On DVD/Blu-ray – Runaway Brides
by HELEN GEIB
It Happened One Night (1933)
The runaway bride is a romantic comedy staple. She’s had a movie named after her (Runaway Bride, 1999) and a critical study (The Runaway Bride: Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the 1930s by Elizabeth Kendall), while the term long ago entered the popular lexicon (just plug it into Google or Amazon). The first great standard-bearer is the heroine of Frank Capra’s comic masterpiece It Happened One Night. Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable effortlessly ushered in an era of romances between madcap heiresses and knowing working stiffs.
Needing You (2000)
From road trip to office romance. Hong Kong cinema in the West is typecast as kung fu and two gun action, so it’s no surprise that writer-director-producer Johnnie To is known- if he’s known at all- for action-thrillers with titles like Heroic Trio and Fulltime Killer. However, like the industry he exemplifies, To is a multi-talented adept of many genres. Needing You, starring a particularly charming Andy Lau and delightfully vivacious Sammi Cheng, is an opposites attract romance further complicated by office politics and both parties’ emotional baggage. The hero’s desperate race to stop the wedding does double duty as a nod to Hong Kong contemporary classic A Moment of Romance.
Easily the best romantic comedy I’ve seen in the theater in the last few years, Heartbreaker has been featured before as DVD of the Week (you can read my review here). Among the film’s many virtues, the climax is the supreme homage to the runaway bride finale of It Happened One Night.
New releases this week: J. Edgar, Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Mighty Macs, Tower Heist, The Way