Thursday, June 11, 2009

Riding in boats with criminals

I have to confess that I had not seen The Lady Eve before last night. The storyline combines to frequently-used plot devices: falling in love with somebody not realizing that person is a criminal, and falling in love with somebody on a boat trip.

As for the criminals, there are some outstanding movies I've recommended before like Hide-Out, with Maureen O'Sullivan falling in love with gangster Robert Montgomery, and Night of the Hunter, in which Shelley Winters falls in love with the very criminal Robert Mitchum.

Boat voyage love stories might be even more common: put man and woman together in a confined space, and what do you expect them to do? The classic in this genre is probably An Affair to Remember, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr falling in love on a transatlantic voyage despite being engaged to other people. It is, of course, a remake of Love Affair, with Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne taking the romantic leads. There are some even more dramatic love scenes taking place in smaller boats: Tallulah Bankhead got the hots for John Hodiak while stranded on Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat.

Interestingly, The Lady Eve is not the first movie to combine the two themes. About a decade earlier, Warner Bros. released One-Way Passage, in which Kay Francis plays a woman who falls in love on a transpacific boat voyage with William Powell. She doesn't know that he's being transported back to the States to face the gas chamber, while he doesn't realize that she's terminally ill. Still, they fall in love anyway in this melodrama (which, unfortunately, has not been released to DVD). Apparently, it wasn't melodramatic enough, as the Warners decided to remake the movie in 1940 under the title 'Til We Meet Again (also not available on DVD), this time with George Brent and Merle Oberon as the condemned criminal and dying socialite.

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