Knight at HOME at the Movies
A Quartet of DVDs for Valentine's Day
Four fabu-lush choices focusing for lovers of every stripe.
Romance Classics Collection - From Warner Bros. A quartet of Troy Donahue pictures from the early sixties - all equal parts
camp, turgid melodrama with heated up characters, plots, and settings. Parrish, from 1961, features the last film appearance of
Claudette Colbert (a story of big money tobacco in the south) as the classy housekeeper who marries "up" (to Karl Malden) and
fights for her son (Donahue) to find a place at the table of her wealthy new husband, the tobacco baron. It's my favorite of the four
(though all are really fun) and features Connie Stevens, Madeline Sherwood, and Sylvia Miles as sexy "white trash" field hands.
Others include Palm Springs Weekend (with a very funny Carole Cook and sexy Robert Conrad, though he doesn't take his shirt off),
Rome Adventure (with Suzanne Pleshette finding lust in Donahue's arms and featuring Angie Dickinson as her competitor), and the
marvelously junky Susan Slade with Connie Stevens falling off the virgin wagon and her mortified parents Dorothy McGuire and Lloyd
Nolan pretending to be the parents of the love child (a plot device used last season on "Desperate Housewives"). Donahue sorta
sleepwalks through all the pictures but has enough of the requisite blond hunk about him to keep one involved.
Chris & Don: A Love Story – From Zeitgeist. The charming, decades long relationship between writer Christopher Isherwood and
his much younger lover and fellow artist, painter Don Bachardy is presented in this intimate film. The film, narrated by Bachardy the
surviving partner, is highlighted by the riveting home footage of the two during their courtship years. The disc includes additional
home footage. The disc hits stores on February 24th.
Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie – From MPI Home Video. Produced by daughter Lucie Arnaz (little Lucie), this Emmy award winning
1992 documentary about her iconic parents, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, is tremendously moving. Filled with home movies, all in
color, shot by the young couple in the first flush of their romance, Lucy and Desi truly were a match made in heaven. By the time
little Lucie arrived (just a week before production on "I Love Lucy" began) and little Ricky not long after, the lovable duo had become
more famous than President Eisenhower (and just as beloved). But the dark clouds that ended the marriage - Desi's womanizing
and drinking, Lucy's tough intractability - were already in place as well. As the couple became more and more famous, the work
pressures took the final toll. But as this intimate portrait, featuring scads of friends and family members reveals, the two never
really lost the intense love they had for one another. The disc includes a treasure trove of extra goodies including a slew of clever
commercials done specifically for "I Love Lucy" rarely seen.
Waterloo Bridge – From Warner Bros. Finally, for lovers who love a really good cry try this creaky but still worthy vehicle on for
size. Vivien Leigh is breathlessly beautiful in high contrast black and white as the tragic ballerina who is forced to turn to a life of
prostitution to survive during the war when her equally beautiful beau, Robert Taylor, goes off to fight the Nazis. This is one of those
tragic romances that never grows stale and Leigh is tremendously effective and Taylor not quite as stiff as usual. This is the kind of
high gloss, sumptuously appointed drama (London during wartime looks gorgeous) that MGM did better than any studio before or
since. Get out your hankies!