So today is Valentine’s Day, a day set aside each year to consider love, what we cherish, what we long and what we lust for. No sense in going into the history of the day, it goes back so many years. But how to celebrate it. Candy and flowers are expected. But how to make it memorable. That is another story. And what better way than to curl up with the love of your life and just enjoy the company, and a good movie. So, here are some of the more romantic movies I recommend to bring this day to the level it deserves, that of a most joyous holiday.
LOVE STORY (1970)
Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw as Oliver and Jenny respectively, tells the age old tale of two mismatched lovers fated to meet and fall in love. Oliver is rich, entitled, the picture of an entitled young playboy type who meets more than his match with Jenny who is a working class girl with an opinion that no one should ever be without. She successfully transforms Oliver into a caring and loving man as their romance buds and grows to a point that Oliver is willing to give up his inheritance and pursue a normal life with his love. Unfortunately it all ends in tragedy (just in case, I won’t give away the ending) with sobs and tears. And that is in the audience. A good story, well told and very well acted.
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934)
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert star in this comedy/drama/farce about a rich girl, Colbert, who runs away from home by diving off her father’s yacht and avoids marrying a man (King Westley played by Jameson Thomas) who her father can’t stand. She boards a bus and meets a down on his luck writer, Gable, who guides her on her trip and rescues her from herself. The sexual innuendo in this movie is way ahead of its time as the two fake being married so they can share a room together to save what little money they have. But as luck would have it, they separate for a bit with Gable trying to stay objective and get the story to save his career and Colbert retreats to her father’s mansion to marry her playboy fiance. But the ending is a classic as Gable and Colbert wind up together in a very familiar place to close out the film in a great way. Don’t miss this one.
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (1989)
A classic story of two stubborn, hard headed people who start out despising each other, grow over some years to become friends and ultimately lovers. This film is a classic that goes kind of a different way because of the short snippets it shows of older people sitting for an interview telling their story of how they met and married. It all ties together as Meg Ryan, who is only perfect in this role, realizes where this relationship is leading long before Harry, Billy Crystal who is just as perfect in the role, tries desperately to deny it. There are a few touching scenes and a few really laugh out loud funny ones and the movie climaxes with a short marathon as the two finally realize that, well, watch it and see for yourself.
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957)
Any movie with Cary Grant has to be good. And this movie with his co-star Deborah Kerr is no exception. Fair warning though, have the Kleenex handy. International playboy Nicky Ferrante, Grant, is on a ship heading for New York when he meets Terry McKay, Kerr, on her way to meet her boyfriend who flew ahead to close a business deal. Since the two are traveling alone, they decide to meet for dinners and companionship. It doesn’t take long for the other passengers to become convinced that they are an item and the looks and sneers follow, tastefully. As they leave, they decide to meet in six months on top of the Empire State Building so they can try to sort out their lives and their feelings, and also to see if Nicky can actually find and hold a job, something he has never done before. On the appointed day though as they both travel for their meeting fate intervenes in a very unfortunate way. Now, if you think that I will go any further with this plot, you are very mistaken. This is a classic and one of the best pure love stories ever shown on film. Watch it and if you don’t agree, well, your heart is probably made of glass.
So, there you have it. Get a box of Bon Bons, some popcorn and curl up with a nice glass of good wine. Enjoy the day with your sweetheart and count your blessings. Saint Valentine worked hard to give us this day so don’t disappoint him.