Romancing the Old Classic Movies

I love classic movies, but not just any classics.  Of course, I love westerns, but even more than that, I love a really good old-fashioned romantic comedy.  So much so, that I’ve started a collection of DVD’s of Cary  Grant, Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Clark Cable and James Garner movies to name a few of my favorites.   imageshappened-cover.jpg

One movie I’ve enjoyed over and over again is It Happened One Night  With Claudette Colbert playing a spoiled rich heiress on the run and Clark Cable playing a ambitious journalist out to land the biggest story of his career,you have the makings of a first-class romance.  The thing I love about this movie is that nothing really is as it seems – the heiress is rebelling against her wealthy father and is not really in love with the man she’s running to meet.  Our journalist (Clark Gable) pretends to be a traveling man, and though recognizes the heiress immediately getting on a bus, he  doesn’t let on and follows her in search of  groundbreaking headlines. He wants an inside exclusive.   Needless to say, Peter Warne’s disdain for Ellie Andrews changes during the course of their journey and we see such amazing character development between the two and even they refuse to recognize it for what it is, until almost too late. 

The dynamics of this romance set the standards for all the romances to come.  It was so cleverly written that to this day, I recall some scenes and still laugh out loud.  Each time I watch the movie, I find something new, something I imageshitchhiking1.jpgdidn’t pick up on from my last viewing and that’s always a treat.   It’s a feel-good, wonderfully plotted story that leaves the viewer wanting to come back for more.To your right is a picture of Peter giving Ellie a lesson in “hitchhiking.”   I’m smiling as I write this because his three attempts have failed much to his chagrin and now Ellie turns the tables and shows him that her method works the best!  

imagesblanket-scene.jpgTo your left is a picture of the classic “blanket” scene.  The two have to spend the night together in a motel, and Peter sets up a clothesline with a blanket separating them for their night’s sleep.  Needless to say, neither gets much sleep that night with thoughts of the other – finally recognizing their love.  Hopeful and broke, Peter gets an idea and in the morning Ellie finds him gone and thinking he’s left her for good, she retreats back to her father and her opulent lifestyle.  You just have to see this black and white movie to learn the outcome.  The ending to this story leaves you with a smile and wanting more.

 It Happened One Night won 5 Academy Awards in 1931 – Best Picture, Best Director (Frank Capra) , Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay.  It’s a feat that hadn’t been repeated until 1975 with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and then 1991 with Silence of the Lambs

Some other of my favorites include Houseboat, Pillow Talk, Send Me No Flowers, Operation Petticoat, The Thrill of it All and Father Goose and That Touch of Mink. imagestht-touch-of-mink.jpgimages-pillow-talk.jpg

Times have surely changed.   Still and all, the last movies I saw weren’t There Will Be Blood or Michael Clayton.  They were 27 Dresses and Fool’s Gold.   I need my romantic fix and even though these were pretty good movies, they don’t compare to the classics.  Do you love old romantic comedies?  Which are your favorites?  I’d really love to hear about it.

In honor of romance lovers favorite holiday, Valentine’s Day, I’ll be giving away one book each to 2 winners today to help celebrate romance.  I’ll post the winners at the end of the day, Pacific standard time.  You may have your choice of my current Desire, The Corporate Raider’s Revenge (Romance Reviews Today’s Perfect 10) for January or March’s Taming The Texan,  garnering Romantic Times Magazine’s K.I.S.S. hero (Knight in Shining Silver) for Clint Hayworth. 

Happy Trails and Happy Reading!

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Charlene Sands is a USA Today Bestselling Author of 35 novels, writing both western and contemporary romance. She's a lover of all things romantic, especially her bold, rugged, heartstopping "real good men" heroes! She's the recepient of the National Readers' Choice Award, the Bookseller's Best Award and the Cataromance Reviwer's Choice Award. When not writing, she spends time with her "hero" husband, enjoying Pacific Beaches and drinking iced mocha cappucinos!

Charlene loves to hear from her readers.
Drop her a line at www.charlenesands.com or write her at PO. Box 4883, West Hills, CA 91308
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57 thoughts on “Romancing the Old Classic Movies”

  1. Oh, I too love It Happened One Night and The Thrill of it All. I think my childhood BFF Tina and I sat through Thrill at least three times at the threater, getting our moms mad as to just where we were. One of my more recent favorites is Notting Hill. I just adore it –the love story (even though the Julia Roberts is quite a B-with-an-itch at times in it)..the music, the ensemble cast of interesting characters. Sigh. Some folks extoll Sleepless in Seattle but I just hated it that the fiance Walter got hurt by it all…

  2. They are classic and really are good old-fashioned romantic stories.I would like to share it with the friends on horsematch.com. Some of them also are interested them.

  3. I love Operation Petticoat! Houseboat with Sophia Loren is another one. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, Penny Serenade, Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor, Yours Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, Ladyhawke with Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Romeo and Juliet with Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. I’ve noticed I don’t have any relatively new movies on my list, the most recent being Ladyhawke. Hmmmm. Head scratcher that is.

  4. Oh Charlene! You hit a soft spot for me. Hubby teases me but then sometimes enjoys my “oldies, but goodies.”

    Here are some of my favorites-
    Pillow Talk, Operation Petticoat, Father Goose, Gigi, Lili, Sabrina, My Favorite Wife, Move Over Darling, If a Man Answers, I’d Rather Be Rich, The Philidelphia Story, The Shop Around the Corner, An Affair to Remember, Bringing Up Baby, Desk Set, Little Women(both Katherine Hepburn and June Allyson versions, though I do like the one with Winona Ryder too), Man’s Favorite Sport, the “Tammy” movies- Deborah Reynolds and Sandra Dee, That Funny Feeling, Gidget, A Summer Place, Susan Slade, Take Her She’s Mine.

    I could probably go on and on though because I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of them! LOL

    Some of my newer favorites would be The Notebook, The Lake House, Just Like Heaven, Music and Lyrics, 50 First Dates.

    I can thank my mom though for my taste in the old classics. She shared her favorites with me and I took them to heart.

  5. OH, How I love those romantic movies..too bad my husband really doesn’t like them!! LOL…atleast that gives me something to do when I have some time to myself (which happens very rarely with 2 kids!)

  6. One of my all time favorite romantic comedys from the ’60s is a remake of my favorite romantic comedy from the ’30s (who knew they did remakes back then?) James Garner and Doris Day in Move Over, Darling. I loved the younger James Garner (hot, hot, hot). The wife (Day) has been shipwrecked on an island for seven years. She is finally rescued and comes home to find her husband has declared her legally dead and is about to remarry. His feelings for her resurface, but the fiancee isn’t giving up without a fight. Oh, and then there’s the guy she was shipwrecked with (Chuck Conners, buff and extremely goodlooking), hubby doesn’t take that information well at all, especially when hubby finds out he called her ‘Eve’ and she called him ‘Adam’-as in the only man and woman on earth. Such a great movie, and I have to admit to liking the ’60s version a ton better than the Cary Grant and Irene Dunne My Favorite Wife version, I just think James Garner and Doris Day were wonderful comedians.

  7. I’d forgotten about that movie, Charlene! I haven’t seen IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT since I was a kid. Need to rent it again. So many great scenes–I love the blanket, and the hitchhiking part. FATHER GOOSE is also high on my list. Thanks for the fun blog.

  8. I love It Happened One Night, too. Another of my favorites with Clark Gable is Teacher’s Pet, where he stars with Doris Day. It’s a much later film than IHON – 1958 I think – and in color. He is a crusty old newspaper writer, and she is a journalism teacher whose father was a newspaperman. Believing journalism can’t be taught, he takes her class incognito. Of course she has some choice comments to make that get him riled, and the farce is quite fun.

    Doris Day summed up Gable’s unique personality this way, “He was as masculine as any man I’ve ever known, and as much a little boy as a grown man could be–it was this combination that had such a devastating effect on women”.

    It amazes me how racy some of these stories are for their time. Often, the male character’s goal is to get the heroine into bed, and DD was especially sought after. Sexual tension is definitely a lively undercurrent throughout the films, especially with the right combination of leading characters.

  9. Oh, I forgot The Ghost and Mrs. Muir! That is one of my all time favorites.

    I just checked AMC’s schedule and Move Over, Darling was on yesterday morning! Darn Darn Darn! If I’d known I would’ve watched it! It’s not on again on AMC for a while. I could only look at this month’s schedule. If you’d like, I’ll keep an eye out for it and let you know when it comes on again.

    It’s one of the few I can get my hubby to watch with me because he likes James Garner! LOL

    Oh and what about the original Father of the Bride and Father’s Little Dividend and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

  10. Good morning! It’s 7 AM here in CA and you all have been busy reminding me of other great movies.

    Cher- You HAVE to see it. I bought a Doris Day 3 movie set in this great case and it had the best of her romantic comedies. DD was so wholesome looking, and her leading men were all so dashing. I think that’s what I liked about the stories most, the contrast between them.

    Tanya – Wasn’t the The Thrill of it All when the pool fills up with soap bubbles? She’s the spokesperson for a soap – with James Garner?
    I know I have that in my collection but I haven’t watched it in awhile.

  11. Oh – I remembered one more movie I love and have to get for the collection. Do any of you remember Man’s Favorite Sport with Paula Prentiss and Rock Hudson? Again, another, nothing is as it seems story. About Fishing, if you can believe that! Very funny story.

  12. Philadelphia Story is one of my all time favorites. The snappy dialogue is a writer’s dream.
    I LOVED the original Father of the Bride. Not technically a romantic comedy, just a comedy, but Spencer Tracy is so funny. The scene where he dreams of the wedding is laugh out loud funny and Elizabeth Taylor as the bride is so beautiful it’s almost painful to look at her.
    The Thrill of it All, the one where Doris Day becomes this spokeswoman for some product and starts neglecting James Garner her OB doctor husband.
    I remember this line from The Thrill of it All where Doris Day somehow ends up helping delivery a baby and Day and Garner’s children find out and one of them says, “Daddy, you said when Mommy helps deliver the baby we get to keep it.”

  13. Bluecat- the oldies are very memorable. I never saw LadyHawke though. But oh, I remember seeing Romeo and Juliet on an English class trip. I still hate the ending but who can argue with Shakespeare right? 🙂

    Elizabeth – Father Goose with an aging Cary Grant was wonderful. Who was that French actress who played opposite him? Leslie Caron?

    Kate L – I’d love to know what horsematch.com is? Please share with your friends.

  14. I already went and looked up Horsematch.com
    I’m seeing a book in this.
    Are there lots of online dating services like this? Targeted to special interests. I spend a lot of time online but I’d never heard of it.
    I mean eharmony, stuff like that, yes, but there is probably lots more.

  15. Mary – Thanks for reminding me of that movie again. I knew she was a spokeperson. And the ending was great. Wasn’t she in the car in traffic when the delivery happens?

    I also LOVED the children (DD’s 2 little girls) in Move Over Darling. When she first arrives home from the island, the kids don’t know she’s their real mom and the scenes are sooo touching.

  16. Hi Taryn – I think James Garner was sooo handsome and made the perfect leading man in those comedies. Luckily, my husband loves watching the old classic romances with me, but I CAN NOT get him to come with me to see the newer ones. But he did see ENCHANTED, which was simply enchanting, and he liked it.

  17. Taryn – I forgot about the Gidget and Tammy movies! Didn’t Sandra Dee play in both of them? I have never seen The Ghost and Mrs. Muir – shame on me. I’m putting that one on my list to watch. Looks like we have a lot of the same favorites on our list.

    Terry- It’s okay that you posted the same movies. I’m finding it fun to see what all of you enjoy.

    Melissa D – I hear you about not having enough time to yourself with 2 kids!

  18. Debbie Reynolds played Tammy first- Tammy and The Bachelor(which had Leslie Neilsen as the bachelor) but Sandra Dee was in Tammy Tell Me True(with John Gavin- so handsome) and Tammy and the Doctor(with Peter Fonda).

    Sandra Dee played the first Gidget, but several other actresses reprised the role in later movies and on television.

    John Gavin was also in a movie called Back Street with Susan Hayward..one of my mom’s favorites…she gave me the middle name Raye because in the movie the woman’s name was Rae, but my mom had forgotten the spelling and added a y. LOL

    The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is wonderful.

  19. Taryn Raye – I love that you were named after a character in your mom’s favorite movie, but you got yourself a piece of individuality – that Y, was meant for you alone!

  20. Is it Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson where he ends up sneaking into his apartment wearing a mink coat?

    All I remember about that movie is that now, knowing Rock Hudson was gay, I am amazed at all the gay jokes. I totally didn’t get them at the time.

    And what was the movie with Hudson/Day where they invented the candy alcohol.
    “I’ve invented just what this country has been needing, a good ten cent drunk.”

    Why do we all go to Doris Day so quickly. That should tell us something about how enduring her movies are.

    A newer movie that is my all time favorite…Sandra Bullock in “While You Were Sleeping.”

    It’s old enough now that it could almost count as an Oldie.

  21. Hi Charlene,
    My daughter and I just saw 27 Dresses and we really enjoyed it. The movies I loved were Grease, Moonstruck, Sweet Home Alabama, The Family Man.

  22. I love Sabrina (both the older and newer versions) and Charade. I only like a few of the newer romantic movies Notting Hill, Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, etc. Even though the older movies’ plots weren’t any more plausible, I think they were better written than today’s plots.

  23. Lynn/Elsandra, I think they used to rely on dialogue instead of action, much more verbal and cerebral, even with the occasional farce – slap sticky like Some Like it Hot…fantasic movie by the way.
    Today even in a romance it’s more fast paced and we get used to it and it’s hard to sit there and really LISTEN to a movie when new ones are so visual.

    I read somewhere that sex is actually a stumbling block to modern romance because it used to be a huge, huge conflict between a hero and heroine was that they wanted each other but of course it was forbidden. Sex was a no no, so that alone made for conflict and tension and humor, too.
    Now, when there are very few taboos, we’ve got to, as authors, find something ELSE to keep them apart. Does that make sense?

    So Katherine Hepburn and Spenser Tracey – or Doris Day and Rock Hudson (etc.) can hiss and snip at each other and obviously want each other but they can never relieve THAT particular tension without committing to marriage.

  24. Maureen,
    I really loved Moonstruck too! That was a very cleverly written movie. And I’ll watch anything with Nicholas Cage. Sweet Home Alabama is also a good romance.

    Lynn/Elsandra
    I think Love Actually is my favorite Christmas romance movie of modern day. I’m wishing they would do another one, same premise, telling 7 different stories. Or was it 9?

  25. Mary – The Doris Day/Hudson film was called Lover Come Back, where they both were advertisers after an account that Rock Hudson made up, literally, about a candy that was a cure-all, but it really was like pure alcohol. This one was not one of my favorites. I think it tried too hard to be funny.

    Remember also, Send Me No Flowers? I have that one too. Rock is a hypocondriac (sp?) who thinks he’s dying and tries to find a suitable man for Doris for after he’s gone. Or course it was a misdiagnosis.

    I don’t recall the mink coat scene.

  26. I love to watch old love stories, but guess what dear hubby doesn’t. Guess who always wins. He does and we have to watch sci fi junk,so I read. I did love The Notebook, and Love Story. Anything with Julia Roberts.

  27. Movies are great, but, and don’t laugh, but I’m a musical fan. Hello Dolly, 7 Brides For 7 Brothers, Phantom of the Opera. You know. I used to watch a lot of the movies that you all have named with my Daddy when I still lived at home, and we still like to watch them when we get together. We play the who’s that game and try and name the actors…LOL A more modern, but one of my FAVORITES is The Mirror Has Two Faces!!! I adore that movie!!!!
    Amy

  28. We haven’t mentioned Debbie Reynolds. I can’t remember the name of one I thought was hilarious. She is pretending to be Swedish or some other nationality and at a New Year’s Eve party just keeps saying, “Oppy New Yeah.”

    Anyone know what that one is?
    Of course a million Tammy movies are to her credit, and Singing in the Rain.

  29. Charlene, I love all the Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies. They were so funny together. It’s been a long while since I saw It Happened One Night but that was excellent. Clark Gable was such a hunk and I think I enjoyed him more in the comedic roles than in the serious.

    One of the newer romantic comedies worth mentioning was The Wedding Planner. That was a hoot! And also The Wedding Crasher. Everyone is listing so many good ones that I’ve enjoyed over the years.

    Hope you have a good day! 🙂

  30. Cher– I can’t remember that one with Debbie Reynolds.??

    Amy – I LOVE musicals too, so it’s not weird or funny. I’m a fan of Grease and I even liked he movie version of Rent. Sound of Music, of course.

    Virginia H – I thought the Notebook was great. There’s that James Garner again!!

  31. Linda,
    I thought I wouldn’t like the Wedding Crashers, but I ended up thinking it was very well done and I like when a movie surprises me. I felt that way with 27 Dresses, better than I thought. I want to see Definitely Maybe soon too!.

  32. I love classic movies, especially the comedies. There is one called “Seven Days Leave” it has lucy ball and shirley tempal(all grown up) and it is so funny. I love the old Abott and Costellos, actually I think I have all of those. I also love musicals, Hello Dolly, Seven Brids for Seven Brothers, Sound of music, West Side story, and the list goes on and on. I miss the old movies, they are so much better than the ones we have today. What I like about it is that the humor is so much cleaner. Most of them my kids can watch, well not the topper movies but most of them are family material. I hate that even kids movies kids can’t watch today. I let my kids watch transformers and Had them asking so many question because they had to say masterbation in the movie. There really was no point to it. I wish we could get back to the point of holsome movies like back then.

  33. I love romantic comedies, both old and new. The only movie I can remember by name now is Roxanne (with Steve Martin). Katherine Hepburn and Spenser Tracey movies-I really like those!

  34. I remember the one where she faked being Swedish but cannot recall the name!

    One of the newer romantic comedies that I adore is Maid in Manhattan (my DD and I just watched it again the other night) I think it had the flavor of the older movies: mistaken identity, no sex, and great dialogue. It made me sit here and sigh when it went off.

    And Mary, I think you hit the nail on the head, sexual tension was the driving force in most of those movies. I think that is why I like historical romances, to both read and write, because they can’t just jump in and ‘go at it’. Blame my old fashioned raising, but I like it when the couples get to know each other before getting to ‘know’ each other.

  35. Rebekah,
    I don’t believe I’ve seen Seven Day Leave. I totally agree about wholesome movies too. It would be nice to see a movie where the parent doesn’t have to explain all of those innuendos.

    Terry,
    Made in Manhattan dealt with some topical issues, like single motherhood, rich vs. poor, social status etc. and I liked it for that, but I didn’t see the chemistry with the hero. Those two just didn’t seem right for each other, but I guess it’s all subjective.

  36. The one with Debbie Reynolds wasn’t Goodbye Charlie was it? Where she was a man who died and came back reincarnated as a woman?

    And there was Bell, Book and Candle too that had James Stewart and Kim Novak.

    Down with Love with Renee Zellweger and Ewan MacGregor was almost a parody of the old classics. I hated it the first time I watched it but it grew on me! LOL

  37. Musical AND Romantic Comedy how about Paint Your Wagon. (I think we’re getting a bit away from ‘classic’ here)
    My, my, my Clint Eastwood was adorable. This is the only musical my husband can endure. And even at that he keeps wishing they’d quit singing. 🙂

  38. There are so many good movies on here and there a few I have not seen I will be looking these up.

    Cheryl is the movie with Debbie Reynolds (Bundle of Joy)?

    Taryn Raye could you put on Cheryl’s blog when yo usee the movie Move Over, Darling I want to see it too. I seen it was on yestrday too.

  39. Sure thing Brenda. I’ll check at the beginning of March on the schedule. It’s usually on quite often on AMC. I can’t believe it was only on once this month, and yet they had repeats of all these other ones.

  40. I am a great fan of classics… thanks for this nice tribute and making me discover ones that I had not seen 🙂

  41. I’m so bummed I missed Move Over Darlin by ONE DAY! ARGH! Yes, please post to me if you happen to notice it in the listings, Taryn.

    Brenda, I think you might have the Debbie Reynolds movie there, because it seems there was a baby. Right?

  42. LadyHawke is one of my top 10 favorites. Anything with Jimmy Stewart! Forever Young with Mel Gibson is also one of my favorites – I cry every time but it has lots of laughs too.

  43. These are all such good movies. I stepped out for lunch with friends earlier and asked them which movie was their favorite. We went over a bunch, but My Favorite Wife and It Happened One Night seemed to take the cake!!

  44. An affair to Remember is my classic romance movie.

    The best ever proposal in a movie was in the prince and me. We he proposes he opens his hand and a butterfly flies out. It is so beautiful that I cry everytime.

    Who didn’t love “Somewhere in Time”

    The saddest would have to be “Return To Me”.

  45. I noticed that you are a fan of classic movies. I’d like to invite you to a social network I started just for classic movie fans. It’s similar to MySpace but is exclusive to classic movie fans. I think you would really enjoy it. Here is the link:

    http://goldenageofhollywood.ning.com/

    Hope to see you there!

    Kevin
    aka Ktrek

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