From a surprise Hitchcock flick to a classic Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant pairing, the queen of romantic comedies picks her top 11 favorites for Valentine’s Day.
The Lady Vanishes
In addition to everything else he did, Hitchcock made great romantic movies. This 1938 thriller is one of my favorites. Starring Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. The obstacle: They hate each other. As she puts it, classically and memorably, "You are the most contemptible man I've ever met." With Dame May Whitty as Miss Froy, the lady who vanishes.
It Happened One Night
As important to the history of romantic comedy as Pride & Prejudice is to life itself. And a fabulous relic of the days when we thought that journalists were romantic heroes (see also Roman Holiday). Starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable, it was made in those long-ago days when women looked like women and men looked like men. The classic scenes: hitchhiking, and the night in the motel with the pajamas and the blanket. Screenplay by Robert Riskin, who happens to have been Fay Wray's first husband. Also, there's a great suitor, an aviator named King Westley, played by Jameson Thomas, in a performance almost as brilliant as Ralph Bellamy's in His Girl Friday.
His Girl Friday
Probably the greatest remake ever: They took The Front Page, straightened out the structure so that Walter Burns exists at the very beginning, and turned Hildy Johnson into a woman. The result is a remake better than the original. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell talk so fast that the speed of their dialogue is a joke in itself. And Ralph Bellamy is heavenly as always. If there's a better movie about journalism, I don't know what it is. Well, maybe The Sweet Smell of Success. But that's not romantic.
The director of Julie & Julia recommends a few of her favorite books.
by Elizabeth Strout
“I loved it so much that when I finished reading it, I started at the beginning and read it over again.”
I was in the middle of reading Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge the day Strout won the Pulitzer Prize, and I almost felt I’d won a prize too. This is a magical, powerful book—13 stories linked by a completely problematic, prickly, complicated woman named Olive Kitteridge. I loved it so much that when I finished reading it, I started at the beginning and read it over again.
Back to Basics
by Ina Garten
“She knows exactly how to write recipes for people who love to cook but who aren’t crazy.”
Legendary screenwriter and director Nora Ephron died Tuesday. See clips from some of her films.
Best known for her screenplays, Ephron, who has died at 71, was also a first-rate journalist and essayist.