Spring, Sequels & Romantic Chemistry Class (for Movie Peeps)

Lauren Bacall 1945

Lauren Bacall

You don’t have to say anything, and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow.

From To Have and Have Not, 1944, Warner Brothers

Snow, Ice, Rain, Go Away…

… come again another day.

Waterlogged

I rarely try to speak for the entire northeastern United States, but I doubt I’ll receive many letters of protest when I say that we’re pretty much up to our patooties with the precipitation—both the snow kind and the rain. We could use a tad more sunshine. Whatta ya say, Spring?

Sequel to It Had to Be You… Toot Tootsie Goodbye

TootTootsieGoodbyeTitle_2

Copyright protected design by fiona jayde media

If there’s one thing lousy weather is good for, it’s editing.

Book two in my 1920s romantic mystery series, Toot Tootsie Goodbye, has been drafted, bled over, trimmed, polished, critiqued, edited, beta-read, tweaked,  sneered at (by me), cried over (by me), cheered on, cursed at (by me), and apologized to (me)—not necessarily in that order.

It’s currently being combed and brushed out. (Copy edited.)

Yeah, I know. It should be this difficult to make a baby, yes?

TOOT TOOTSIE GOODBYE…
January, 1925
Homicide detective Sean Costigan and tabloid reporter Trixie Frank are on the road to romance but at cross-purposes at work when they investigate the New Year’s Eve murder of “Poor Little Rich Girl” Abigail Welles after she comes into control of a family fortune.

Cover art design will be by Fiona Jayde. Learn more About Fiona here.

More updates to come. :)

  CLASSIC MOVIERomantic Chemistry (for Classic Movie Peeps)

I sucked at science. Especially chemistry, but there’s one kind of chemistry I never tire of studying—the kind that ignites when two characters meet—on screen or on paper. It can be the platonic kind of chemistry (Thelma and Louise, Butch and Sundance) or the diabolical kind (Sherlock and Moriarty, Kirk and Khan), but today I’m thinking about the romantic kind. We know it when we see it…

Battle of the Sexes
Katharine Hepburn ♥  Spencer Tracy
Rosalind Russell ♥ Cary Grant.

 Burn Up the Screen
Lauren Bacall. ♥ Humphrey Bogart

 Sexy and Fun
Myrna Loy ♥ William Powell
Claudette Colbert ♥ Clark Gable
Julia Roberts .♥ Richard Gere

Sweet and Funny
Meg Ryan ♥ Tom Hanks

Break Every Dish in the House Before We Make Up (Again)
Vivian Leigh, ♥ Clark Gable
Elizabeth Taylor ♥ Richard Burton

Who are your favorite couples when it comes to spontaneous combustion?  Chemistry homework: Sample these March and April TCM picks. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 22

"GIlda... are you decent?"

“GIlda… are you decent?”

8:00 a.m. Gilda (1946) Film Noir TCM.  An American gambler is stunned when his ruthless boss returns from a business trip married to  a seductive woman from his past.  Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford.

 Why? Hot, hot, hot! And all without removing one stitch of clothing. (Well, maybe one stitch.) Hayworth proves herself more than a pin-up girl with a terrific emotionally-charged performance and a vocal rendition of “Blame it on Mame” that knocks the socks off.

It’s a performance that’s incomplete, though, without Ford’s perfect counterpoint as her angry former lover.Watch these two play with fire in an uber-dangerous love-hate triangle. (“I hate you so much, I would destroy myself to take you down with me. Now I’ve warned you. Now that’s all fair and even…”) Will both get burned?

Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

10:00 a.m. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) Drama/Comedy/Romance TCM. An eccentric small town poet must contend with big city opportunists when he inherits an unexpected fortune. Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur. (Director – Frank Capra)

Why? Classic heartwarming  Capra fare. Cooper could do more with his eyes than most actors could do with a five-minute soliloquy. In this precursor to Meet John Doe, he’s cast perfectly as the whimsical but no-guff-taking Longfellow Deeds. Jean Arthur proves a fortuitous replacement for Capra’s first choice to play his love interest, cynical girl reporter Louise “Babe” Bennett. (First choice? Carole Lombard, who turned down the part for My Man Godfrey.)

Tuesday, April 7

Bogart & Bacall in To Have and Have Not

Bogart & Bacall in To Have and Have Not

3:30 a.m. To Have and Have Not (1944) WWII Adventure/  Romance TCM. An American charter boat captain’s determination to mind his own business is sidetracked by a beautiful drifter and a plea for help from the French resistance. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall. (Director – Howard Hawks.)

Why?  Holy burn-up-the-screen romantic chemistry, Batman! Witness the birth of perhaps the most famous screen-to-real life star couple in cinema history. Bacall was only nineteen in this, her film debut, when she caught Bogart’s eye. And it’s  easy to see why.

The story, loosely based on a novel by Ernest Hemingway, bears more than a passing resemblance to Casablanca.  It’s entertaining, but it’s Bacall who coolly and neatly steals this show, from her first sultry shot leaning up against a door–“Anybody got a match?”–to her last saucy little wiggle out the door.

Sunday, April 19

James Stewart and Jean Arthur

James Stewart and Jean Arthur

9:45 a.m.   You Can’t Take it With You (1938)  Romance/Comedy TCM.  Fireworks erupt between families when a girl from a middle-class free-thinking clan falls in love with the son of a wealthy Wall Street banker.  Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore. (Director – Frank Capra.)

Why?  More feel-good Capra fare. Jean Arthur positively shines and Jimmy Stewart melts girlish hearts in this charming comedy. The lovely romantic chemistry between these two rings so true, it’s as if they forgot the camera was there.

Lionel Barrymore (pre-Mr. Potter) is also superb in his role as the benevolent family patriarch and, yes, that’s sixteen-year-old future dancing star Ann Miller playing Jean’s ditzy sister. Seven academy award nominations and two wins—Best Picture and Best Director.

***

And that’s a wrap!
I’ll say toodle-oo with The Lauren Bacall Whistle clip from To Have and Have Not
Or, for music aficianados, how about some “Put the Blame on Mame”?
(Go on. You know you want it.) Have a great week!

***

Times listed are EDST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.

 (Missed something? You may be able catch it for a week or more on demand at Watch TCM)

***

Photo credits:

Lauren Bacall – By Liberty Publications (page 51 Screenland) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gilda – By Trailer distributed by Columbia Pictures (DVD with the film & the trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town – By Columbia Pictures (YouTube screenshot from the film trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

To Have and Have Not – By Liberty Publishing (page 48 Screenland) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Trailer screenshot (You Can’t Take It with You trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

February Doings, Sequels, and Love in the Movies

The_Thin_Man_Publicity_Photo_1936

Myrna Loy, William Powell, and Asta

Nick: Did I ever tell you that you’re the most fascinating woman this side of the Rockies?

Nora: Wait till you see me on the other side.

From After the Thin Man, 1936  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

February Doings

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when we think of February?

Valentine’s Day. Of course!

This is the time of year when the media, bookstores, and retailers reach out to romance writing types to help celebrate that most exhilarating and confounding of all human emotions… love.

a_gift_2 - Copy

Some Valentine’s goodies destined for the gift basket.

As a digital-only author, I don’t do book signings, but I’m looking forward to joining a whole passel of local romance authors at Ashcombe Farm and Greenhouses in Mechanicsburg, PA on Valentine’s Day.

If you’re in the area and you could use some baked sweets, seeds, plants, or a little romance, stop by and buy a signed book, take home a post card, or sign up for a chance to win a gift basket full of donated Valentine goodies from our authors.

Coming in 2015 … the sequel to It Had to Be You

1920s Fiction, 1920s romantic mystery, 1920s mysteryThere’s a reason my posts have been few and far between lately. I’ve been hard at work on the next book in my 1920s romantic mystery series.

No kidding! Trixie Frank and Sean Costigan are set to return in a new romantic mystery–Toot Tootsie Goodbye.

What do you think of the title? I’ll have a blurb soon.

I’ve also been working with a talented new cover artist, so expect something a bit different this time. Stay tuned. :)

 Love in the Movies…

CLASSICMOVIEJUNKIE

TCM ‘s big to-do this month, of course, is its annual 31 Days of Oscar festival of Academy Award nominated movies. The line-up is phenomenal.

My humble self-appointed task was simply to pick a theme–take, love, for example (not just romance, mind you)—and choose some films about love in all its varied shapes, forms and sizes…

Thursday, February 5

 ♥ Desperado Love 

Bonnie and Clyde Trailer

Dunaway and Beatty

2:00 p.m.  Bonnie and Clyde (1967)  Crime/Drama. A 1930s bank-robbing couple’s crime spree cuts a violent swath through the American South. Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard., Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons.

 Why?  Beatty and Dunaway illuminate the screen with more than awesome good looks in this 1967 story based loosely on the crime spree of Depression-era lovers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrows. Nominated for ten Academy Awards, it broke taboos for sex and violence and shot Dunaway to stardom (pun intended).  And yes, it still rates a caution for violence.

Tuesday, February 10

Bantering Witty Sleuth Love 

After The Thin Man

Powell and Loy in After the Thin Man

4:00 p.m. After the Thin Man (1936) Comedy/Mystery TCM. Nick and Nora Charles return home to San Francisco after Christmas in New York only to find yet another mystery to solve. Nora’s cousin has been accused of murder! Myrna Loy, William Powell, James Stewart.

 Why? Loy and Powell return as bantering sleuths Nick and Nora Charles in the second of their wildly popular Thin Man movies. Their inimitable romantic chemistry remains front and center, but the mystery is cranked up several satisfying notches.  (Watch a young Jimmy Stewart ooze early star power.)

 Thursday, February 12 (13)

Family Love 

Father_of_the_bride_1950_promo (1)

Taylor and Tracy in Father of the Bride

3:30 a.m. Father of the Bride  (1950) Comedy. TCM  A family man is overwhelmed by the upheaval of planning his beloved daughter’s wedding. Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor.

Why?  Tracy is perfectly cast as the crusty-on-the-outside, squishy-on-the-inside father of the bride, and a teen-aged Elizabeth Taylor charms as his effervescent daughter. A light family comedy with some misty-eyed moments to warm the heart.

Friday,  February 13 (14)

Three’s a Crowd Love 

Taylor-Clift-A_Place_in_the_Sun

Taylor and Clift

 2:15 a.m. A Place in the Sun (1952) Drama. TCM. A poor young man faces hard choices when the world of wealth and privilege beckons to him in the form of a beautiful young socialite. Mongomery Clift, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Taylor.

Why? Spot-on performances by all three players in this riveting 1950s love triangle. Nineteen-year-old Liz Taylor scores her first time out in a serious, grown-up role, and Shelley Winters sheds her blonde bombshell image to the tune of an Oscar nomination. But it’s Montgomery Clift who owns this tragic tale of one man’s path to hell paved with good intentions.

 Saturday, February 14

 Bantering Legal Beagle Love 

Adam's Rib

Tracy and Hepburn in Adam’s Rib

6:00 p.m.   Adam’s Rib (1949)  Comedy, Drama, Romance. TCM.  Sparks fly on the home front when husband-and-wife lawyers represent opposite sides in a women’s rights case.  Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday.

Why?  Tracy and Hepburn are  synonymous with smart romantic comedy,  and this entertaining film with its battle-of-the-sexes story line  is no exception. Hepburn’s heartfelt courtroom arguments for women’s equality may seem quaint today, but they’re a telling product of their time. How far have we come since then? And how far have we yet to go?

***

And that’s a wrap!
I’ll say toodle-oo with a movie trailer–After the Thin Man–Find it HERE. Have a great week!

***

Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.

 (Missed something? You may be able catch it for a week or more on demand at Watch TCM)

***

Photo credits:

Publicity Photo for The Thin Man – Author Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It Had to Be You Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® – Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Bonnie and Clyde – Trailer – [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 After the Thin Man – By Trailer screenshot  (After the Thin Man trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Father of the Bride – By Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (work for hire) ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A Place in the Sun – Production Still from feature film by Paramount Pictures [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Adam’s Rib – By Trailer created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ring in the New Year with Laughs

CLASSICMOVIEJUNKIEJohnny Hooker: He’s not as tough as he thinks.
Henry Gondorff: Neither are we.

From The Sting, 1973, Universal Pictures

A Look Back at the Future

Happy 2015.

Wow. Look at that number.  No, really. Look at it.

Is it just me, or does anyone else remember when the year “2015” would have looked like something out of a science fiction novel? I’m not sure it doesn’t still look a little like that to me. Then again, I’m no spring chicken. Maybe this has to do with age and perspective.

For example, once there was a novel titled 1984 by a fella named Orwell. I’m sure that title looked more than a little futuristic when it was published in 1949. (And, no, I wasn’t around back then.)

And ever hear of a movie called 2001: A Space Odyssey? By 1969, the prospect of a looming new millennium would have fired our imaginations and triggered predictions of a just-out-of-reach future that would look like something out of The Jetsons. (Speaking of which, I’m still waiting for those cool Jetson flying cars to make an appearance. George, Jane and Astro were living in 2062, so there’s still time.)

Then came Y2K.

Back then, I swear, “2000” sounded futuristic right up to the very day the millennium turned.

What do you think? Have we become jaded? What year can possibly look awesomely futuristic to us now? 2025? How about 2100? 3000? :)

Writing Comedy in Dialogue

Every writer has their strengths and weaknesses—the elements we love to write and the elements with which we perpetually struggle.

Me? I love writing amusing dialogue. I get so jazzed when my characters spout a smile-worthy line, I can coast on it for days.

So, what makes dialogue fun?

Timing, flow, conflict. I used to think it took a witty writer to write witty dialogue, but that’s not necessarily so. Dialogue that not only entertains and delights but propels a scene forward can spring up naturally when we put two strong-willed, colorful characters in a challenging new situation together.

No one teaches this lesson better than one of the most talented comedy playwrights of our time, Neil Simon.

We could do worse than to study Simon’s sublime comedic timing in the dialogue of opposites in The Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park or the raw emotional vulnerability that underlies the deceptively light banter in The Goodbye Girl.

Lucky for those of us who appreciate fine comedic dialogue, there are some splendid movies to recommend this month on TCM, including three Neil Simon classics and the oh-so-clever Redford-Newman tour de forceThe Sting.

Laugh. Learn. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 6
(
Missed it? Catch it for a week or more on demand at Watch TCM)

8:00 pm The Sting (1973) Drama/Comedy TCM. Two confidence men concoct an elaborate con game to avenge the death of their friend at the hands of a ruthless gangster. Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, Eileen Brennan.

Why? Newman and Redford. That’s enough, right? Oh, but there’s more. This outstanding Depression-era period film won seven Oscars, including Best Picture in 1973, and—if that ain’t enough– it’s in my personal top ten all-around favorite films. Smart, funny, suspenseful, and one of the best movie endings EVER.

Friday, January 9
(
Missed it? Catch it for a week or more on demand at Watch TCM)

Peter_Falk_-_19739:45 pm The Cheap Detective (1978) Comedy/Spoof TCM. A private eye becomes involved with more sultry femme fatales than he can shake a fedora at while trying to solve his partner’s murder. Peter Falk, Louise Fletcher, Marsha Mason, Madeline Kahn, James Coco, Ann-Margaret, Dom DeLuise, Sid Caesar, Eileen Brennan.

Why? Love Casablanca? The Maltese Falcon? To Have and Have Not? You’ll love this top-drawer send-up. (“You know how to dial, don’t you? You put your finger in the little round hole and …”)

Falk spoofs Bogart to perfection (“That’s just how it is, angel…”) and Marsha Mason is hysterical as his murdered partner’s faithless widow. In fact, you’ll find no weak links in this all-star ensemble cast. Guaranteed to tickle your funny bone.

Check out the trailer here: Peter Falk and Madeline Kahn in The Cheap Detective (1 min. 24 sec.)

Tuesday,  January 13

Rpbert Redford

Robert Redford in Barefoot in the Park

10:00 pm Barefoot in the Park (1967) Romance/ Comedy. TCM. Mismatched newlyweds adjust to married life amid odd-ball neighbors and broken plumbing in a tiny walk-up Greenwich Village apartment. Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Mildred Natwick.

Why? Could there have been a better looking pair of young actors than Fonda and Redford to cast in this 1967 film adaptation of Simon’s hit Broadway play? Nope. And that’s just the icing.

Shining, sweet dialogue, fun 60s New York City setting, and just-this-side of understated sexy romantic chemistry between future mega-stars Redford and Fonda make this film an enjoyable watch even today.

Friday, January 16

8:00 pm The Goodbye Girl (1977) Comedy/ Romance TCM. A Broadway dancer/single mom is chagrined to learn that her ex-fiancé hasn’t only jilted her, he’s sublet their apartment to an out of town actor. Marsha Mason, Richard Dreyfus.

Why? You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh again. Dreyfus (Best Actor), Marsha Mason, and Quinn Cummings soar in this funny, heartwarming, delightful Neil Simon gem. Nominated for Best Picture.

Have a great week!

Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.

Photo credits:

Publicity Photo – Peter Falk – By TV studio (ebay) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 Redford – By Trailer screenshot (Trailer Screenshot) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Winter Solstice and My Christmas Gotta-Have

James Stewart and Donna Reed 1946

James Stewart and Donna Reed 1946

“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.”

From It’s a Wonderful Life, Liberty Films, 1946

Winter Solstice

A_Winter_SunsetAs I post this, we’re encroaching upon the shortest day of the year. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you’re liable to miss the daylight hours if you blink. So, pay close attention. There’s something just a wee bit magical about the Winter Solstice…

Christmas Procrastination Activity Update

For those following, I’m here to report that my Christmas Procrastination Activities are progressing on schedule. There was one day when it was touch and go when I did some successful online shopping, but, overall, I still have plenty to buy and haven’t yet wrapped a thing.

So, yes. I’ll be wandering the malls on Christmas Eve and wrapping and bagging until midnight. I’ll fall into bed delirious and with a gift tag stuck to my butt, scotch tape tangled in my hair, and still muttering groggily, “Where are the scissors? Where are the damn scissors?”)

How’s your holiday prep going? :)

Reruns…

If there’s ever a time of year when we can be nostalgic, it’s the winter holidays, so forgive me for indulging in a flashback post from 2013 – one of my favorites…

My Christmas Gotta-Have

its_a_wonderful_life_002Confession: As I write this, I’m still basking in the afterglow of… yes, fair warning—if you’re not the sentimental type, get out now because I’m about to say—It’s a Wonderful Life.

Christmas isn’t like it used to be back when my kids were young and I indulged in traditions like baking cookies, writing out Christmas cards, and prowling toy stores in search of that year’s “gotta-have” gift.

I remember the year Furbies came out. Never mind the kids, I wanted one–no, make that two (so they could talk Furbish to each other). U-nye-loo-lay-doo? [Do you want to play?] Now those furry, sorta creepy little robots are back, which proves that, if you live long enough, you get to see just about everything twice.

Those days of baking cookies and reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” to eager little ears are gone for now. The day job’s responsibilities weigh heavy, more gift cards than gotta-haves fill our stockings, and the kids have grown up and moved out. The only pitter-patter of little feet I’m likely to hear on this Christmas morning are four each of the canine and feline variety.

And that’s okay. It’s how it should be. But not everything has to change.

I first stumbled on It’s a Wonderful Life as a kid by flipping through TV channels on a snowy Sunday afternoon. Back then, that’s the way you discovered the old black and white movies—on cable channels on weekends or late at night.It’s a Wonderful  Life was my first introduction to Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, and I loved it. Loved them. Shed a tear. And then I forgot it.

Until I stumbled over it again. Loved it. Sniffled. Forgot it.

Dancing_near_the_crackAnd so on–from year to year–as I grew up, went to college, moved out, got married … except I stopped simply stumbling over it and started keeping an eye out for it. At some point, it became apparent that I wasn’t the only one who’d developed a fierce affection for this magical Frank Capra holiday film.

So now, all these years later, I’m determined to stand firm for this one thing that will not change. It’s a Wonderful Life is my Christmas Gotta-Have.

It doesn’t care what house I live in or what I weigh. It doesn’t matter if I’m having a good year or a bad year. It doesn’t grow up, grow old, or move away. George and Mary never look over their shoulders in time to save themselves from dancing off the edge into that pool; Zuzu’s petals always reappear; and Clarence earns his wings.

Most of all, it’s this film’s message about the nature of true wealth—whether it’s 1946 or 2013—that remains the same. So, no matter how old this girl gets, this one Christmas Gotta-Have will not change.

What’s your holiday Gotta-Have?

***
Don’t have It’s a Wonderful Life on DVD?
Catch it free on NBC – Christmas Eve 2014 at 8 pm Eastern Time

Blessings of the holiday season to you and yours.
***

Photo Credits:

Winter Sunset – By SloMo2639 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a Wonderful Life – By National Telefilm Associates (Screenshots of the movie) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Warm Up Your December… with Classic TCM Comedy & Romance

Romantic Comedy

Comedy & Romance

Alison: I knew I should have taken the bus.
Gib:  What? And wind up sitting next to some sleazebag?
Alison:  [Gives the “look”.]
Gib: Some sleazebag you don’t know?

From The Sure Thing, 1985, Embassy Pictures

Bizzy, bizzy, bizzy.

Well, it’s official. I can no longer live in denial.

Summer’s over.

Week before last, I had to shovel snow away to clear a muddy brown dead grass spot so my dog could do her business. And then a bunch of relatives showed up at our door expecting to eat turkey. Two days later, I caught hubby lurking outside with a ladder, hanging twinkle lights. Then, the final straw. I finally broke down and put up our Christmas tree.

So, now it’s clear I’ve got to get busy with my Christmas shopping procrastination activities, which involve cleaning out my refrigerator, editing, drinking wine, reading, brushing the cat,  internet surfing, painting my toenails, tweeting, and organizing my sock drawer.

As you can see, I’ll be under a lot of time pressure, so try not to call me unless it’s important. (For example, if you need a buy link to my latest romantic mystery, It Had to Be You, or if you need a mailing address to send me a gift card for a spa day.)

So, are you the enthusiastic, organized holiday type? Or are you a holiday procrastinator like me? Do tell!

Romance in December… “Is he funny? Does he make you laugh?”*

If you’re a holiday procrastinator or if you just happen to love romance, take it from me. There’s no better holiday procrastination activity than soaking up some TCM classics while rearranging your living room furniture. Why not warm up your December with these romantic gems?

Monday, December 8

Deborah_Kerr_in_An_Affair_to_Remember_trailer

Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember

8:00 pm  An Affair to Remember (1957)  Romance TCM.  A whirlwind shipboard romance inspires a couple to break their practical, real-world marriage engagements and promise to meet again six months later. Will their love prove strong enough to survive? Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr.

Why? It’s the lovely, elegant, underplayed chemistry between Grant and Kerr that has propelled this film to number 5 on AFI’s list of the top 100 greatest love stories in American cinema.

(And besides, don’t you want to see the movie that inspired Nora Ephron to write Sleepless in Seattle?)

Wednesday, December 10

Sure_thingposter10:00 pm The Sure Thing (1985)  Comedy/Romance  TCM.  A drastically mismatched pair of college freshman find the “real thing” when they’re stuck traveling together on a cross-country road trip to visit their respective paramours for Christmas.  John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Nicolette Sheridan.

Why? This under-rated romantic comedy has been described as an ‘80s version of It Happened One Night. Is it predictable? You bet, but in the best possible way. Straight from the heart.

Cusack and Zuniga are perfectly cast in this smart, funny, warm, charming odd-couple teen romance that surpasses its bawdy sub-genre and then some. This was director Rob Reiner’s romantic comedy masterpiece until he slammed it out of the park with When Harry Met Sally. Five stars and a half.

Thursday December 11
Also showing Sunday, Dec. 14 at 2:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 24 at 4:00 p.m.

Classic Movies

James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan

8:00 pm  The Shop Around the Corner  (1940)  Romance/ Comedy/ Drama. TCM. Sparks fly between a no-nonsense  salesman in a Budapest gift shop and a sharp-tongued new salesgirl while, unbeknownst to them both, the two are falling in anonymous love by mail. Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan.

Why?  This is a story about the faces we put on for the world and the treasures that lie beneath. This understated gem goes from amusing to heartwarming to jaw-droppingly romantic as Stewart is the first to discover his secret love’s true identity.  (Later remade as You’ve Got Mail.)

 Friday, December 19

The Apartment 1960

Shut up and deal…

5:45 pm The Apartment (1960) Comedy/ Drama/ Romance.   A mild-mannered insurance clerk rises through the corporate ranks by letting his bosses use his Upper West Side Manhattan apartment for extra-marital trysts. All fine and good  until he falls for his boss’s quirky mistress, the elevator girl. Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine.

Why?  As may be deduced from the genre description —Comedy/ Drama/ Romance—this film aims high and it hits on all cylinders. It’s funny, cynical, bittersweet, honest, sentimental, and clever. Nominated for ten Academy Awards, it won five, including Best Picture and Best Director (Billy Wilder).

Monday, December 29

128px-Sophia_Loren_-_1959

Sophia Loren

10:15 pm  Houseboat (1958)  Romance/Comedy. TCM  A restless young Italian socialite runs away from her insulated life only to sign on as housekeeper for an American widower with three rebellious children. Cary Grant, Sophia Loren.

Why? This is my second Cary Grant pick this month, but it’s not Grant who shines the most in this forerunner to ‘60s blended family comedies like Yours, Mine and Ours and With Six You Get Eggroll. It’s a gorgeous 23-year-old Sophie Loren in the unlikely role of housekeeper who runs away with this show.

Times listed are EST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.

*Subtitle quote from The Sure Thing, 1985, Embassy Pictures

Photo credits:

Comedy & Romance  Snow Peeps – Delynn Royer

Kerr – By Trailer screenshot  (An Affair to Remember trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A low resolution version of the movie poster for the 1985 film The Sure Thing has been used for the purpose of providing critical commentary on the film and to suggest genre and style.

By Trailer screenshot (The Shop Around the Corner trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Apartment / By Billy Wilder / United Artists / Mirish Corporation (DVD with the film and the trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 Sophia Loren – 1959 – By Paul A. Hesse Studios (eBay) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons