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Rom Coms

Nora Ephron’s Favorite Love Stories

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.

Book Beast

Nora Ephron's Must-Reads


Olive Kitteridge By Elizabeth Strout 304 Pages. Random House. $14.00

The director of Julie & Julia recommends a few of her favorite books.

The director of Julie & Julia recommends five of her favorite books.

Julia Child's beloved co-host, Jacques Pepin, and her former assistant, Food Network star Sara Moulton, on Julie & Julia and the woman who changed cooking. Plus more on Hungry Beast.

Olive Kitteridge
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 272 Pages. Clarkson Potter. $35.00

Back to Basics
by Ina Garten

“She knows exactly how to write recipes for people who love to cook but who aren’t crazy.”