January 5, 2012

WHERE HAVE ALL THE ROMANTIC MOVIES GONE? by Kathy Ivan



I was talking with my sister earlier and the conversation turned to movies. Romantic comedies to be exact. I'm a big lover of romance in all its forms. That's why I write it. I love the subtle nuances of it, the majesty of it. The quiet moments and the shout-it-from-the rooftop moments. There's just something about watching or reading about two people falling in love and getting their happily ever after that just makes me go, "Awww!" But when it came time to list some of my favorite romantic movies, that's when things got a little tricky. I could think of lots and lots of them that I love, but I realized something I thought was significant. Nary a one of them was current. What's happened to Hollywood that they can't seem to make a romance/romantic comedy that really touched me enough that I remember it long after seeing it?

Hollywood in its heyday made some fabulous, witty, and memorable love stories—I can't even use that turn of phrase without thinking about the movie by the same name—Love Story.


I know I'm going to age myself a bit with this list, and a lot of these were made well before my time, but I've watched them in reruns over the years and they are still as vibrant, funny and romantic today as they were back when I watched them the first time. The actors and actresses had the type of chemistry that just doesn't seem to be there on screen today (again just my opinion but since I writing this blog post, I can say what I want to—Ha!)

So in no particular order, here is a list of some of my favorite romantic comedies and romance movies through the decades.

1. His Girl Friday. Some of the snappiest dialog ever written, performed brilliantly by Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.

2. The Princess Bride. "As you wish." Enough said.

3. It Happened One Night. There's a reason this won the Academy Award. Wonderfully funny and romantic.

4. Ladyhawke. I'll admit it, I absolutely loved Rutger Hauer in this film. Such a romantic film even after all these years.

5. My Favorite Wife. This was such a classic story line that it's been remade several times. This one stars Cary Grant and Irene Dunn (the 60s remake started James Garner and Doris Day). Wife stranded on a desert island with another man for 7 years, comes back to find her husband has remarried. Hilarious laugh out loud funny movie.

6. Beauty and the Beast. This may be a Disney movie, but it was oh so romantic.

7. When Harry Met Sally. This movie has some of the most imitated scenes of recent memory for a reason. They were funny.

8. Bringing Up Baby. Another classic Cary Grant film also starting Katharine Hepburn. Wonderful verbal and physical comedy at its finest.

9. Calamity Jane. Doris Day and Howard Keel. A musical/romantic comedy about wanting somebody and finding out that maybe your first choice isn't always the right choice after all. (And the music ain't bad either.)

10. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Another Howard Keel movie. This is a musical with singing and dancing, but the story is also different and heartwarming.

As you can see, lots of what I call oldies but goodies.

So do you have any current romantic films or romantic comedies that you can recommend? Maybe I missed something out there I really need to see. Hit me with your best shot!

48 comments:

Angelyn said...

I am such a Rutger Hauer fan as well. Delicious!

My authority on movies is your fellow princess, HRH Sasha. She's an expert!

Kathy Ivan said...

Angelyn, thanks so much. I just adore Rutger Hauer. I think I watched Ladyhawke so many times I could practically say the dialog. Thanks for stopping by. I'm sure Sasha will give me her picks later today, too!

Vicki Batman said...

Kathy, you picked such good ones! I just watched "An Affair to Remember" with Cary Grant.

I love the "Pride and Prejudice" with Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfayden (sp?)- "You have bewitched me body and soul." *fanning face*

What a fantastic topic!!

Pamela Stone said...

Oh Kathy. I love this post. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Sigh. Some of the others I loved were:

The Way We Were (although some argue that it isn't a romance since there is no HEA)

A Star is Born (Kristofferson version. See above about HEA)

Thomas Crown Affair (both versions)

Pretty Woman

An Officer and a Gentleman

Sweet Home Alabama (probably the most current on my list)

Tequila Sunrise (Back in the days when I liked Mel Gibson)

Benny and Joon (a bit off the wall, but charming)

Long Hot Summer (both the Paul Newman version and the Don Johnson version)

Sheila Tenold said...

Kathy, my favorite romantic movie didn't have a true HEA, but what it do was focus on the man/woman relationship. That movie is "The Way We Were." Take about a two-hankie cry...

I enjoyed your movie list. What a great walk down film romance lane! Thanks.

Jody Lebel said...

Don't forget Romancing the Stone. That movie made me want to write books.

Kathy Ivan said...

Good morning Vicki

I loved an Affair to Remember. I keep meaning to see that version of Pride and Prejudice but somehow keep forgeting it. I'll put it on my list. Thanks. :-)

Kathy Ivan said...

Pam, I think Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of my all-time favorites. What's not to love about seven gorgeous men who not only are great looking but can sing and dance too?

I loved a whole bunch of your choices as well.

Kathy Ivan said...

The Way We Were was a good movie, too. I think I just didn't get as much into it becuase I'm not a big Barbra Streisand fan (but that's just me). Now, Robert Redford, . . . LOL

Thanks for stopping by.

Kathy Ivan said...

Morning, Jody

I did forget Romancing The Stone! How could I have missed that one! Definitely didn't give romance writers a bad rap as so many do. And so romantic, too.

Thanks for posting.

Elizabeth Essex said...

Great list of movies, Kathy.
I'm a died-in-the-wool Cary Grant and irene Dunne fan. I just love the banter and the wicked little glint in her eye as she lead him down one primrose path after another.

But I have enjoyed more than a few contemporary romantic comedies, even with all their flaws because I like a good laugh with my love scenes.

27 Dresses comes to mind as being sweet and romantic, and I have to say I'm looking forward to the new, coming version of Evanovich's One for the Money—it looks very banter-ish. :)

I guess the problem always comes down to HEA vs. no HEA. My favorite all-time romantic movie is Roman Holiday, but I cry ever time when there's no HEA. Sigh.

Phyllis said...

Nice subject, Kathy.

I love Romancing the Stone too, Jodi

More of my favorites are:

Sleepless in Seattle
You Got Mail
While You Were Sleeping
The Proposal - the most recent one I know about.

Even disaster movies like Dante's Peak and Twister have the love stories entwined.....yeah, that's me...disaster and love. What a combination!

Phyllis

Sandy Williams said...

You know, it does seem like there are less romantic movies out there. Maybe that's why I'm not watching many movies anymore.

I'll have to check out most of the movies on your list. The only ones I've watched are The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally.

Linda Steinberg said...

The old ones are still the best, in my book. Less physical, but more emotional. I love anything with Kathryn Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. And has anyone mentioned An Officer and a Gentleman?

chris keniston said...

what I call recent is at least a decade old and no longer recent - LOL - but that would be -
As phyllis mentioned- While you were sleeping - great romantic comedy though i could do without the hospital wedding in pajamas and an IV - lol.
- Return to Me with Minnie Driver, though this one has a sad beginning the old fashioned nature of the comedy is great.
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this one was probably a block buster hit for almost a year because of what Kathy says- not many good old fashioned romantic comedies anymore (that aren't based on sheer stupidity)
Sabrina the remake With harrison Ford is a comedy of sorts-


older romantic comedies would be the thrill of it all with Doris Day and James Garner-
A christmas in connecticut with Barbara stanwyck
Yours Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball
-Philadelphia Story with Cary Grant
-How to marry a Millionaire- Marilyn Monroe
- Desk Set -Katherine Hepburn

When someone does a post on Romantic Musicals- I'll have a boat load more!! LOL.

Janis Susan May Patterson said...

Wonderful post, Kathy! My personal opinion is that they aren't making romantic comedies any more is because they are human-sized movies and all they seem to produce now is computer-generated explosions and repeated car crashes and aliens. Hopefully human-sized movies will make a resurgence. After all, movies and TV have suddenly started to recycle everything.

Everyone has mentioned a lot of my favorite movies - esp. Romancing the Stone.

No one has mentioned Adam's Rib yet - I love that. Another oldie, as is Penny Serenade.

Now I want to go watch movies...

Pamela Stone said...

Speaking of the older movies, I'm a Steve McQueen buff. I've always been drawn to less polished guys who are a bit rough around the edges. Does anyone except me remember McQueen and Natalie Wood in Love With The Proper Stranger?

Or how about Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee in A Summer Place.

Liese Sherwood-Fabre said...

When reading your post, my first thought was "Sleepless in Seattle" (mentioned in another comment). My all-time favorite is Gone with the Wind. I once heard a quote from Margaret Mitchell who said it was the story of a woman who loved two men and couldn't decide between them. Not exactly a HEA, but a lot of love!

Kathy Ivan said...

Hey Ms EE: I love all the old Cary Grant Irene Dunn movies and the Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn movies--Heck I just loved Cary Grant!

I'll have to check out 27 Dresses, I don't remember seeing that one. I'm looking forward to One For the Money, too! I just hope it translates well from the book.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Phyllis: Ah yes, all those Meg Ryan movies. They're great but again they aren't really new or current. Seems like all the best ones are at least a decade old.

I like action thrown in with my romance, too!

Kathy Ivan said...

Hey Sandy

I think that's one of the reasons I haven't watched as many movies lately too. There just aren't many out there that explore relationships in a way that resonates with the public. It's all CGI and action/bombs/explosions.

While I love those action movies, too, once in a while it would be nice to have a little bit more romance.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Linda

I did consider An Officer and A Gentleman, and while it's a good movie, other than the ending it really didn't resonate with me. But that's what personal preferenc it. Things that I love, other people hate and vice versa. That's the great thing about story-telling. Thanks for coming by today.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hey Chris

Romantic Musicals -- maybe you should do that blog post? Hmm!

Loved your list of movies, too. The Thrill of It All is a personal fav.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Janis

How could I have forgotten Spency Tracy and Katharine Hepburn? See, this is why all the oldies are still classics and we don't remember the contemporary stuff. They just don't make 'em like that any more.

Thanks for stopping by. :-)

Kathy Ivan said...

Pam I so remember Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee.

And Steve McQueen. I'm with you, I'm attracted to the slightly rough-around-the-edges bad boy antihero. They just need a litle extra TLC.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Liese

That's exactly how I think of Gone With the Wind. She couldn't (or wouldn't) choose, so she lost them both.

Truthfully, I read the book before I saw the movie, so (for me) the movie always felt a little bit flat after that although I adore Clark Gable. The book was just SO Good.

Thanks for commenting. :-)

chris keniston said...

I find it interesting no one mentioned the pairings of Rock Hudson and Doris Day - the one that comes to mind is Pillow Talk, but they made quite a few.

but back in the day there were some great romantic teams, though not al were comedies:

Rock Hudson and Doris Day
James Garner and Doris Day
Hepburn and Tracy
Bogie and Bacall
Johan Wayne and Maureen Ohara
Fred and Ginger - LOL.(gotta fit in those musicals)

while movie series are popular (sometimes I think for lack of imagination) Star Teams aren't anymore - hmmm wonder what else THAT says about modern movies...

Pamela Stone said...

Hey Chris. My Mom has almost all the Rock Hudson Doris Day movies and they are great. I like most of the pairings you mention also, except never was a John Wayne fan. Good man, just didn't do much for me as an actor. However at the mention of Rock Hudson, how about Come September with Gina Loloabridgida (sp). I think my dad would have left my mom for her. But that's okay. If Paul Newman would have come along, she might have left Dad. Ha!

Vicki Batman said...

We mention a lot of older movies...did you notice those actors seem to convey emotion on their faces more?

Penny Serenade--it's a four hankie one.

chris keniston said...

hi pam


actually Gina Lolabrigida was in one of my all time favorite comedies - though not technically a romance -

Buona Serra Mrs. Campbell.

The plot- a military reunion in a small italian town sends a vineyard owner into panic - juggling all three men who have supported her and 'their' daughter for 18 years!!

it's just plain fun and I suppose since all couples leave happier than they arrived- in a way a romance too!

Pamela Stone said...

Right there with you, Vickie. Years ago a reporter described Redford's face as a blank slate, just waiting for him to write on it. Said that he could convey more with an expression than other actors could with pages of dialogue. This blog is going to get me fired if I don't get back to work.

http://www.jeanharrington.com said...

How far back can I go? How about an all-time classic? Jayne Eyre with Joan Fontaine and Orson Wells. To my romantic mind, none of the later productions came close to the majic of this one. Jean Harrington, Carina author too!

Jean Harrington said...

Hi Again, It's "Jane" and "magic" not Jayne and majic. Think I'm computer crazy today. My Carina mystery, Designed for Death, came out on the 2nd, and I've been a typing queen ever since. Need a chocolate break.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hey Pam, love all the Rock Hudson/Doris day movies. I think I've seen them all over and over again. It was harrowing a list down to just 10, although they all seem to be classies as opposed to newer romances.

Kathy Ivan said...

Vicki I so agree. The emotions they actors used to be able to convey with just the quirk of an eyebrow or the upturned corner of a mouth--they just don't appreciate the subtly any more.

Penny Serenade--cried by eyes out at that one, too!

Kathy Ivan said...

Hey Chris I remember that Gina Lolabrigida (sp) movie. It was really funny and sweet.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Jane! Yay another Carina author joins the party!! Woo Hoo!

Who could forget Jane Eyre? I think that was one of Orson Wells finest performances.

Thanks for dropping by today.

Liz Lipperman said...

You're right about the newer movies not measuring up to the old time ones. My all time favorite ever is Backstreet with Jon Gavin and Susan Hayward. Like The Way We Were, it doesn't have a HEA, either, and I cry every time I watch it, but it is sooooooo good.

Another old time one is About Last Night with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore.

And one of my favorite new ones is The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.

I love all this discussion. Keep the comments coming.

Phyllis said...

Ah, Chris mentioned musicals....well, I have to say I just LOVE Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.

Some World War II time romantic comedies for me were Operation Petticoat and Father Goose…of course with Cary Grant.

I wish I wasn't so dang awful on remembering titles!!!

Phyllis

Sylvia said...

Kathy,
Love this topic and I hope someone in Hollywood is taking notice...not many romantic movies out there these days.

My pick me up romantic movie is "It Could Happen To You" with Bridget Fonda and Nicholas Cage. Love that movie.

Love The Proposal, Somethings Gott Give (best Jack Nicholson movie) and It's Complicated. I have several old Sandra Dee movies, When a Man Answers and Doris Day movies that are just fun to watch.

Sigh...for the old movies. I'm so tired of killing movies, superheros and spy movies. Give us something happy.

Great topic Kathy.

Sasha Summers said...

Oh my Gosh! I love this!Only problem is, there are so many movies I could list...
I agree with Princess Bride and Ladyhawke. An old one, heavy cheese & Queen music to boot, is the original Highlander movie - "My bonny Heather" - swoon. Vicki's P & P, and 300 (seriously!). More recent - Crazy, Stupid, Love - graduation speech just Nailed it! This was fun Kathy :)!

Sasha Summers said...

I agree with so many of the ones mentioned, but have to add: Franco Zeferelli Romeo and Juliet. It IS so beautiful...
And, yes we all KNOW I'm addicted to Hector, but Troy was riveting BECAUSE of the love stories.
Stopping now.

Kathy Bennett said...

My first thought was Gone With the Wind. What an epic love story.

Here's one no one has mentioned...High Society with Kathryn Hepburn, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. It was a remake of the the Philadelphia Story.

Also, Never Been Kissed is high on my list. Overboard was cute as well.

The movies have done a lot for love!

chris keniston said...

oh phyllis - how could I forget Operation Petticoat - that was a wonderful comedy with a nice romantic end all the way around! lol.

One of my all time favorite musicals with a romantic hint is Summer Stock with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly and the song You Wonderful You (So Glad I found you, you wonderful you - they don't do romance like that anymore!!LOL)

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi! Sorry to join the party so late. I loved the post and agree with a lot of them. I loved Princess Bride, Ladyhawke, Beauty and the Beast, but When Harry Met Sally was one of my favs. I can probably almost quote the movie. And Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, great one! Do you remember the TV show? I used to love it too.

This probably isn't a romantic movie, but they did get a HEA: Two Mules for Sister Sarah. Clint Eastwood and Shirley McLaine. And the funny thing is the latest Sherlock Holmes movie uses that theme song for a certain scene. Or at least I think it does!

Michelle said...

Favorite movie: Somersby with Jodie Foster and Richard Gere. Makes me cry everytime.

Michelle
Author of Concilium, available July 2012
Concilium: The Departure, November 2012

www.Michelle-Pickett.com
www.Conciliumbooks.com

chris keniston said...

yes!! I remember the tv show 7 brides for 7 brothers with a young and handsome richard dean anderso (soon to be mcgyver) as Adam!!

and I also remember two mules for sister sarah - Now I feel younger than I did yesterday if you remember all that too!! LOL

so many great romantic or HEA movies out there I bet if women were running holywood there would be more - aftr all My Big Fat Greek Wedding had all women behind bringing it to ife - and hollywood didn't believe in it and the audience showed them what for - hmm - sounds like writing books doesn't it - LOL

Kathy Ivan said...

Thanks a whole big bunch everybody for dropping by and commenting on my gentle tirade about the lack of romantic movies.

I've picked up the names of a few to add to my list, so hopefully I'll had a couple new favorites, too!