Thursday, March 26, 2009

Small Films 1: A Little Romance

Half of you don’t know this and the other half probably doesn’t care, but I am a Gemini. Yes folks, I’m twins, but I’m by far the better looking of the two of me.

The reason I mention the twin thing is because I read and review books and I watch and review movies. "Movies?” you ask. Yes, I’ve been having an argument with me and decided to review some small films that I and I love. Nothing against blockbusters, mind you, but who the hell can stand reading another review of Titanic (four thumbs down) or The Matrix (we never did figure out what it’s about)?

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A Little Romance (1979)

Stars: Diane Lane, Thelonius Bernard, Sir Laurence Olivier

Director: George Roy Hill

Genre: Romance/Comedy

Awards: Oscar, Best Music Score

This is a delightful movie about falling in love—or I should say puppy love since Diane Lane was thirteen when she made this, her film debut. And what better place to fall in any kind of love than in Venice, Italy?

Lane plays Lauren, an American student, who by chance meets Daniel (Bernard), a young French boy who is likeable as all get out: part street urchin, daredevil, and non-stop talker. Lauren is bookish and shy, but she cannot resist Daniel’s outgoing zaniness and zest for life. The seeds of love are barely planted before we meet Julius (Olivier), a winsome, elderly gentleman who loves telling stories—most of which are hilariously skewed. He befriends the pair and becomes their guide to Venice, and what a tour it is. One of the best scenes in the movie is of a bicycle race through the narrow, cobbled Venetian calles, accompanied by a driving allegro of (whom else) but Vivaldi.

Sir Laurence was such an outstanding actor that I believed the story of the “Bridge of Sighs.” The fable says that if two lovers steal a kiss directly under the bridge at sunset and with the chapel bells ringing, their love can never be broken. Not long after, Lauren finds that she will be moving back to the U.S., and a plot is hatched among the three to make the fable come true. To give fair warning, this is about the time to find your hankie and keep it handy.

What makes this movie so appealing is not only the superb acting, Hill’s (Butch Cassidy) directing, and Venice itself, but also the year it was made. In 1979, innocence was still innocence. This film contains no profanity or drug use, Julius is not a pedophile, and Lauren dresses like a Lady instead of a Disney Tramp.

It is, without reservation, a family movie.


Mel said...

Okay, now I will have to go find and watch it. Charlie, you are bad for my free time. :)

Mary Witzl said...

You're bad for my free time too (what there is of it). I will absolutely keep my eye out for this -- maybe I'll even get my teenagers to go for it. How come I've never heard of this movie, anyway?

Jane said...

Charlie, from Soft Spots to A Little Romance... you make things sound good! I just saw a little TV guide channel bio of Lane-y and this must have been the debut they were talking about. I had my doubts about how entertaining she could be as a kid, but I think I'll give it a try. Anyway, ditto to the above.

Charlie said...

MEL & MARY: Please excuse me for being bad—you both break my heart **snort**

The reason you haven't heard about this movie is it's one that flew under the radar, got lost in the shuffle, or shown in limited release.

But don't worry—I have about eight more to post here and there.

JANE: I was just over at your place, but you weren't there because you were over here.

While the other ladies think I'm bad, I'm actually good; thank you for pointing that out.

And yes, this is the movie TV guide was talking about.

Anonymous said...

Glad to find you branching out into movies. And already you've given me one to look for.

Charlie said...

LW3: Well I'll be hornswoggled, whatever the hell that is. I didn't know that you dabble in bloggery, but no matter: I'm happy that you stopped by.

And yes, now you not only have to look for books, but movies too. This one is worth the search.