Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fake Romances?

   As I just barely mentioned in my last post, I am in a class called Film in American Culture.  What I didn't mention was that most of my class mates seem to be, um, rather stupid regarding old movies.  While this is not necessarily a bad thing, (there's always room for converts), they act like they know a lot because hey they are in a class, which needless to say drives me crazy because I have studied movies diligently for two and a half years and have seen pretty much all of the 'important' films made before 1965 and many of the not so important ones.
   Anyway we were discussing North by Northwest today and three girls were giving a presentation about the production history, genre, etc.  One of them was talking about genre and she said something about it combining action, adventure, mystery, romance, and drama.  She seemed to act like this was revolutionary.  Now North by Northwest is a good movie and all, but no.  Genres are almost never pure.  Rarely do you have a drama without a little comedy, etc.  I think pretty much from the beginning adventure movies have some romance.  Some examples- any Douglas Fairbanks movie I can think of, Wings, and all those Errol Flynn/ Olivia de Havilland movies.  Heck, even Casablanca counts in that genre.
  Later in the class period the Eva Marie Saint/ Cary Grant relationship in the film came up.  Some thought it was awkward, and while I disagree, I can almost see their point.  Some one called it 'fake' and my teacher pointed out that that is kind of intentional.  But then the girl I talked about in the previous paragraph said that she guessed all old movies are like that because the other movies we'd seen in class had 'fake' romances. (The implication being that modern movies don't have fake romances) WAIT WHAT?!?
I can't be romantic opposite a fake, Ingrid! Stop it!
    First problem you've seen six movies in this class so you're going to say that all movies pre-1960ish had fake romances?  Second problem, two of the movies, we've watched are Casablanca and The Best Years of Our Lives.  How can you say that Ilsa Lund and Rick Blaine's romance feels fake? You are an idiot, this is the only answer.  Also I find all three romances in The Best Years of Our Lives incredibly compelling.  In fact Myrna Loy and Fredric March remind me of my parents who are adorable and love each other deeply.  Teresa Wright could be my sister and Cathy O'Donnell could be a neighbor, so I don't understand how you could find these unrealistic.  I am at a loss for words.
Yes our marriage has no romance and is soooo fake
The only thing may be that she forgot we saw these two movies, but still assuming that in the old days they didn't know what a romance was or how to make a good romance is stupid.  In my opinion she is stupid and modern movies have more contrived romances (see Transformers, most Superhero movies, etc.)  In the old days, studios knew they were making movies for an entire population and thus made movies for the entire population, which you know what included great romances.  All I said in response though was that I think there are fake romances in modern movies and fake romances in old ones, but also great romances throughout film history, because I am smart and don't make a sweeping generalization based on seeing only a few movies.

I'll bet she'd think we were fake.
In my classmates honor here are some of the greatest screen romances (in my opinion) before 1960, most of which don't need explanations because they are so iconic:

   Charlie Chaplin and Virginia Cherrill in City Lights
   Bette Davis and Paul Henreid in Now Voyager
   Clara Bow and Donald Keith in The Plastic Age: Although not a perfect movie, by any movies, I love how Clara Bow's character takes a step back and grows up and lets him grow up.  Best scene: when she is crying watching him play football
I don't really care about him, see my tears?
   Myrna Loy and Fredric March in The Best Years of Our Lives
   Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in Ninotchka: I watched this movie for the second time last year with my female room mates and we were all gushing over Melvyn Douglas' character.  I love how he gets Ninotchka to laugh and then how he fights to get her out of Russia.
   Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca 
   Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins in Trouble in Paradise: they are so perfect for each other

   Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer in Love Affair: the perfect romance, that last scene... (and in my opinion better than the remake)
Lou's going to die, but eh I haven't demonstrated how
much I love him throughout the whole movie
   Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday: Separating for the greater good has got to be one of the most romantic things I can think of
   Mary Pickford and Mahlon Hamilton in Daddy Long Legs: although this romance is really short I love how concerned he is that he is too old for her.  Also the poor little orphan girl really deserved something good from life.
   Teresa Wright and Gary Cooper in The Pride of the Yankees

And some screen teams that nail romance in every movie of theirs I've seen:
    Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire: romance through dance- they are the best; probably my favorite of their dances is "Never Gonna Dance".  They both put themselves into the dance so much, it's not fake at all, even when slightly undermined by a quick fix ending.

    Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart- my favorite scene of theirs is the end of Dark Passage, it made me cry because you know they have a great romance and I care about them because of that.  They tell you everything with those few glances.
    Myrna Loy and William Powell: they make married life so romantic and fun, what's not to love

In conclusion I submit the proposition that romances were more often believable back then and that there is a reason, people still try to copy the great romances of the screen, most of which are from the Golden Age of Hollywood, so this girl doesn't know anything.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh that's one reason why I'm afraid of taking a film class. I hate to have it spoiled by idiots who talk out of their asses like that girl.