So, Valentine’s Day is a little over a week away, and you are looking for some movies to watch together. You can always go with the standard romantic comedies, Titanic, Casablanca, or even Love Story. Today I would like to make some suggestions to widen your choices.
Far and away, my first choice is “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison” (1957), starring Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum. A marine and a nun are stranded together on a Japanese occupied island during WWII. They try to stay alive, and cannot help the intense attraction that develops between them. Will Sister Angela give up her vows for the man she loves? Watch and see.
Deborah Kerr was nominated for an Academy Award for this film.
Another excellent choice is “The African Queen” (1951) starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. Trapped in German East Africa during WWI, these two unlikely heroes develop the idea to travel hundreds of miles down river to destroy a German gunboat to help the invading British forces. The journey tests their nerves, their bodies, and their budding romance. Will they save the day, or will they die on the river?
An older but endearing choice is “Algiers” (1938), starring Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr. Pepe Le Moko is a master criminal, and king of the immense Casbah which he will not leave and where the police cannot capture him. But perhaps love of the beautiful Gaby can force him from hiding? By the way, this is the character Pepe La Pew was based on, and where the expression “Come with me to the casbah” comes from. The film has a very powerful ending.
There is also “Dr. Zhivago” (1965), starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. A truly epic film over three hours long, it tells the story of General Zhivago who is in search of his long lost niece. He tells the girl about the love of her parents Yuri and Lara, as told against the backdrop of WWI and the Russian Civil War.
How about “The Terminator” (1984) starring Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, and of course Arnold Schwarzenegger. Don’ think Terminator is a love story? Watch it again. Kyle Reese travels back through time to protect Sarah Connor from a disguised machine because her son will save the human race. Kyle sacrifices his potential future and risks his life fully believing that one day she will have a child with another man. And why does he do it? Because he has fallen in love with her; only from a photo and the stories that her son told him. You cannot find a deeper love than that.
One last one in the scifi genre. “Demon With A Glass Hand” is a 1964 episode of the Outer Limits. It stars Robert Culp and Arlene Martel. A man on the run has no memory before the last ten days. He is pursued by aliens trying to kill him. His only companion is an advanced computer made of clear material where his left hand should be. The fingers are data storage units, and three are missing. Inside a rundown office building, he discovers Consuelo, a woman who works there. Together they must survive, find the missing fingers, stop the aliens, and discover Trent’s past. What will they finally discover? This is the same building that the later Harrison Ford movie, “Bladerunner” was filmed in. Although it is a low budget half hour tv show, the ending is as strong as any romantic blockbuster.
All of these movies portray men and women from different backgrounds, who find love in the worst of situations. They are well worth the viewing.
Happy Valentine’s Day!