Local News: A Dance Ministry Ensemble will be performing on the campus of Belhaven University in Jackson February 14 through 16 in the Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Center. The Thursday matinee will be performed at 11 a.m. and the Friday and Saturday performance will be 7:30 p.m. Free to Belhaven faculty, staff, students, and immediate families, the general admission fee is $10 ($5 for seniors). Click here for more information.
As Thursday, February 14, is Valentine’s Day, Jackson Presbyterian Examiner would like to recommend the following classic “romantic” movies for couples looking for something to watch. For guys out there who are leery of what are known as "chick flicks", these films may seem curiously atypical for Valentines. Yet they all feature romantic love, sometimes seriously, sometimes hilariously, but always in an entertaining manner. The films are listed chronologically:
1. You Can’t Take it With You (1937—starring Lionel Barrymore and James Stewart)
This film directed by Frank Capra features a young, 29-year-old James Stewart playing the son of a rich, somewhat stuck up family, who’s fallen in love with the daughter of a rather poor, eccentric family. For fans whose only exposure to Lionel Barrymore was via It’s a Wonderful Life, wherein he played the miserly Mr. Potter, it’s refreshing here to see him play the role of the kindly grandfather in the poor family.
2. Made for Each Other (1939—starring James Stewart and Carole Lombard)
James Stewart plays John Mason, a young lawyer who’s fallen in love and gotten married, much to the dismay of their respective families. The groom’s mother lives with the couple, causing the young bride, Jane (Lombard), no end of annoyance. The lawyer’s boss, Judge Doolittle, is a stern man with little sense of humor, making long days of work and little prospect of a raise a perennial stressor for the couple. The couple gets to the end of their rope at a New Year’s Eve party, wondering if they made a mistake in getting married. Their infant son becomes deathly ill, bringing the couple back to their senses. When all hope seems lost, they appeal to Doolittle for money to buy the medicine and he comes through.
3. Holiday Inn (1942—starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire)
This film produced some of the most memorable songs of the “Great American Songbook” and features Irving Berlin at his absolute best as a songwriter. Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire play partners, Bing being the singer, and Fred being the tap dancer. Bing has the hair-brained idea to open up a hotel that is only open on holidays, and soon afterwards he and Fred find themselves falling for the same girl. The two most memorable songs of the film are “White Christmas”, which remains to this day the best-selling single of all time, and “Easter Parade”. One word of caution: because the film was produced at a time when racially insensitive entertainment was so pervasive and unquestioned, there is unfortunately “black face” scene in the film.
4. Roman Holiday (1953—starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck)
In this, Audrey Hepburn’s debut role, she plays Princess Ann, who is in Rome on official, political business. Unable to handle the constant pressure of public appearances and diplomatic meetings, she finally runs away, wanting to experience a vacation in Rome as a “commoner”. Gregory Peck plays Joe Bradley, a journalist, who quickly sees through the princess’s disguise. Hoping to write an expose and make a huge sensation, after spending the day with the princess, he realizes he cares about her too much to spoil her secret.
5. Sabrina (1954—starring Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart)
In her follow up to Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn plays Sabrina, the daughter of the cab-driver for the multi-millionaire Lairby family. Sabrina is head over heals in love with David (played by Bill Holden), but he barely notices her. By the time she finally manages to successfully get his attention, he’s already engaged to marry someone else. David’s brother, Linus (Humphrey Bogart) steps into distract Sabrina from David and in the process, much to his surprise, finds himself falling for her.
6. The Lady and the Tramp (1955—starring Barbara Luddy and Larry Roberts)
Arguably the most “romantic” animated movie ever made, who can forget the memorable scene where Lady and the Tramp accidentally kiss each other over a plate of spaghetti while being serenaded to “This is the Night”? This film features Walt Disney Studios at its best, and the voice characterizations by Luddy and Roberts are excellent. On a side note, the memorable song, “He’s a Tramp”, is performed by Peggy Lee, easy listening superstar of her era.
7. The Music Man (1962—starring Robert Preston and Shirley McLaine)
Not exactly a traditional love story, The Music Man features Robert Preston as con-artist Professor Harold Hill trying to sell band uniforms to a naïve little Iowa town, under the pretext that he is a bandleader ready to start a boys’ band. Marion the librarian (Shirley McLaine) sees right through him and intends to expose him before discovering, much to her surprise, that she’s fallen in love with him. A young Ron Howard (Opie of The Andy Griffith Show) plays Marion’s brother, Winthrop. The professor, instead of catching the fastest train out of town—his usual tactic to escape a town that has just found it’s been duped—discovers he can’t leave either because he too has fallen in love. The film features some very memorable songs, including “76 Trombones”, “Trouble in River City”, “Goodnight My Someone”, “Gary, Indiana”, and “Till There Was You”—a song that The Beatles would later cover.
8. The Princess Bride (1987—starring Peter Falk and Robin Wright)
The Princess Bride has too many memorable, hilarious lines to begin to recount, and is arguably one of the most quotable movies on the market. Wesley and Princess Buttercup must endure the Fire Swamp, rodents of unusual size, a giant, and a number of wicked rulers, in order to be together and experience “true love”.
9. Forever Young (1992—starring Mel Gibson and Jamie Lee Curtis)
After seeing his beloved Helen (Isabel Glasser) languish away after a car accident, Daniel McCormick (Mel Gibson) decides he can’t sit around and watch her die, so he asks his friend, Harry Finley (George Wendt) to use him to test a new apparatus which freezes people, suspending the aging process. Wanting to be frozen for a year or so, the plan goes wrong, Finley is killed and Daniel is forgotten about and not unfrozen until five decades later. Ironically, he discovers that Helen actually did recover. The film ends with the two finally in each other’s arms, after having to wait 50 years for their reunion.
10. Shadowlands (1993—starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger)
Arguably the best film on this list, Shadowlands tells the true story of the unlikely love and marriage between C.S. Lewis, the 20th century's greatest Christian apologist and author of the beloved Chronicles of Narnia, and a feisty, Jewish New Yorker, Joy Gresham. Lewis, a confirmed bachelor, meets Joy as a pen pal at first, and slowly a friendship begins to blossom. It’s not until Joy is diagnosed with terminal bone cancer that he realizes he truly loves her. The two are married in the hospital and go on to have four years together before the cancer returns and claims Joy’s life. Shadowlands, directed by Richard Attenborough, is a profoundly moving picture of love and loss and Hopkins’ acting here is the best of his career.