Sunday, August 09, 2009

Grant/Hepburn and New Thoughts on Romantic Comedy

It's been all about Classics in our house recently, and not just classics, but Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn (and movies directed by Howard Hawks and George Cukor).

One of the things I've realized in watching these Grant/Hepburn films (Holiday, Bringing up Baby, and The Philidelphia Story) is that these early Romantic Comadies from 1938 & 1940 are a pure delight.

My wife's favorite was The Philidelphia Story and Holiday. I leaned more towards Bring Up Baby, but I think I enjoyed some of that Howard Hawk's slapstick, while she enjoyed the strong female Hepburn in the Cukor films.

All to say though, is that in the midst of all the other films coming out during this exceptional time period, it is these well crafted romantic comedies that rank up there as a favorite's from this film era.

It might seem odd that despite Cary Grant's incredible acting and on-screen persona that he wasn't recognized by the Academy at this time, and even in The Philidelphia Story was overlooked in favor of Jimmy Stewart.

All the same, it certainly makes one wonder what films will be favorites 60 years from now. It's hard for me to think that favorite films in 2070 would be films like 10 Things I Hate About You, 27 Dresses, Made of Honor, Music and Lyrics, Failure to Launch, or Sweet Home Alabama.

Maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps I'm missing out on seeing the genius behind the future's most beloved films? Or maybe the genre's lost that class that it had in the 30s and 40s and instead opted for sexual humor and a lack of attention to style and aesthetics.

If the romantic comedies of today are here to stay, might I recommend we skip movies like 17 Again and Ghost of Girlfriends Past, and find some writing talent and acting talent with chemistry that meets up the standards of Holiday, Bringing Up Baby, and The Philidelphia Story?


Loren Eaton said...

Romance in American cinema has been dead for decades. When characters started giving it up after the first date, all the dramatic tension went away and it transmuted into sex farce instead.

Anonymous said...

Original rom-coms do exist. For instance, (500) Days of Summer and Paper Heart from this year. Or how about Punch-Drunk Love?

Andrew K. said...

It Loren is right above...there won't be classics like that is a lost art really. The Philadelphia Story was my fave.

Jacob said...

i might say The Roman Holiday was good movie, now what about other romantic flicks, maybe like You've got Mail or Wedding Crashers, a slightly different edge on romantic comedy but unique in its approach. Just a thought, I'm not normally right of course

crackers and cheese said...

500 Days of Summer and Away We Go both have convinced me this summer that quality romantic films are still being made, if you're willing to look past the overly advertised, cliche rom-com like Made of Honor and the Ugly Truth that Hollywood continues to push on us.

Also, I don't think you should put 10 Things I Hate About You in the same category as Failure to Launch and Made of Honor. 10 years later, people our age still reference it and it spawned the careers of some good talents. It may not be a Philadelphia Story, but it could be a Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles.