Sunday, 6 January 2013

Movies About Fate Torn Lovers

Does "Fate Torn" even make sense? I don't know and frankly I don't even care anymore so I'm sorry. I've been trying to come up with a title for this post which didn't include the words "Star" and "Cross'd" for the past fifteen minutes and I give up. I'm a bit of a sucker for gothic romance and destructive relationship dramas (as negative as that might sound). One of my friends expressed slight concern and disdain at my affection for angsty romantic dramas calling them "unhealthy relationships." Personally I blame Emily Bronte but y'know.

Romeo: I would I were thy bird.
Juliet: Sweet so would I, yet I would kill thee with much cherishing.
Come on. I couldn't write this post without referencing the one and true pair of "star cross'd lovers". I have seen things floating around saying that Romeo and Juliet isn't even a love story, that it's just a pair of under-stimulated teenagers who brashly fall in love obsessively without even knowing each other. Yeah, they didn't really know each other, but they felt like they'd known each other forever. And as cheesy as that sounds, that's what Shakespeare intended us to feel. And after playing Juliet I can tell you what an emotionally exhausting experience playing that story was. This was love not for the faint hearted. And there's a reason this is the most loved love story of all time.

The Franco Zeffirelli version is the best in my opinion. I'm not mad about the Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Danes/Baz Luhrmann version, despite the fact it is so aesthetically pleasing. Olivia Hussey embodies the energy and youthful optimism Juliet needs. It's just a well crafted film adaptation.

Heathcliff: I killed you. Haunt me then! Haunt your murder! I know that ghosts have wandered on the earth. Be with me always. Take any form. Drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this abyss where I cannot find you. I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul. 
I find Wuthering Heights a heartbreaking and distressing story, yet so enthralling! The 1939 version starring a young Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff (*__* starry eyed much?) and Merle Oberon as Cathy is one of my all-time favourite films. It's just so full of L-U-S-T from the beginning! And like Romeo and Juliet, it's tragedy deems from stupid mishearings and wrongly interpreted messages. Oberon and Olivier make a fabulous couple. Cathy loves Heathcliff but her desire for social standing and wealth outweigh the burning passion she has for Heathcliff. It's fantastic.

Maxim deWinter: I knew where Rebecca's body was, lying on that cabin floor at the bottom of the sea.
Mrs deWinter: How did you know, Maxim?
Maxim deWinter: Because I... put it there. Can you look into my eyes and tell me that you love me now?
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is inspired greatly by Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. In the film starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine you get a more happy ending than in the book. Throughout the story, Maxim deWinter's marriage to his new wife (known simply as "Mrs deWinter") is haunted by the legacy left by his former wife, the by-all-accounts ravishing Rebecca. In the film *SPOILER* after crazed housekeeper Mrs Danvers burns down their precious mansion, Manderley, we are to assume that the newlyweds live happily ever after. In the book, we know that the story is being told from a second-rate hotel room, and that their marriage has been exhausted by the scandal and emotional strain that Rebecca but on it. It's a story of two people kept apart by Rebecca, a woman who no-longer even exists. It's spooky and broody and I adore it :D

Ilsa Lund: If you knew how much I loved you... How much I still love you.
When I'm talking about Casablanca in this context, the couple I'm talking about is Ilsa and Rick, played by Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. As much as we all appreciate why he's there and purpose he serves, Paul Henried - we're sorry to say that no-one really cares about you. Ilsa and Rick we separated by war after an affair in Paris and then when they meet again, she is married to a war-hero and he's cynical and their romance cannot be rekindled as they wanted it. Of course they are still in love, but due to Ilsa's loyalty to Paul Henried's character Victor Lazlo, she can't leave him for Rick. She finally has to choose between her passionate love affair with Rick and her heroic role as wife to a sensitive and - let's face it - taller political activist. SOPHIE'S CHOICE MUCH? We all know the ultimate scene:
Rick: If you don't get on that plane, Ilsa, you'll regret it (Ilsa tries to interrupt) - maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow but the day after and for the rest of your life.
Ilsa: But what about us?
Rick: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have, we lost it before you came to Casablanca. Now we have it back. Here's looking at you, kid.
Here ensues crazy sobbing and television-screen hitting my end.

King Arthur: I love them and they answer me with pain and torment. Be it sin or not sin, they betray me in their hearts and that's far sin enough. I can feel it in their eyes, I can feel it when they speak, and they must pay for it and be punished. I shall not be wounded and not return it in kind! I'm through with feeble hoping! I demand a man's vengance!
I'm a bit addicted to the Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot. Namely the 1967 film starring Richard Harris as King Arthur, Vanessa Redgrave as Guinevere and Franco Nero as Lancelot. It's terrible because Guinevere loves Arthur loads but then this hot french Knight comes and causes ALL SORTS OF TROUBLE. It's fantastically played by all three actors. Arthur loves Lancelot as a brother and Guinevere is his one true love. What can he do? Eventually, the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere causes the demise of the Knights Of The Round Table, and the near death of Guinevere. I have quite honestly never seen anyone cry as much as Vanessa Redgrave does in the final scene of Camelot. It's an incredible performance.



Sofia said...

great list, Bette! I have a soft spot for doomed lovers as well. The tortured passion, the pain of not being together... it does sound sick, but it's also the most exciting kind of romance.

The Brontë Sisters were the best, but I prefer Charlotte's Jane Eyre to Wuthering Heights. I've had some trouble with reading the latter, but I suspect it was more due to the difficulty of that "old" english rather than the story itself. I must give it another go in my native language.

I haven't seen Camelot yet, but I love love love Casablanca... I simply must see Rebecca at once, sounds perfect!!

silverscreenings said...

I don't usually seek out films about doomed lovers, but I did enjoy your post. You have a really good list here.

Kate Gorman said...

I love the 1968 version of Romeo and Juilet too! I also love Rebecca and Camelot. I also prefer Jane Eyre to Wuthering Heights.

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