Romance on Film:
cinematic scenes of love & romance to remember...
George Cukor, Camille George Cukor, Camille(1937), starring Greta Garbo & Robert Taylor, VHS, NTSC format, Black & White, ASIN: 6301967739— This is one of the great cinematic romance stories. It is also one of Greta Garbo's touchstone films, this 1937 adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas fils' novel Lady of the Camelias finds the actress playing a dying courtesan (Marguerite Gautier) who falls in love with Armand Duval, a young nobleman (slightly miscast though incredibly handsome Robert Taylor) and must sacrifice her happiness. Directed by George Cukor (The Philadelphia Story & My Fair Lady), the supreme "women's director" in Hollywood at the time, the film could have existed just to give Garbo room to be luminous (despite her character's illness) and a great star. But it is also a gorgeous MGM production with strong performances from Lionel Barrymore and the rest of the cast. Henry Daniell is a standout as the villain (Baron de Varville). Beautiful cinematography by William Daniels. Garbo was an Academy Award Nominee as Best Actress for this film, and should have won, but lost out to Luise Rainer who starred in The Good Earth. Avg. Review (3): 5 stars
George Cukor, My Fair Lady George Cukor, My Fair Lady(1964), starring Audrey Hepburn & Rex Harrison, VHS, NTSC format, ASIN: 6304178352— An arrogant linguist, Professor Henry Higgins, bets a colleague Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White) that he can transform a flower-selling Cockney guttersnipe into a regal lady. His quarry, the irrepressible Eliza Doolittle, accepts his offer for diction lessons in good faith, hoping to improve her station with a career as a shopgirl. After her smashing society debut at the Ascot races, she witnesses Higgins in a self-congratulatory moment and stalks out in a rage, causing him to finally recognize that he's fallen in love with his creation and can't live without her. This quintessential musical from Lerner and Loewe was based on the 1913 play "Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw. Academy Award Nominations: 12, including Best (Adapted) Screenplay. Academy Awards: 8, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor: Rex Harrison. Best Costume Design: Cecil Beaton. Memorable romantic songs from the film: I Could Have Danced All Night, Show Me, I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face. Avg. Review (19): 4.5 stars
Jean Cocteau, Beauty and the Beast Jean Cocteau, Beauty and the Beast(1946), starring Jean Marais, English subtitles, VHS, NTSC format, Black & White, ASIN: 6302794064— Cocteau's spellbinding version of the French fairy tale, "Beauty and the Beast." Only a rose— that was all Beauty asked for when her father went to the city. But her harmless request has unexpected consequences when Beauty's father plucks the flower from a garden belonging to an enchanted Beast. Now the fearsome creature wants the father's life— or the life of one of his daughters. Despite her father's protests, Beauty determines to go in his place. Arriving at the Beast's palace, she discovers, to her amazement, a blazing fire, silver platters heaped with food, and the softest downy bed. She learns that the Beast is kind and will not harm her. Still, she reacts with horror when he asks her to marry him. Beauty knows she can never do that... can she? One of the great classics of cinema, Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast" plunges the viewer into a dream-like world of exquisite delicacy. A kindly beast must win the unselfish love of a woman in order to be freed from a powerful spell. This film touched Greta Garbo so much that when the Beast turned into a Prince at the end, she said “Give me back my Beast.” Avg. Review (8): 5 stars
Michael Curtis, Casablanca Michael Curtis, Casablanca(1942), starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, VHS, NTSC format, Black & White, ASIN: 0792839846Casablanca(1942) is one of film's most enduring classics, and one of the landmarks of American cinema. Humphrey Bogart plays an American expatriate and nightclub owner (Rick) in unoccupied French Morocco during WW II that is crawling with Nazis. Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa) is the lover who mysteriously deserted him in Paris, and reawakens his heart to love and patriotism. Paul Heinreid is Ilsa's heroic, slightly bewildered husband. Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Conrad Veidt are among what may be the best supporting cast in the history of Hollywood films. This is certainly among the most spirited and ennobling movies ever made. The DVD release has theatrical trailers, a related documentary, optional French soundtrack, and optional English and French subtitles. This film has it all— romance, political intrigue, suspense, and pure Hollywood glamour. Unforgettable lines from this film classic: “Here's looking at you kid” and “Play it, Sam” and unforgettable music “You Must Remember This.” Casablancawon three Oscars: Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay. Avg. Review (54): 4.5 stars
Hitchcock, North by Northwest Alfred Hitchcock, North by Northwest(1959), starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, VHS, NTSC format, color, ASIN: 6304196938— A strong candidate for the most sheerly entertaining and enjoyable movie ever made by a Hollywood studio. North by Northwest is Alfred Hitchcock at his most effervescent in a romantic comedy-thriller that also features one of the definitive Cary Grant performances. It's a classic Hitchcock Wrong Man scenario: Cary Grant is Roger O. Thornhill, an advertising executive who is mistaken by enemy spies for a U.S. undercover agent named George Kaplan. Convinced these sinister fellows (James Mason & Martin Landau) are trying to kill him, Roger flees and meets a sexy stranger on a train (Eva Marie Saint), with whom he engages in one of the longest, most convolutedly choreographed kisses in screen history. And, of course, there are the famous set pieces: the stabbing at the United Nations, the crop-duster plane attack in the cornfield (with no place to hide), and the cliffhanger finale atop the stone faces of Mount Rushmore. Plus a sparkling Ernest Lehman script and that pulse-quickening Bernard Herrmann score. What more could a moviegoer possibly desire? ( review) Avg. Review (16): 4.5 stars
D. W. Griffith, Way Down East D.W. Griffith, Way Down East(1920), starring Lillian Gish & Richard Barthelmess, DVD, Black & White, ASIN: 6305131139— In what may have been his most brilliant surprise, Griffith transformed an archaic melodrama about a wronged woman into a transcendent love story of redemption. Lillian Gish plays an innocent New Englander seduced by an urbane charmer (Lowell Sherman), who arranges a mock marriage and then abandons her when she's pregnant. When the baby dies from illness, Gish leaves the city and changes her identity. She finds herself reborn in the pastoral splendor of a farming community, catching the adoring eye of a young idealist (Richard Barthelmess), only to have the past come back to haunt her. Griffith made two kinds of films: spectacles and love stories. It's the tremulous love stories such as Way Down East that have endured the best. This 1920 film is a triumph of humanity over cruelty, a work that brilliantly conveys emotion through environment. The famous climax on the floating river of ice is still amazing— especially since it uses no special effects ( review). Often shown in shorter versions, this edition was restored to 148 minutes by the Museum of Modern Art in 1985. Avg. Review (1): 5 stars. Also available: VHS version, color & tinted, ASIN: 6302730783. Avg. Review (2): 3.5 stars

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