Love with the Proper Stranger: on TCM!

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MissGoddess
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Love with the Proper Stranger: on TCM!

Post by MissGoddess »

I just want to remind everyone that one of Natalie Wood's best movies---one that is RARELY ever shown---is coming to TCM this Sunday!! Love With the Proper Stranger (co-starring Steve McQueen) will be playing January 20th at 6:00 p.m. EST. Get your recorders ready! I'm so excited!!

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sandykaypax
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Post by sandykaypax »

Oooh, thanks for the heads up! I am a Natalie Wood fan, and I've never seen this one.

Sandy K
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Dewey1960
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Post by Dewey1960 »

I agree on LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER...a remarkably adult and frank film (by 1963 standards, at least) with two great stars at the peak of their appeal. Black & White early 60s films are a particular passion of mine, and this one is tops. Check out this scene...
[youtube][/youtube]
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mrsl
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Post by mrsl »

Sandy:

Try your best to be able to pay attention to the movie. In particular there is one discussion between Natalie and Steve that you want to be sure to see and hear clearly, otherwise the ending will seem totally nuts to you. I saw this in the theater and someone must have said something to me, because the end bewildered me until I asked about it. You'll know what I mean when you see it.

Anne
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benwhowell
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Urban angst circa '63...

Post by benwhowell »

I'm looking forward to re-visiting this gem. I've seen a lot of Natalie Wood's childhood films lately-"Miracle On 34TH Street,""No Sad Songs For Me" and the one with Fred MacMurray and Irene Dunne (?) I'm anxious to see her in an adult role...and what an adult role this is! I remember being a little shocked at some of the subject matter.
I remember some comedy, but a lot of heartbreaking sadness...for the entire cast. The gritty NYC locations really add to that. And, of course, Natalie's eyes. She really had the most beautifully expressive eyes.
I believe this must have been (director) Robert Mulligan's follow-up to "To Kill A Mockingbird." His "blue" period...
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movieman1957
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Re: Urban angst circa '63...

Post by movieman1957 »

benwhowell wrote:I'm looking forward to re-visiting this gem. I've seen a lot of Natalie Wood's childhood films lately-"Miracle On 34TH Street,""No Sad Songs For Me" and the one with Fred MacMurray and Irene Dunne (?)
I think it's "Never A Dull Moment."
Chris

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That's it!

Post by benwhowell »

Thanks, Chris
Normally I would have looked it up first on IMDb, but that's so hard to do with WebTV. :?
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

It's on in about 5 minutes! Don't miss it everyone! :D
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mrsl
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Post by mrsl »

So, it's been on, and now it's over. What are your ideas, and/or opinions?

Good, bad, like it, didn't like it?

Someone from NY please tell me, where were his parents when Steve and Nat went to visit them and they both slipped him money, before keeping their apointment? What kind of place was that? It looked like a concrete park or something.

Anne
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mrsl
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Post by mrsl »

Since nobody seems to want to talk about this movie very much, I guess I'll give my impression after all. It's been quite a while since I saw it on one of the cable stations, but sitting in my nice quiet living room with no interruptions, I was able to study it a little more. First off, I felt sorry for Tom Bosley, he was a really nice guy, his family was as strange as Natalies' so I can see her reluctance in choosing him, and going from frying pany to fire, and of course, he doesn't cut a very romantic figure. The dinner at his home was funny, though, you know?

Secondly, Hershel Bernardi played a good older Italian brother, but I don't see why they even bothered putting Harvey Lembeck's character in at all.

Thirdly, with Natalie working, and her brothers working, at their own business, why did the family live in such a slummy apartment? You would think they would have a nice suburban house. And I'm sorry folks, but Italian brothers do NOT walk into the bathroom when little sister is in there, no matter how upset or angry they may be. It was a funny scene, but that carried it a little too far. But believe me, her family's reaction was not all that much off the path.

And again I have to ask, do apartments like that one she had at the end really exist? How could a person live like that? It's like living in a closet.

Also, it never occurred to me before that Steve's character was Italian. As I said, I've seen it before but missed that fact, so his acceptance of her claim that he is the father is not that hard to understand - for that time. Now, he would question it more, but for that time, nice Italian girls didn't do that on a regular basis, besides the physical facts, he knew she wasn't lying.

In all, if you discount the normal glitches, like money for a taxi instead of taking a bus, and him going to talk to her at work when she is a clerk in Macy's and other little things that everyone knows can't happen. I think this is a really good movie, and some of the comedy skits work fine.

Anne
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* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

Another movie that flirted with the bizarre idea that women might have sex occasionally (and that tries to have its cake and eat it too), kept coming to mind last night as I tried to enjoy LWTPS.

Sunday in New York (1963), filmed in NYC around the same time as Love With the Proper Stranger, dipped its cinematic toe in the sexual waters that were beginning to roil under the surface of the early '60s. "Sunday", which never really transcended the prurient air of a commercial play about the inconvenience of *gasp* virginity, at least had one male who was likable, and in the form of Rod Taylor's sensitive rendering of what might have been a one dimensional hero, managed to suggest two dimensions, especially when he reflects on the eternal quality of nature, and, natural urges.

Still, I can only bear to half-watch these films. I love the Big Apple milieu, with some lovely shots of parks, trains, city life on the streets and some good, reasonable facsimiles of native New Yorkers from the minor characters more than the central ones. The cutesy acting and sexual attitudes of both movies now seem antique and a bit overdone, though there are moments when some messy human feeling peeks out from the mechanical if well-made screenplays. The seriousness of at least part of Robert Mulligan's approach to the material in the Wood-McQueen film remains moving to me while also making the synthetic elements of the storyline more apparent.

However, last night, when, during Natalie Wood's first scene, she asks Steve McQueen for the name of a doctor for an abortion, all I could think about was how revolutionary and shocking this must have played to 1963 audiences.

The sequence that followed at the abortionist's hideaway was truly harrowing and, given the fact that Natalie Wood invariably captured a viewer's sympathy, heart-rending in its matter-of-factness. The rest of the domestic comedy aspects of the story, from her family to McQueen's unbelievable efforts to appease her and his conscience, and her lovely little apartment were, well, preposterous. But, despite this, I've got to root for Natalie, no matter what.

Did I believe the ending? Not for a minute, though I liked the real New Yorkers rubber-necking at the movie stars on the street. All I could think was that these two characters probably got married, and eventually would divorce, (probably around the time that the cultural fissures cracked open in 1968, when a lot of conventional relationships were found to be built on sand). Their child would be about 45 now and probably would wonder what all the fuss was about.

BTW, for a serious minded attempt to explore this same theme in the same year, there was director Bryan Forbes' The L-Shaped Room (1963), with Leslie Caron pursuing a more realistic adjustment to a similar situation. The guy in that one (Tom Bell) was no bargain either. Lots fewer laughs, however.
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Post by knitwit45 »

Moira,
As a mid-western girl who was graduating High School when this movie came out, let me give you my perspective.

The apartment her family shared was what we all thought NYC apts were like.
A single girl would naturally have a tiny apt, because she couldn't afford more. (Remember, this is my view, not necessarily truth, just what was generally believed out here).

I found the development of Rocky's character charming, if flawed. He took her to an old hideaway where he matter of factly let her know he'd used this place to seduce more than one girl. But those girls went willingly.

During the course of that day, he came to see Angie as a person, not just another one-night stand, and he liked what he was seeing. In the cab, when she was curled into him, asleep, he began to realize that this girl trusted him. While he studied her in her sleep, you could almost hear his thoughts. Lots of my friends (and me, especially) believed in happy endings in 1963, before the assasinations of JFK, King, and RFK. It truly was a simpler, kinder time.

Angie and Rocky "sinned", but ended together...until, as you say, 1968 or so.

Nancy

and I would have KILLED to have Natalie Wood's haircut...still would for that matter. :)
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Post by moira finnie »

Hi Nancy!
I think your perceptions are so true about the period and the feelings of a young girl then (and, I suspect, now too). Part of what I was trying to say, (and that I probably didn't express well), was that LWTPS made some really revolutionary attempts to be realistic about sex outside of marriage, abortions and even the crazy idea that a woman might want to pause and think about her choices in that situation. The movie just couldn't follow through dramatically and took refuge in some hackneyed comedy--I bet it was probably because the studio got cold feet. Besides, there are comic aspects to almost every human situation, but I think they just need better writing than is on display here.

I'm so glad that you mentioned the quiet parts of the film, when McQueen is not speaking, but observing Natalie Wood, and reflecting on his own feelings, are the best work that he does in this movie--but then, Steve McQueen may be one of the best non-verbal actors ever. If only he didn't have to talk at all.

Your family was right about the size of apartments in NY, though there were more affordable middle-class family size apts. back then in the city and the area. I don't find the size of any of the apartments odd, they are actually among the movie's realistic touches, having lived in teeny apartments myself over time. It's the familial sitcom touches that don't ring true to me.

Lastly, Natalie Wood was one of the most appealing actresses I've ever seen. We'd all love to have haircuts like hers (and that sweeping page boy style with the bangs off to the side is right back in fashion, don't you think? :wink: )
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