Over the years I’ve seen dozens of top 10 movie lists, very few of which I agree with. So, here is my list of recommendations for the hopeless romantic: I know most of them are black and white and made long before, even I, was alive but I can’t think of any recent love stories that moved me to shed a single tear whereas all these are guaranteed weepies.
Do I really need to describe the most quoted movie of all time? Rick: I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue; If she can stand it, I can! Play it!; We’ll always have Paris. Inspector Renault: Round up the usual suspects; I’m shocked… shocked to find that gambling is going on in there; I was informed that you were the most beautiful woman ever to visit Casablanca. That was a gross understatement. Ilsa: Nobody plays As Time Goes By like Sam; Kiss me, kiss me as if it were for the last time!; Was that cannon fire or is it my heart pounding?
The strong-willed heroine, Wendy Hiller, knows exactly where she’s going until she meets a charming naval officer, Roger Livesey, while on her way to marry a millionaire on a tiny Scottish island. This film has a magical, mysterious quality, all grey Highland mists and rugged moors.
Laura has been murdered and the young detective in charge of the case for whom women are just dolls and dames falls in love with her exquisite memory. He never expects to meet a girl like her alive until one rainy night a girl walks in.
Lovely young Audrey Hepburn is a princess, handsome Gregory Peck a hardened newspaper man. She wants a day off from being royal and he sees a chance for the biggest scoop of his career. But she is just too adorable, he has to fall in love.
Old maid, Bette Davis, has a nervous breakdown brought on by her bullying mother. On the advice of her psychiatrist she takes a cruise and meets handsome, charming, married Paul Henreid. Most famous line: Oh Jerry, don’t ask for the moon, we have the stars!
The gradual growth of love from friendship. It happens more often than you think. The triumph here is making it romantic, not mundane. New York never looked better and Harry Connick Jr’s music is brilliant.
An almost forgotten French film starring Anouk Aimee and Jean-Louis Trintignant. A young widow meets a handsome widower by chance at their children’s school. They fall in love but can’t let go of their memories. A touching, beautiful film. The DVD seems very expensive but perhaps it’s downloadable or rentable somewhere.
Michael Redgrave escapes from a concentration camp. If he is captured by the SS he will be executed. While on the run he finds the body of a British officer and steals his identity so that he is sent to a POW camp where the conditions are harsh but the prisoners are fed and treated reasonably well. In order to keep up the deception he is forced to write to the dead man’s wife as though he were her husband. She, who was on the verge of leaving him, falls in love all over again with the man she thinks is her husband. The love story is beautiful but it’s also a cracking good POW film.
Sir Percy Blakeney is a fop who cares more for the set of his coat than for his lovely wife. Or so she thinks. But Leslie Howard is so fine an actor that the merest glance from under Sir Percy’s weary lids, reveal to us the passionate love and desire he keeps suppressed so that no one will guess his true identity as the dashing leader of a band of young men snatching French aristocrats from the guillotine. There have been many versions of The Scarlet Pimpernel but no one comes close to Leslie Howard.
This one definitely has to be approached on its own terms as, in our cynical times, the story of a man waiting for a magical child to grow up, then falling in love with her, has unfortunate connotations. But it’s obvious that nothing unsavory is meant or thought of. Joseph Cotten is an artist, down on his luck and starving. One night he meets a beautiful child in Central Park. He makes a sketch of her and later it is bought by an art dealer, his first sale. He goes back in hope of meeting her again so he can do a full portrait. He does meet her again several times but each time she is mysteriously older until at last she is an adult and he falls in love. The only DVD I could find was on the UK site but perhaps it’s downloadable.