Monday, February 11, 2008

la Saint-Valentin in the cinema

Well, Valentine's Day is just a few days away and many of you lovebirds out there have reason to celebrate next to your significant main-squeeze. Since I have chosen (for the most part) to retain my bachelorhood, I'd thought I'd observe the occasion with the ultimate in sappy and mushy: list the top ten romantic movies of all time. I have conducted an unscientific (duh?) survey and compiled this list from the responses given to me by single folks, married folks, and hopeless romantics. Most of these I have NOT watched, and, speaking from a man's perspective, DON'T care to watch...unless I'm forced to watch by that one person you just can't say no to;) For the record, I prefer the horror, science fiction, and thriller genres.

1) Gone With the Wind (1939) - I've always enjoyed the title much more so than the movie. For me, even as a child, the name of this film evoked a sense of nostalgia and unfulfillable longing. Beautiful score. Winner of eight oscars in 1940, including Best Screenplay, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Best Movie. Mr. Gable recieved a nomination but did not win.

2) Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) - Okay, I'm coming clean. I did see this film and, yes, I did like it...the second time around. The opening scene, where a taxi carrying Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) travels down an empty 5th Avenue in New York is classic. And, of coarse, the song Moon River - written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini - is also unforgettable.

3) Casablanca (1942) - "Here's looking at you, kid." Oh, yes. Casablanca is what you get when desire and morality collide within a war story. It's also the answer I got to "What movie is your love life like" from six posts ago. LOL!

4) The Notebook (2004) - Never saw this one folks, but from those surveyed it's "...sooo cute." Whatever. It did star James Garner and Gena Rowlands - two very good actors who still find respectable movie rolls at their level.

5) Doctor Zhivago (1965) - As I child, the music of this great film encapsulated me. The movie - which I have only vaugue recollections - was shot in that saturated level of color that was characteristic of films from that era.

6) Somewhere in Time (1980) - This was another film that I did enjoy. Love, time-travel, and a quasi-happy ending. What more can you ask for? How about a great score. John Barry, who scored a number of films from the James Bond franchise, did a superb job in this film. The only one he did not compose but used in this movie was the eighteenth variation of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. That one we attribute to a master of the Romantic Period: Sergei Rachmaninov.

7) From Here to Eternity (1953) - Another film with a great name. Never saw this one either, but eight grandmothers tell me it's good, so it must be. I do, however, recall the passionate kiss between Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster) and Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr) on the beach.

8) An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) - "I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to go... I got nothin' else." Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) wants to be a navy pilot and enrolls in the officer candidate school. There he meets Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley (Louis Gosset, Jr.), who catches Mayo cheating and tries to get him to quit the program by making his life unbearable. In the meantime, Zack meets Paula Pokrifki (Debra Winger) who is desperate to leave her life as a factory worker and become a navy wife. The classic ending comes when Zack Mayo graduates from the officer candidate school, goes to the factory where Paula works, picks her up and walks out with her in his arms.

9) The Summer of '42 (1971) - When this film came out (which was before I was born), I think every young man secretly wished he was Hernie, with a captivating older woman, Dorothy, by his side. I don't remember too much about the film, but I do recall the fact that it took place in New England (which adds more to the romantic luster of the film), and the melancholy score by the great Michael Legrand. The Summer Knows - depending on who performs it and how it's arranged - is one of my favorite songs.

10) Titanic (1997) - When I started watching this film on DVD, I could not finish it because the boredom became physically unbearable. Sorry. Maybe it's because I'm not that big of a DiCaprio fan, or maybe the movie was moving too slowly for me. Anyway, the people I talked to enjoyed it so it came in at number ten.

An amorous and enchanting Valentine's day for you and those closes to you!!

"Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties." ~ Jules Renard


Tracy said...

The notebook is awesome and also an excellent read!
I grew up on Gone with the wind, it was my sisters favorite movie, she had the movie soundtrack music and many statues of the characters.. so I thought it was the best but... I hate when Rhett leaves at the end... so depressing, lol!!

ukok said...

And why, pray tell is 'An Affair to Remember' not listed above?

I can live without all of the above choices with the exception of 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' and my particular favourite, 'Somewhere in Time'. The latter of which had me sold the very first time I heard Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini while I watched the film one rainy afternoon in England many years ago. The music evokes intense memories for me (I won't bore you with the details)which is perhaps befitting as February 14th approaches.

ukok said...
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Tom in Vegas said...


Despite the fact that I'm a guy, I have to admit to you I do love Gone With the Wind. It set the standard for many films that came after it.


There are many more films that should have been included. Beginning with An Affair to Remember, Wuthering Heights, Kate and Leopold, and Ghost. These were simply the top ten films I compiled. Perhaps I should begin list #2, detailing 10 through 20.:)

Catherine said...

Well...I've seen a few of those, and those which I have seen are in my "Most Hated Movies Ever" list...namely, "The Notebook" and "Titanic." Augh. Just thinking about Titanic gives me a tic. Sorry if that devastates anyone...I'm really not normally a wet blanket but....augh!

Jaimie said...

I love Somewhere in Time and Casablanca! Totally agree with you on Titanic. I looked at my watch during the entire film and sat baffled in front of my it kept winning Oscars.

When I want to watch a good love story I usually turn to my pile of Austen films along with Much Ado About Nothing. Phantom of the Opera, The Age of Innocence, Anna and the King, Memoirs of a Geisha, Jane Eyre, and many more.

Now I have to sit and watch them all!

Jennifer said...

What does it say about me that I have not seen one of those movies.

And I totally refuse to watch the last one. Won't even look at the cover.