Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #3 Mr. Heathcliff and Catherine Linton

"Cathy, why did you do it?"

“Cathy, why did you do it?”

I know when most people think of movie adaptations of Wuthering Heights, the 1970 oddity starring Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff isn’t what most people think of.  And admittedly, there are two more versions of the film I need to see… but while this one is not my favorite adaptation of my favorite novel (why the hell would Wuthering Heights focus on Hindley instead of Heathcliff), it does have the best moment between the two lovers.

The moment I speak of comes on Cathy’s deathbed.  Edgar Linton is at church, and Heathcliff has sneaked into the house.  Nelly, against her better judgement, lets him into Cathy’s boudoir, and the two lovers, crying, meet in a crushing embrace.  It’s a genuinely touching moment, and I don’t know much about the production of this movie, but Timothy Dalton and Anna Calder-Marshall are perfect at portraying the doomed-protagonists’ passion and pathological need for each other.  It’s never more perfect than at this moment.

No other characters intrude, and they can be wrapped up in each other.  It’s romantic.  It’s scary.  And it’s sad.  Everyone who has read the book (or even watched the movie up to this point) know that all Cathy and Heathcliff can do is torment each other, but they will never be happy without each other.  That’s their tragedy.  They’re too much… too angry, too jealous, too conscious of the society, too greedy.  But for all the times they do hurt each other, they really love each other.

And I think that’s what makes them compelling.  We want passion in our relationships, without all the drama that ruined Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationships and lives.

It’s never more apparent than this moment.  I can’t find it on YouTube anymore, but if you get a chance to see the whole movie, give it a try.  It’s a perfectly adequate way to spend 70 minutes.


Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #4 Nick Chambers and Cora Papadakis

Such a scene!

A quiet moment.

Christ, no.  Not that scene.  Pardon the blasphemy.

Anyway, Jack Nicholson again.  This was a movie I wasn’t supposed to see, but I was a resourceful YouTube lurker, and after I’d read the novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, and experienced the disappointment of the original movie, I knew I had to do better.  And in the remake, I did do better.  I wouldn’t say it’s the best adaptation of the book that could be done, but it is good.

And the movie that relies heavily on shock value from the damn kitchen table scene immediately follows it up with a very quiet, and surprisingly sweet scene that quickly became one of my favorites.  It’s even better than the scene in the book.

In the book, after Nick and Cora have sex for the first time, Nick’s conscience gets to him, so he slugs her in the arm.  And runs away.  Remind me why she wants to kill her husband for this guy, please?  Anyway, in the movie, they play the whole scene as very playful.  Nick is sitting at the counter, having breakfast, while Cora is cleaning up in the kitchen.  Then you see him get an idea, and he goes up to Cora and whacks her on the backside.  It’s a pretty good wallop, but it’s very obvious that he’s playing.  And Cora is only mad for a moment.

And they share a couple of kisses.  It’s very quiet.  It’s playful– very free of drama or anything too shocking and gratuitous.  And it feels genuine, but in a non-intrusive way.  The actors had great chemistry, I think from being a real life couple at the time, and it shows here.  You buy this couple.  You buy that they’re not just about sex, even though they are all about that aspect of the relationship, too.  I think when so many movies tend to divide relationships between being passionate and being tender, it’s nice to see a movie where both things are not only touched on but appreciated and explored.

So, for all my making fun of the kitchen table (and it deserves the making fun of and the criticism), it did lead to one of my favorite cinematic moments.  I can deal with that.  I’d include the link to it, but The Postman Always Rings Twice never stays on YouTube for very long.  Just be resourceful, whether you’re a lurker or not!


Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #5 Aurora Greenway and Garrett Breedlove


Not the still I wanted, but  a lovely moment anyway!

Not the still I wanted, but a lovely moment anyway!

When I was fifteen I had a crush on Jack Nicholson.  My mother has hated him ever since, even making disparaging comments about the book “Jack’s Life” that she bought for my dad when I was a baby.  In about forty years, I’m sure she’ll be giving the harp-playing Roger Corman an earful about him casting the young actor with funny eyebrows and a weird backstory.

Anyway, about the time I developed that crush, someone gave me a copy of “Terms of Endearment” on DVD

for Christmas, and it is my favorite sick movie to this day (when I have colds or sinus infections, I watch it, cry, and then feel better because my sinuses are clean).  But my favorite part of the movie is, however, the romance between Aurora Greenway and Garrett Breedlove, the astronaut.  And it’s better than the book.

I like watching their characters develop– Aurora become less selfish and less uptight, and Garrett become less of an asshole.  In fact, he’s a pretty good guy by the end (I guess he needed to have his ego deflated?).  But the best scene, I think, is when she sees him off at the airport when he visits her when she’s seeing Emma at the hospital.  It’s not particularly epic, in fact it might not be all that romantic (I couldn’t even find stills or clips from it), but it’s a great scene just the same.

They hug goodbye at the drop-off, and Aurora realizes that Garrett has his hand on her ass.  She kind of rolls her eyes, but puts her hand on his.  They separate and she says, “Thank you, I love you, have a good flight.”

He waves goodbye and starts to go into the airport, when she calls him back and asks if he had any sort of reaction to her telling him that she loves him.  Garrett says, “Damn… just inches from a clean getaway!”


And he looks at her with probably the sweetest version of the Nicholson shark grin and says, “I got nothing but my usual answer… I love you, too, kid.”  And you can tell he means it.  It’s a great reprieve before Emma dies and that mysterious person suddenly starts cutting onions in your living room.

It also strikes me, as a true-to-life declaration of love.  When my fiance first told me he loved me, I tried to wiggle out of saying anything, because I was shy about admitting that I’d been in love with him since he first expressed an interest in me.  But, like Aurora, he didn’t let me off the hook.  And I told him.

And once I got off the phone, I had a good laugh.  Who knew I’d channel a movie like this?

But the personal connection is only a part of why this scene is a favorite of mine.  I love the “this is my moment” and the Garrett-turns-out-the-light scenes as much as anyone, but they’re a bit more melodramatic and stagey.  This one is very quiet, and very genuine.  Not bad for a tearjerker, right?