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February 21, 2012

6

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.

Heartbreaker (2010)

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


6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 22 2012

    Wow. I only know the first title, “It Happened One Night” because it’s one of the greatest comedies ever made. Top 5, easily.

    Nice post, though. :O)

    And speaking of Johnnie To, last week I rewatched Mad Detective on blu-ray. It’s a region free UK import and it’s awesome; and the movie’s also awesome. One of my favourite Johnnie To films.

  2. Feb 22 2012

    There are so many awful romantic-comedies that a lot of people have been soured on the genre altogether. My attempt to fly the flag. :-) And really, how can anyone not like “It Happened One Night”?

    “Mad Detective” is great. To’s films always are (well, practically always- I’m looking at you, “Running on Karma”).

  3. Feb 22 2012

    Yeah… that movie doesn’t exist…
    …just like there were no Matrix sequels made after the first film…

    I find that Love Actually is a really good Rom/Com. And so is Scott Pilgrim; it’s the perfect Valentine’s Day film. :O)

  4. Feb 27 2012

    I’m in the minority in not liking “Love Actually”. I wanted to cut half the stories entirely and re-distribute their screen time to the ones that were left.

  5. Feb 27 2012

    I only watched it once and back when it came out, but I’m quite certain that I enjoyed it for the most part.

    And how great do you feel that The Artist, although predictably, had won the three big Oscars?

  6. MIRIAM
    Feb 28 2012

    I’m a big Johnnie To fan and am happy to see one of his movies promoted at any time! Needing You is charming and funny, a movie to lift the spirits and warm the heart.

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