Love at the Movies

Hey guys. It may have escaped your attention but it’s Valentine’s Day in less than a week. That’s right. That big commercial whipping post where everyone loses – couples because your bond is infinitely more strange and wonderful than anything Hallmark can dream up, singles because HAHA, YOU’RE SINGLE – is a’comin.

Every year everyone has to decide whether to ignore this heart-shaped behemoth, whether to dive in and play the game or whether to pay ironic tribute by, I don’t know, dressing in black and drinking jaegerbombs until the only blood red things are the veins in your eyes (The London Word  does not condone binge drinking).

Howabout if there was a way to acknowledge the ridiculous, arbitrary, contrived romance of the day without feeling like a hollow-eyed seal balancing something weird on its nose? No, we’re not about to cut to a guy with a sparkling smile selling you life insurance. The point is there is a place where – for a small fee – worlds come alive and great love affairs play out more word perfectly than anyone could dream. Yessir, we’re talkin’ ’bout the movies.

The best going on cupid’s day is A Place in the Sun, playing at the BFI as the jewel in the crown of its Montgomery Clift season. In case you need a refresher course on old-fashioned leading men, in addition to packing one of the best names of them all, Monty C was – like Steve McQueen, James Dean, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe – one of the beautiful but troubled screen icons who died before their time.

A Place in the Sun, (playing twice on Thursday 14 February at 6pm and 8.30pm) is a film noir that’s also a romance and a social cautionary tale. Clift plays George Eastman, poor relative to an industry magnate, drawn from his natural place as factory girl (Shelley Winters)’s beau by effervescent socialite, Angela Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor). As any fool knows, watching two beautiful people being beautiful and heartfelt opposite each other gets the blood pumping round the aorta. There’s nothing an actual human can do to rival what this pair of celluloid stars serve up so get thee to the BFI and be glad about it.

If you’d prefer to see Monty mingling with Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and – uh – Pearl Harbour then Fred Zinneman’s From Here to Eternity (6.10pm at the BFI) is what you want. Fast forwarding to the present and Judd Apatow’s hilarious and surprisingly poignant take on marriage, This is 40, scratches a profound itch while if you want to watch shit explode via Bruce Willis, A Good Day to Die Hard will be arriving at the cinemas on VD.

Baz Luhrman’s Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge are both getting a (cynical) one day-rerelease and for all you classical cats out there, Andrea Bocelli’s Love in Portofino is probably going to be the film to hit that special note. Doubtlessly, we’ve missed some of the screenings happening on one of our most curious celebrations so please do let us know in the comments what else is going on…

Image by classic film scans courtesy of Flickr

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