I define ' Date Night Movies ' as movies that, regardless of other possibly more significant themes, nevertheless do engage us romantically. Sometimes the romance is fairly innocent. Sometimes it is perverse and fatal.
In no particular order...
It Happened One Night
Shakespeare in Love
To Catch a Thief
Possession ( Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart )
Beauty and the Beast ( Dir. Cocteau, 1946)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon [ Remember, I said this was an idiosyncratic selection ]
Prisoner of Zenda ( Ronald Coleman)
Adventures of Robin Hood ( Dir. Michael Curtiz ; Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland )
To assist those who, like me, will find the universe achingly empty until Spring Training 2011, I submit the following sayings of Baseball Zen Masters.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
You can observe a lot by just watching.
So I’m ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.
The game isn’t over until it’s over.
Bonus Quiz : Buddha, or Don Zimmer, at last year's Annual Buddha-Look-alike Contest ?
And, when BoSoxer Jimmy Piersall approached the plate and did the sign of the cross, " Why doncha let God sit back and watch the game ? "
Bill Lee, aka " Spaceman "
People are too hung up on winning. I can get off on a really good helmet throw.
I think about the cosmic snowball theory. A few million years from now the sun will burn out and lose its gravitational pull. The earth will turn into a giant snowball and be hurled through space. When that happens it won't matter if I get this guy out.
Grand Zen Master Lou
Oil Can Boyd [ Not sure if this is sufficiently Zen, but what the hell...]
When a Red Sox-Indians game was postponed due to fog rolling in from Lake Erie and enveloping Muncipal Stadium, " That's what you get for building a ballpark on the ocean."
Grand Zen Master Lou Gorman
When asked what he would do if the Sox lost ace Roger Clemens, General Manager Lou Gorman supposedly replied, " The sun will rise, the sun will set, and I’ll have lunch. "
THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS provides two good examples where the screenwriter uses tokens--objects-- to introduce backstory and/or foreshadow later events. The objects in question : an old picture, an unopened bottle of liquor, and a delivery of long-stemmed roses.
The "old picture" shows "The Fabulous Baker Boys" at their first gig, holding a bottle of liquor they received and, as minors, left unopened. The pic is found by Suzie Diamond - the singer the boys have brought on to freshen up their tired double-piano act - as she looks over the younger bro's apartment. The pic allows the younger brother to fill in some backstory for Suzie (and us). It also serves as foreshadowing : near the end of the film, we see the same picture AND the bottle at the older bro's home, after they break the act up.
The delivery of long-stemmed roses to Suzie - the hotel desk clerk says they're from an anonymous admirer, "one of the guys at the Cat Food Convention" - economically foreshadows a later plot-point which would otherwise seem to have come out of the blue ( deus ex machina, anybody ?). It also provides dramatic irony : we, the audience, know that someone else is after Suzie, but neither of the "Fabulous Baker Boys" find out this out until it is too late.
Tokens such as this have been used since the dawn of literature. They were used as the mechanism by which a hidden truth was revealed, a disguise penetrated, or an identity confirmed.
THE ODYSSEY features two, namely Odysseus' scar - a souvenir from a near-fatal wild-boar hunt in his youth - and the unique construction of Odysseus' and Penelope's conjugal bed.
In the film FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, the tokens are the identical pocket-watches which Colonel Mortimer and the psychotic bandit El Indio carry, which play the same tune and eerily suggest a connection between the two.
In the film (and stage play) A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, it is a pair of rings showing a gaggle of geese, which, in true ancient Roman-Comedy fashion, are supposed to identify twin children separated by circumstance, one of which literally changes hands, to hilarious effect.
In THE 39 STEPS, it is the tune which the hero Hannay keeps whistling and whose origin he cannot remember. The tune points to the solution of the espionage mystery and elegantly links the beginning and end scenes of the film. This tune also provides dramatic irony, since the audience may well recall where and when Hannay first heard it.
In the film MAN-HUNT (1941), it is the arrow-pin which the hero Thorndike purchases for a girl who has saved him from Nazi agents. The pin's later appearance in the possession of a Nazi agent neatly reveals to Thorndike ( and us ) her sad fate.
What does this all mean ? A carefully-chosen token may serve as graphic, economical device for introducing backstory and/or foreshadowing, and generating emotional impact as well.
Fraser also wrote screenplays, my favorites being those for Alexander Salkind's' The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers in the mid-seventies.
Lavish period pieces with lush scores by Michel Legrand. they were directed by Richard Lester (HELP !) and featured some of the finest actors of their day : Michael York as D'Artagnan, Oliver Reed as Athos, Faye Dunaway as the infamous Milady de Winter, Frank Finlay as Porthos, Richard Chamberlain as Aramis, Charlton Heston as Cardinal Richelieu, and Christopher Lee as the deadly Comte de Rochefort.