Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The most romantic movies ever!

I knw we're talking about marketing this month, and the juxtaposition of the impending Valentine's Day and marketing is almost irresistible. However! Let's talk about romance, okay? Because that's what we're supposed to think about on Valentine's Day.

Instead of  the crass "What's a good way to market a romance on Valentine's Day"--let's pretend to talk about writing. In a way.  How about: what's your favorite romantic movie? And why? And  because we're a value-added blog: what can we learn from this?  
I know what my husband would say. In fact, last weekend while I was writing a synopsis ( trying to, because there’s no way to write a synopsis, and I don’t even want to talk about it) anyway, last weekend while I was, um, writing, he was watching his most romantic movie of all time.

For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Later, I said—how was the movie, sweetheart?

And he—remember, hes a tough smart criminal defense attorney—could barely talk. It’s so sad, he said. You know they’re fighting the fascists?

Hank: Yeah.

Jonathan: And they almost all make it across the field on horseback to escape, even Ingrid Bergman?

Hank: Yeah.

Jonathan: And then..a horse falls on Gary Cooper and his leg is broken, and he can’t make it?

Hank: Yeah (I’m, thinking, war movies, I hate war movies.)

Jonathan: And so he tells Ingrid Bergman to go ahead, escape with the others. He tells her to leave him, but she won’t leave him?

Hank: Yeah (Getting interested, because I know what happens, and I can picture this, and whoa, it is..sad).

Jonathan: And then Gary Cooper says something like—You have to go, so I can be with you. Only if you go, will I be with you.  Meaning like, if she dies, her memory of him will die too. 

Okay, that’s romantic. It is. And that’s what we go for, isn’t it, when we write romance? In this particular case—okay its Hemingway, or Hollywood-ized Hemingway—but there’s no throbbing anything or pulsing anything or ripping off of clothing. It’s just pure emotion.

Remember Love, Actually? (I hope you’re saying: Awww, I LOVE that movie! Me, too.) Anyway, Jamie and Aurelia have fallen in love, and they can’t say a word about it, because (among other reasons) he only speaks English and she only speaks Portuguese, and then they have to go their separate ways. And then! He learns Portuguese, kind of, and he comes back and tells her, kind of, as we read in the closed captions:

Jamie: “Beautiful Aurelia, I've come here with a view of asking you to marriage me. I know I seems an insane person - because I hardly knows you - but sometimes things are so transparency, they don't need evidential proof. And I will inhabit here, or you can inhabit with me in England.”

And it turns out, Awwwww…she’s learned English! Kind of.

Jamie: “You learned English?”“

                                                           Aurelia: “Just in cases.”

Awww. “Just in cases.” How wonderful is that?  So, again, there’s no sweaty lust or body parts here, but only honest emotion. A whole crowd of people is watching. But it’s about—conflict, and desire, and devotion. And it’s so romantic! And we can watch it, over and over.

I Googled “most romantic movies of all time” and I must say, though the lists were similar, some of the one included were not my faves. The Notebook? Bridges of Madison County? for me, at least.) We could argue over The English Patient. But West Side Story? Dirty Dancing? When Harry Met Sally? Ghost? Casablanca? (Number one on so many lists…)

And You’ve Got Mail? So wonderful. And in the end they meet—with their real identities--and

Joe Fox: “Don't cry, Shopgirl. Don't cry. “

Kathleen Kelly: “I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly. “

Okay, what’s the point of this? Well, it’s fun to remember favorite movies, whatever the occasion. But for writers, and readers this pre-Valentine’s Day, it’s also educational to remember when and why romance works. And that often it’s more in your head, than in your…wherever else.

Happy Valentine’s Day! And what’s the most romantic movie you’ve ever seen? Why? A copy of the Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark–nominated THE OTHER WOMAN to a lucky commenter!
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  1. I felt like doing one of those air-jabs as I read this. Deeply emotional scenes are the ones we remember, aren't they? They're the ones that make generations sigh and smile and come back for more.

    May our writing be filled with true romance instead of the sappy or the sexual: love stories that resonate and make us laugh or weep--and keep the image close.

    Thank you for a delightful post and an introduction to your writing.

  2. Oh Hank, your hubby is soo romantic (yes I'm chuckling a bit) I do read your commuter bits and pieces that you post on FB-they make my day sometimes :)
    My favorite romantic movie is An Affair to Remember, OMG when the last scene comes I'm in love with Cary Grant (well more in love with him) I was named after the female star too :)
    my next favorite was When Harry met Sally :)
    Even though Hemingway is my all time favorite author (next to you of course) none of his novels would make to to my most romantic list.

    Happy V Day to you and to all here

  3. "Just in cases" is a tagline in this house...:)

  4. Thank you, Normandie! I am having fun envisioning that...and so delighted you had fun reading this! Lovely to meet you, too..

  5. Oh, Debbie, you are SUCH a good pal!

    Pre-blizzard conversation in grocery store:

    HANK: Oh,honey, should we get firewood?
    JONATHAN: Sweetheart, we don't have a fireplace.

    Yeah, that's funny. Except we DO have a fireplace!

  6. William, you and I have been on the same page from day one. Funny, huh? oxo

  7. The Princess Bride. Because it's twoo wuv!

  8. An American in Paris. Gene Kelly dancing Leslie Caron around Paris, Leslie renouncing her love because she is promised to another, Louis renouncing her because he can see how much in love she is with Gene. Plus Gershwin's score. Perfection.

    Kerie Mergner from DL

  9. I've always been a fan of Casablanca. Love in a turbulent time that never works out in the end. I guess unrequited love is more romantic in my opinion. Thanks for the giveaway, I'd love to win a copy of The Other Woman.

  10. Bar none, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD Julie Christy, Alan Bates, Terrence Stamp, Peter Finch. Setting, story, music & cast. Perfection. Better than Hardy's book :) Then maybe TWO FOR THE ROAD/Audrey Hepburn

    Years ago sent my husband out for a romantic movie and he came home with Gladiator and The Patriot. "What?" he said, "Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson. I thought you'd thank me." As a writer I had to point out they are the same eternal plot: Hunky hero won't get involved. Murder his family. Gets involved. Slaughter follows.

  11. Marlyn, that movie is SO funny! I remember reading the book, and wondering how they were going to make it into a movie! Remember the RUS's?

  12. Daddy Long Legs! SO fabulous. I worked at Roling Stone on a project with Richard Avedon..the photographer in that movie was based on him, you know?

    And you can't hear the score of American in PAris without dancing, right?

  13. Oh, Julie Christie was SO gorgeous in that movie! FUnny that no one has said Dr. Zhivago. I think my husband swoons even to think of it!And named his first daughter Lara.

    YOu know what I forgot? Working Girl. Oh, love that movie! I could watch it a milion times, and I always cry at the end.

  14. A Man and A Woman (1966) with Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant.

  15. Oh,LIz V! I forgot! Now I am humming that tune...Daaa daaaa da..dah dah dah dah dah! Lovely!

  16. Charade! Love it. Oh, yes. The one with Carson Dial, right?

    Somewhere in Time..hmmm..I'm not sure I ever saw to Netflix.

    What are we forgetting, gang?

  17. BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S is a great favorite of mine. It just makes me melt.


  18. And the winner is..Kerie Mergner from DL! Kerie, If you're checking in, email me at h ryan at whdh dot com! And--just in cases--I will try to find you on DL.'

    Happy Valentines Day, all!

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