Happy Valentine's Day everyone! It should come as no surprise that the DeMarco Films team has been thinking about some of our favorite romantic films this time of year. It's amazing to see how they have changed throughout time.
Gone With the Wind (1939) is arguably one of the most beloved romantic films. Though it's not a film you can watch quick before going to bed (only 2 minutes shy of 4 hours), it is still a wonderful film. The classic tale of Scarlett, a strong-headed woman who goes after a promised man, is a bit risque for its time. Set during the Civil War, it was considered scandalous for a woman to be so forward. We love that it strays from the typical roles that women played during this time period, and allowed her to be such a strong character.
If you ask a group of people to name THE romantic film that defines the genre, half of those people would say Casablanca (1942). Even if you're one of the few to have never seen it, you probably know some of the lines. "You'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life." "We'll always have Paris." "Here's looking at you kid." Any of these sound familiar? We could probably have an entire blog post dedicated to classic lines from Casablanca. It's such a romantic script that none other than Humphrey Bogart could play the leading man Rick. Few men have been able to live up to the reputation that he had as a romantic lead. Though comically at times, he was notorious for having women throw themselves at him.
Fast forward to the next few decade and you'll find that Audrey Hepburn dominated the romantic film scene. There's something so charming about the roles she played. Films like Roman Holiday (1954), where Hepburn plays a sheltered princess that falls in love with an American news reporter. Or Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) where Hepburn is a quirky New York socialite. On the outside, she seems confident and collected. But deep down, she is vulnerable and afraid. Though her characters are flawed in someway or another, there is something so classically feminine about the women she portrays you can't help but fall in love with her on screen.
Yet another few decades later, you'll find another woman dominating the silver screen. Romantic films took a turn into almost exclusively existing as romantic comedies. And few women in the 1980's and 1990's could find that balance as well as Meg Ryan. When Harry Met Sally... (1989), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), the list goes on and on. Probably one of her most popular films was You've Got Mail (1998). While current technology has dated aspects of it, it's sill relevant in today's culture. More and more people are turning to online dating, and let's face it: You'd be a liar if you claimed you've never once said "You've got mail". Her characters weren't perfect by any measure, but that was what made her so endearing and funny. It was an interesting shift in the structure of romantic films from the past. We went from Hepburn-esque damsels to two people falling in love on line, yet hating each other in real life.
Remember that group of people we asked about the most romantic movie ever? Well the half that didn't answer Casablanca probably answered The Notebook (2004). Everything about this film - their forbidden love, Noah writing her a letter everyday, and the tear-jerking ending oozes romance. Some people hate it for how "overly romantic" it is, but there's nothing wrong with getting wrapped up in such a touching story. Even though certain aspects of it aren't realistic, it's such a sweet movie you can't help but love it. And let's face it: Nichoals Sparks likes to set us up to have unrealistic expectations of our significant others. You don't go into Dear John to educate yourself on how to hold a realistic relationship with someone.
This Valentine's Day, the next big romantic film will be released. Though it is undoubtedly different than films in the past (it is responsible for e-book readers spiking in sales so people could be more discrete), 50 Shades of Grey is, without a doubt, going to be popular. After all, the book sold over 100,000,000 copies and has been translated into 52 different languages. With the recent surge in adaptations, it's interesting to see that this year's Valentine's Day film is an adaptation of a best seller. 50 Shades comes out not too long after the Twilight, The Hobbit, and Hunger Games trilogies. Sure, The Hobbit was only one book, but it was certainly long enough to be three. With three 50 Shades books, it wouldn't surprise us to see all the books up on the screen. And if it follows suit, the last one will be broken up into two films.
Do you think it will be the next big adaptation franchise? Let us know in the comments below, and tell us what your favorite romantic film is!