Ah, romance. What defines romance? Well, as an extremely romantic and idealistic teenager romance, for me, meant Cathy and Heathcliffe roaming the moors looking wind blown and terribly intense and declaring that they would love each other unto death and beyond. And I wept buckets when Heathcliffe stormed into the bedroom to see the dying Cathy and then carried her, all draped in a floaty diaphanous nighty, to the window so she could gaze her last on their old stomping ground, the beautiful Hollywood Moors. 😏
Or maybe even the beautiful Garbo as Camille calling “Armand! Armand!” as she lay on her death bed looking absolutely perfect through a dreamy gauze.
Ah yes, it should be perfect, this thing called Romance. Noble looking men and the ladies, even on their death bed and presumably riddled with TB, always looked impeccably made up and coiffured. And God forbid that their should be blood or any other bodily emission. Oh no! Except of course a tiny splotch on a lace hanky as the heroine smiled bravely and the hero held her hand and frowned with concern as she nobly accepted her fate.
Now of course, I prefer my romance with a little more subtlety. The Hollywood romances of the 1930s/40s were about as subtle as a run away lorry and were written and directed to be ‘Three Hanky Jobs’ if not a whole box of Kleenex.
I know some people would not regard that wonderful film, ‘The Remains of The Day’ as classic Romance; oh, but I think it is. It’s subtle and so poignant and heartbreaking.
The love which the house keeper Miss Kenton has for the manservant Mr Stevens (beautifully portrayed by Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins) is apparently not returned by him. We witness the poor woman’s utter despair as she tries to get the buttoned up Stevens to admit what he feels for her, if anything.
But alas, Mr Stevens is dedicated to his job and remains aloof and Miss Kenton marries another man. Years later, they reunite and Mr Stevens apparently realises what he has lost. It is sad and poignant beyond belief in my opinion; and the quiet despair of Miss Kenton must, at some time or another been felt by most of us and we can relate to her. Much more realistic in my opinion than those old Hollywood tear jerkers however great they were to watch and sob at after Sunday lunch. Consequently, I really think that this realism adds to the romance, because we understand how she feels.
So there it is. My idea of romance. Subtle, poignant and with a touch of gritty realism which we can relate to. But,I still love to indulge in the old B&W Hollywood tear jerkers; although these days, the tears I shed as a soppily romantic teen are much more likely to be replaced by sneers and cynicism.
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