible is the movie’s plot? We mean, the prostitute with a heart of gold is a pretty hoary (pun intended) device. And how many men who look like Gere go out hunting for professional sex? (Although there is always Hugh Grant; see yesterday’s blog.) But we’ll suspend disbelief and go with your pick, Kim.
Regular contributor Patricia Nolan-Hall (Caftan Woman) has a distinctive Valentine’s Day favorite:
In my eyes ‘The More the Merrier’ is THE romantic comedy. It’s a must when Cupid starts flinging those arrows. ‘Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!’
If there is one underrated romantic comedy that deserves a lot more attention, 1943’s The More The Merrier surely qualifies. Heralded at the time it came out — it was awash with Oscar nominations — it stands today as an interesting change of pace for director George Stevens (Shane, A Place in the Sun, Giant).
It’s set in wartime Washington, D.C. where a housing shortage impels a patriotic young woman (Jean Arthur) to sublet her apartment to two men, Joel McCrea and Charles Coburn. The latter, one of Hollywood’s best character actors ever, plays a mischievous matchmaker by the name of Benjamin Dingle. (Coburn won a best supporting actor Oscar for his efforts.)
The More The Merrier definitely deserves another look, and what better day to do exactly that. Thanks, Patricia.
Our pal Taci has this recommendation for the occasion:
My favorite Valentine movie is ‘Some Like It Hot’! It starts on Valentine’s day, so technically we can count it as a Valentine movie in the same way as with some Christmas movies, if the requirement is that it happens during that holiday.
Not only that, there is a romantic thread in plot, but most of all it’s a hilarious comedy, ultimate feel-good movie and my favorite Billy Wilder movie (which says a lot considering there are ‘Sunset Boulevard’, ‘Double Indemnity’ and ‘The Apartment’ in the row).
Wilder’s 1959 cross-dressing comedy does indeed start on Valentine’s Day, but not in a romantic context. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play two musicians who — after witnessing Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, the infamous 1929 shootout in Prohibition-era Chicago that killed seven mobsters — have to go on the lamb in an all-girl orchestra.
But enough said that Marilyn Monroe graces the picture with her ineffable romanticism. Thanks, Taci.
Joe’s current favorites are 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle and the film it pays homage to, 1957’s An Affair to Remember (costarring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, pictured on top) and its predecessor, 1939’s Love Affair (with Irene Dunne opposite Charles Boyer). He recommends viewing all three, and then have fun picking your favorite version.
Frank sticks with his favorite, 1945’s Brief Encounter featuring one of the most stylish yet realistic screen couples, the magnficent Celia Johnson and reliable Trevor Howard. Treat yourself to this gem, and bring along the Kleenex.
Thanks to our contributors, and Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.