Lighten Up Your February with 7 Classic Comedies & Romance


Bill Chandler: I thought that was rather clever of me.
Connie Allenbury: Yes, I thought you thought so.

From Libeled Lady, 1936, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

2017 and Counting…

So far in this brave new year of 2017, the weather has been warmer than normal, and the political climate has been blowing the top off the thermometer.

I took a bus trip to Washington D.C. the other weekend with a bunch of  radical fringe types—you know, teachers, mothers, social workers, nurses—and ran into a huge crowd (by which I mean, an actual crowd of actual people). Several wore pink hats.


“I have decided to stick to love… Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I saw a lot of signs that day. Many were clever, many were funny, many were inspiring, and some were, yes, pissed. My favorite signs, though, were the lawn signs we saw liberally sprinkled throughout the residential neighborhoods along East Capitol Street during our 30 minute walk from our bus at RFK Stadium up Capitol Hill.

Each sign bore a different quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.  We saw one after another after another of these signs.

Maybe there’s hope for us yet.

Lighten up your February…

Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Hot

The days are too short, the nights too long, and the news just keeps pissing everyone off.  Time to lighten up and refill the well.

Here are seven—count’em, seven!—classic comedy and romance picks from TCM’s awesome (“31 Days of Oscar”) February schedule. If these lighthearted gems from yesteryear don’t refresh your winter-weary spirit, I don’t know what will.

Saturday, February 4


Breakfast at Tiffany’s

8:00 pm Eastern  Breakfast at Tiffany’s  (1961) Comedy/Romance.  A free-spirited  party girl and an unemployed writer find love in 1960s Manhattan.  Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard.

Why? Hepburn, of course.  And that Little Black Dress. 🙂

Author  Truman Capote may not have been thrilled when Audrey Hepburn was cast as quirky commitment-phobe Holly Golightly, but today it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in the role.

From the early-1960s Manhattan setting to the Academy-Award winning Henry Mancini soundtrack (“Moon River”), this flawed but fanciful and touching romantic tale of two lost souls who find love in the big city is well worth a watch.

Friday, February 10

8:15 am Eastern The Goodbye Girl (1977) Comedy/ Romance.   An oft-jilted Broadway dancer is chagrined to learn that her latest fiancé hasn’t just left her broken-hearted, he’s sublet their apartment to an out of town actor. Marsha Mason, Richard Dreyfus.

Why?  How many times can the human heart be broken and put back together again? 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.

Tuesday, February 14th


Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve

8:00 pm Eastern The Lady Eve (1941)  Screwball Romantic Comedy. A beautiful cardsharp sets out to con the shy young heir to a beer fortune only to fall for him instead. Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda.

 Why?  Sexy, funny, sweet. Stanwyck is at her sassy best as jaded con girl Jean Harrington out to seduce and bilk the soft-spoken naive heir to a beer fortune.  If you like some heart with your screwball romantic comedy, don’t miss this.

Tuesday, February 14

9:45  pm Eastern  Libeled Lady (1936)  Screwball Comedy/Romance.  A wily newspaper editor hires a glib ladies’ man to woo an heiress who has sued his paper for libel. William Powell, Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, Spencer Tracy.

libeled-lady-poster_-_libeled_lady_01Why?  Four mega-stars of the 1930s knock it out of the park in this entertaining screwball comedy with a dash of romance.

Powell and Loy made 14 films together, six of which were part of the super popular Thin Man series. Libeled Lady is the fourth of their non-Thin Man pairings and it ranks with their best.

Jean Harlow’s stellar comedic skills are on display as Spencer Tracy’s cheeky, long-suffering fiancée. She even steals a scene or two from (then-boyfriend) Powell. Tragically, Harlow would appear in only two more feature films before her untimely death in 1937.

Libeled Lady was nominated for Best Picture. It lost to another Powell-Loy film, The Great Ziegfeld.

Monday, February 20

Peter Sellers

Peter Sellers

4:00 pm Eastern  The Pink Panther (1963)  Comedy/Caper. A bumbling police inspector travels to a posh Switzerland ski resort to catch an international jewel thief. Peter Sellers, David Niven.

Why? Sign up for some silly. Watch this first Pink Panther movie with the knowledge that it was originally conceived as a comedic jewel heist caper film for David Niven, not Peter Sellers. Sellers wasn’t even the first pick for the supporting role of Inspector Clouseau, but he got the part., and—ten sequels and spin-offs later—the rest is history. Comedy gold.

Wednesday, February 22

Audrey Hepburn_Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday (1953)

8:00 pm  Eastern  Roman Holiday (1953)  Romantic Comedy. A runaway European princess falls in love with an American reporter who is being paid to write an exposé on her.  Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert.

Why?  Ask a group of twenty women over thirty to name their favorite classic movie, and there’s a good chance more than one will choose Roman Holiday. This delightful 5-star romantic romp through the Eternal City launched Audrey Hepburn’s film career and won her not only an Oscar for Best Actress but a special place in movie-goers hearts that lives on today.

Friday, February 24

Marilyn Monroe - Some Like It Hot

Marilyn Monroe – Some Like It Hot

8:00 pm Some Like it Hot (1959)  Screwball Comedy. Two womanizing musicians hide from the mob by masquerading as women to join an all-girls band. Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis.

Why?  Take three A-list stars, sprinkle in a passel of exemplary support players, and add a few walk-ons that shine. What do you get? One of the best cast comedies ever.

From her iconic comic entrance to the finish, Monroe plays big-hearted, maybe-not-so-dumb-blond singer Sugar Kane to perfection. Jack Lemmon’s physical comedy has never been better—the scene with the maracas is classic—and Tony Curtis out-does his pretty self with a spot-on impersonation of Cary Grant in his attempts to woo sweet Sugar.

Some Like it Hot garnered six Academy Award nominations and is ranked #1 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Funniest Movies of all Time.”  A pièce de résistance not to be missed.

And that’s a wrap! How did I do?
What are your favorite go-to movies when your spirits need a lift?

Have a great February!


Photo Credits:

Some Like It Hot  – Screen capture from a public domain film trailer  (Some Like It Hot trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimeia Commons

Washington DC Lawn Sign – Delynn Royer

Breakfast at Tiffany’s –  By Trailer screenshot (Breakfast at Tiffany’s trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Barbara Stanwyck – By Trailer screenshot (The Lady Eve trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Libeled Lady Poster  – By Employee(s) of MGM [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Roman Holiday – By Trailer screenshot  (Roman Holiday trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Peter Sellers – By Chicago Sun Times / United Artists studios (Historical Images on eBay) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Marilyn Monroe  – Cropped screen capture from a public domain film trailer  (Some Like It Hot trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cicada Love Songs, Summer Jaunts and Classic Movie Junkie

Meet John Doe“…for every John Doe movement these men kill, a new one will be born. That’s why those bells are ringing, John. They’re calling to us, not to give up but to keep on fighting…”

From Meet John Doe, 1941, Warner Brothers

Cicada Love Songs …

Creek in summer

This is the creek out back of our house.: “Oh, little cicada, little cicada… I wonder where you are…”

I heard a cicada the other day.  I looked at the calendar. Yep. August.  The romance writer in me wondered if that  little fella was one of the first lotharios to eagerly scramble up from his subterranean abode–dressed all snappy and with his hair slicked back–ready to snag himself the best-lookin’ dang date in the neighborhood with his new mating song.

On the other hand, it’s also possible that–just as he was stretching his skinny legs and offering up his first “squee” of the season–he got chomped down by a passing bird or squirrel with a craving for 2014 cicada.

Now, that’s a bitter pill.

So is the end of summer.  It’s coming, folks. Oh, yeah… it’s coming.

Summer Jaunts …

For our anniversary, the hub and I took a weekend trip to Inner Harbor, Baltimore to re-do our second date–a dinner cruise. The weather was perfect, the food was great and we took home a nice photo of the two of us taken just before boarding the Spirit of Baltimore.

Inner Harbor at Night_2014

Inner Harbor at Night

When we got home, I juxtaposed that pic with the one taken 14 years ago. I’m happy to report that we’re still recognizable as the same couple. This indicates either we’ve aged rather well or we may be stuck in a rut. For example, it looks like I’m wearing the same outfit (I’m not–I wish I could still fit in that outfit) and my hair hasn’t changed (it really hasn’t). Hmmm.

Summer travels yet to come include…

  •  A day trip to the coal region of Central Pennsylvania to tour an old coal mine and learn about the life of miners back in the days of the Molly Maguires. (Whoot!)  Um, yeah. See, this is where I do get a little weird. I love this stuff. It’s research for one of my historical romances-in-progress. (Whoot!)
  • It Had To Be You_Carina PressAn overnight stay at the historic New Yorker hotel in my favorite city on the planet. I’ll be strolling the streets of Manhattan where my 1920s romantic mystery series is set.  (It Had to Be You, April 2014, Carina Press). Can’t wait!

What about you? Do you have any summer plans still on the calendar?

Classic Movie Junkie…

Yet another treat to look forward to in August is  TCM’s Summer Under the Stars – a month of amazing classic films. Many titles on tap have already been featured on this blog – The Thin Man, His Girl Friday,  Bringing Up Baby and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid… Check out the TCM schedule.

Here are a few others to watch for.

Tuesday August 5

Cooper and Stanwyck in Meet John Doe

Cooper & Stanwyck – Meet John Doe

5:45 pm   Meet John Doe (1941)  Comedy/Drama/Romance. TCM. A reporter’s fake story for her soon-to-be-defunct column saves her career, turns a homeless man into a national hero for the working class and changes them both into pawns of a powerful politician. Will they sell out? Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck.

Why?  Feeling a little 21st century world weary? Need a revitalizing dose of some off-season Frank Capra-like optimism? There are some who rank the lesser-known Meet John Doe right up with Capra’s crowning achievement, It’s a Wonderful Life. Decide for yourself. (Keep a tissue handy for a fist-pump-worthy final scene Seriously!)

Sunday August 10


Barrymore & Lombard - Twentieth Century

Barrymore & Lombard – Twentieth Century

12:30 pm   Twentieth Century (1934) Screwball Comedy. TCM. An express train run from Chicago to New York sets the stage for an egotistical, down-on-his-luck Broadway director to pull every underhanded trick in the book to woo back the estranged high-strung star he created.  John Barrymore, Carole Lombard.

Why? A love-hate-love story at 85 decibels. The one-liners and zingers in this early screwball classic streak by so fast, you’ll need to watch it a dozen times to catch them all. Barrymore’s over-the-top performance as a megalomaniacal Broadway director elevates melodrama to art and Lombard serves back as good as she gets.


Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard

6:00 pm   Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) Screwball Comedy/Romance. TCM. When a three-year wed couple discovers their marriage isn’t legal, romantic misunderstandings ensue. Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery.

Why? This fun, often-overlooked screwball comedy is worth a look-see. It was Carole Lombard’s second to last film before her tragic death in an airplane accident in 1942.  It was also Alfred Hitchcock’s only foray into romantic comedy. (Done reluctantly at Lombard’s request. Remember his legendary weakness for beautiful blondes?)  Watch for Hitch’s signature cameo.

Friday August 15

10:00 pm   Three Days of the Condor (1975) Mystery/Thriller. TCM.  A mild-mannered CIA researcher finds himself out in the cold and running for his life when he accidentally survives the execution of everyone on his research team.  Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max Von Sydow.

Why?  This smart 70s conspiracy spy thriller was made in the wake of the Watergate scandal and still resonates today.  The opening scenes are riveting, Redford owns the screen (oh, ladies, yes he does), and Max Von Sydow is excellent as the bloodless yet creepily personable assassin Joubert.

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

This month’s Amazon Prime Picks –  Meet John Doe and Three Days of the Condor

Photo credits:

Meet John Doe – By film screenshots (Frank Capra Prod. / Warner Bros.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Twentieth Century – By Columbia Pictures [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lombard – Paramount Studios (Ebay [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mr. and Mrs. Smith – By Trailer screenshot (Mr. & Mrs. Smith trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It Had to Be You – Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.