Top 5 Classic Hollywood Romances

It’s hard not to fall in love with the characters of classic films. Many other romantic movies have been produced since, but they all pale in comparison to these great couples and their classic love stories.

1. Scarlet O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) in Gone with the Wind (1939) — Who can forget these two strong-willed characters? Take a look at this famous scene where Rhett says his famous line, “You need kissing, badly… You should be kissed. And often. And by someone who knows how.”

2. Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) and Nick Ferrante (Cary Grant) in An Affair to Remember (1957) — In this clip, the two lovers agree to meet on the top of the Empire State Building, just after Miss McKay says, “Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.” This movie helped make the Empire State Building into a romantic icon of the New York City skyline, and later played a key role in the romantic plot of Sleepless in Seattle (1993).

Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) and Paul Varjack (George Peppard) in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) — Paul (aka Fred Baby), a writer, and Holly (aka Lula Mae), a party girl, find love and friendship when they become neighbors in a New York City brownstone. Holly’s stubbornness gives way in this final scene of the film, ending with a romantic kiss in the rain.

4. Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) and Rick Blane (Humphrey Bogart) in Casablanca (1942) — Rick’s Cafe sets the stage for the reunion of two lovers who find their love is just as strong as it was when they first met. Their sentimental song,”As Time Goes By” – a song made famous by the film – is played by Sam (Dooley Wilson) in this scene. And along with it comes the famous line, “Play it. Play it again, Sam.”

5. Mary Hatch
(Donna Reed) and George Bailey (James Stewart) in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) — Among many other things, this film is remembered for the romantic gesture made by George promising to lasso the moon for Mary. This is the scene where their love for one another begins — “Do you want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down!”

Which movie scene makes you swoon every time? Do tell – Meredith

Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

Literary Love Through the Decades

Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Catherine and Heathcliff — some literary couples are ageless.  Here are a few notable literary lovers from the last nine decades.

Constance + Oliver, 1928: Way back in the twenties, D.H. Lawrence tested the boundaries of literary sexual description with Lady Chatterley’s Lover.  An uncensored version of the book was denied publication in Lawrence’s home country of England until 1960, after Penguin won an obscenity trial in which experts testified that the book had literary merit.  The story of an illicit affair that crossed class lines—a married aristocratic woman and a lowly gamekeeper—has become a staple of serial romances.

Scarlett + Rhett, 1939: I have to confess: I’ve never read Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind; the movie has been so ubiquitous throughout my life that I felt that reading the book would be busy work.  Plus, the whole noble South/trusty-slave-folk thing bothers me.  But it’s a great love story, so, frankly, my dear—well, you know the rest.

Maria + Robert, 1940: Ernest Hemingway’s book For Whom the Bell Tolls deals primarily with the horrors of war, set among Spanish guerillas fighting fascism.  American Robert Jordan comes to their aid and, in the process, meets and falls in love with Maria.  After the two first make love, Jordan asks Maria the question that has become a romantic cliché, “Did thee feel the earth move?”

Sarah + Maurice (+Henry, + God), 1951: Another novel set in wartime, Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair brings illicit romance to the forefront, while the bombing of the London blitz rages all around.  Things don’t turn out well for the lovers, but intense feelings of romantic love, Catholic faith, and animal jealousy pervade the book and the two movie versions of it.

Jenny + Oliver, 1970: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  That is the line by which everyone remembers Erich Segal’s Love Story, written in 1969—the bestselling book of 1970—another tragic tale of love between the upper and lower classes.  And this book, like Gone with the Wind, was an immensely popular book overshadowed by the movie version.

Jade + David, 1979: Young desire is what Scott Spencer’s novel Endless Love is all about.  Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl, in her book Book Lust, calls it “a hymn to overheated teenage love.”  In this case, as the t-shirt says, “Don’t judge a book by its movie.”  While the Brooke Shields flick was widely panned, the book is much better regarded.

Fermia + Florentino, 1985: Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is another tale of love across class boundaries.  Florentino loves well-bred Fermia, but her father disapproves and she marries another man. Florentino pines for his lost love for decades, until Fermia’s husband dies, when he resumes the courtship.  It’s a novel about patience and determination, as well as love’s fickleness. 

Tita + Pedro, 1992: Mexican author Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate became a number-one bestseller in the U.S. in 1992, thanks to its mix of Mexican recipes and its sensual threads of unrequited romantic love and the power of food. 

Clare + Henry, 2003: It’s difficult enough holding on to a relationship in three dimensions, but when a guy is popping in and out of time, it just gets darn near impossible.  In The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger deftly and poignantly employs the device of time travel, and succeeds where she could’ve so easily failed.   

Which literary lovebirds have captivated you?

— Steve, aka The Buy Guy

The source of many a miracle

One of our HPB Bibliomaniacs in North Houston, Jan P., shared this story with us about a hard-to-find book and a 40 year search. The result? A Holiday Miracle? You be the judge! Whether it’s a miracle or not is up in the air, but it just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on a Monday, huh?

“Recently, I had an incident occur that points out how HPB is the source of many a Christmas miracle. I chatted with a friend recently who is a huge Margaret Mitchell/Gone with the Wind fan. We got copies in of Lost Laysen after going all our lives thinking GWTW was her only book. 

I called to ask him if he had heard of the book and would like a copy. We chatted a bit about it, and he told me the one book he wanted me to watch for was Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind Letters. He had seen the book come in in the 1970s when he worked for B. Dalton. He didn’t have the money for it at the time and planned to get it when he could. Well, the book got bought and never came back in. He had been looking for it lo’ these many years, never finding it again, and now it’s out of print. I told him I’d keep my eyes peeled.

Since it was early enough in the evening, I figured I’d call our 9 stores in Harris County just to see. I called Humble, and they didn’t have it, so I called Copperfield next–and they did! Just like that. I was off the next day, so I drove over there to pick it up. HA! My friend comes to visit sometime in December. It’s all I can do to keep this to myself, and why I love working for Half Price Books.”

Just another example of how our HPBers are here to help — what’s that one book you search for every time you visit?

 — Becky