READING: The Young Romantics; Shelley, Keats & Byron.
WATCHING: Tonight? Bounty Hunter.
LISTENING TO: Joan Armatrading - retro phase
MAKING ME SMILE: Dh making my favourite dinner.
For over ten years now, my husband and brother-in-law have been arguing over which is the best movie of the 20th Century. My brother-in-law believes it to be Doctor Zhivago, one of the greatest stories of all time. The acting is incomparable, the cinematography stunning and Lara’s Theme is haunting and beautiful. It’s set against a backdrop of some of the most significant historical events of the century.
My husband declares Star Wars to be the most significant film of the 20th century. It tackles the great themes of good vs. evil, plus has amazing fx. Everyone knows the film so well that it has been parodied in The Simpsons and Friends. It has been played in theatres in every country on the planet (my dh says it’s still running in corners of northern China).
He’s cooking my dinner as I write this but he says “Star Wars singlehandedly turned Sci Fi from a B grade genre into mainstream box office success. All villains before and since are now measured against the standard of Darth Vadar – he’s the ultimate baddie.” Luke Skywalker, Princess Leila and Hans Solo are all names tattooed into our subconscious.
(Unfortunately, my brother-in-law is not available for comment at this time....)
Which brings me to the point of today’s blog: which is the most significant romance movie of the 20th Century?
Now, you may have noticed, my brother-in-law and my husband have been using different criteria so, in the interests of scientific and impartial assessment, I’ll state them now:
· It has to be a film we all (or most of us at any rate) have heard of. Little known art house specials – however wonderful - don’t count
· It has to have love
· It has to have something “extra” – setting, other themes etc.
· Everyone can name the actors
· The name of the hero and heroine should be known
· It doesn’t have to have a happy ending
· It has to be widely quoted and/or imitated
Hmm. I’ll give latitude on the last point. I’m going to put a few into the arena, see what you think.
1. Gone with the Wind. Of course. “Frankly dear, I don’t give a damn”. The costumes. The sweeping historical backdrop. Clarke and Vivian. Rhett and Scarlett. And Tara! As for a happy ending - what do you think? Could Scarlett win him back?
2. Titanic. Can you hum the melody? Name the characters, not just the actors? Yup, Rose and Jack. Looking good. Famous historical setting. You can mention this film in any international group and everyone knows it.
3. Pretty Woman. Okay, well-known Pigmalion spin-off. Names of characters? Hmm. However, Julia and Richard will do for one point. Fabulous setting? Eh, no. Quotable? “Big mistake!” (when she’s bailing the shop assistant up for blowing her off the previous day.). Has most of the world seen it? You betcha.
4. Ghost. Actors: check. Characters? Ah, well I’ve drawn a blank. Memorable scene – the potting wheel with one of the all time great love themes playing in the background. Sigh factor? (a new criterion I’ve just made up). 10/10
At this stage, I’m going to step aside from impartiality and just say that French Kiss has a special place in my heart. I can’t remember the names of the characters but Meg and Kevin do a splendid job. The setting is France – need I say more? It’s funny. It’s light. It’s touching. When I have flu I settle down to watch it and it always makes me feel better. Now that, for me, is the mark of a really good movie!
So come on, give me ammo for the next family discussion. Which film do you rate most significant romance of the 20th Century and why?