I love a good meet-cute. You know, it’ the moment where two characters meet for the first time. In most films, the meet cute sets the stage and the tone for all that is to follow. It immediately tells you what type of relationship the two characters will have as they get to know each other better. Some meet-cutes are in fact cute, others are antagonistic. Meet-cutes are actually one of my favorite moments in a film.
Which is why I am thrilled that Phyl of Phyllis Loves Classic Movies decided to give these moments some much deserved attention by hosting the Meet-Cute Blogathon just in time for Valentine’s Day. When the opportunity arose to participate in this blogathon, I couldn’t pass it up. I also couldn’t narrow my choice down to just one film. So, I am celebrating by sharing my top five favorite classic film meet-cutes.
The Glass Bottom Boat (1967)
There are a lot of great meet-cutes in film. But this has always been the first one I think of when meet-cutes are discussed. I love how it isn’t only just about their first meeting, but also a set up for several jokes later in the film.
Doris Day was born to make romantic comedies and she starred in quite a few great ones in the Sixties. Many associate her with her comedy co-star Rock Hudson. But it is Australian Rod Taylor who partners with her this time.
During the week Jennifer Nelson works for an aerospace research company. But on the weekends she helps her father’s glass bottom tour boat company pretending to be a mermaid for tourists. Bruce Templeton is a scientific genius and also Jennifer’s employer, unbeknownst to either of them.
While out fishing off Catalina Island, Bruce’s rod snags something big. As he wrestles to bring in his latest catch, Jennifer finds herself caught on something underwater. Finally, Bruce reels his line in only to find something odd on the end of his life. The next thing he knows an angry blonde is yelling at him from the water. It’s only then, that he realizes he has caught a mermaid tail. They argue over a no-fishing sign before she swims off in a huff.
How to Steal a Million (1966)
Though this isn’t my favorite of Audrey Hepburn’s films, it does feature a pretty great meet-cute with her co-star Peter O-Toole,
Nicole Bonnet already has enough problems trying to encourage her art-forging father to go straight. Little does she know that art investigator Simon already suspects Papa Bonnet.
In the course of his investigation Simon breaks into the Bonnet home late one evening. Nicole hears the noise. Believing a burglar has broken in, she creeps down stairs with a gun. The two startle each other and the gun goes off, winging Simon in the arm. At the same time, his heart also takes a hit and he agrees to help her steal back one of her father’s forgeries from a museum
Nicole Bonnet: Don’t be such a baby, it’s only a flesh wound!
Simon Dermott: Happens to be my flesh.
Nicole Bonnet: For a burglar you’re not very brave, are you?
Simon Dermott: I’m a society burglar. I don’t expect people to rush about shooting me!
Bringing Up Baby(1938)
Any one who knows me, know that this is my all time favorite film. Mainly, because it was my first real experience with classic movies. And because it introduced me to the greatness of Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.
It’s the story of a staid paleontologist who gets mixed up with a zany heiress against his will. After that, it all goes downhill from there for poor David Huxley. Next thing he knows, he’s helping transport a leopard, taking refuge at the country home of the heiress’ aunt under an assumed name, all while trying to track down the missing last bone to complete his dinosaur skeleton and also trying to impress said aunt into awarding him a large grant. All because heiress Susan Vance has taken a shine to him and does any crazy thing she can think of to keep him with her.
So how else should their story start, but through an inconvenient interruption on the golf course? David is meeting with the attorney of the grant donor when Susan deliberately cuts into his game and begins playing his ball. No matter how he tries to explain that she has the wrong ball, she remains deliberately obtuse. Next thing he knows, she is then appropriating his car and claiming that it is hers. Poor David!
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
I never grow tired of Lubitsch’ classic comedy of two white collar thieves who find themselves in a love triangle with their wealthy mark. Perhaps, it is Lubitsch’ deft humor which hints at more. Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for Herbert Marshall and am thrilled to see him as the suave leading man. Or it could be the genius pairing of Miriam Hopkins and Kay Francis as the women fighting for Marshall’s attention.
Long before heiress Madame Mariette Colet finds herself in the cross hairs of two charming thieves, a man and a woman meet for the first time in a Venetian hotel. Lily is posing as a Countess, while Gaston Monescu claims to be a count. Gaston arranges for their first dinner date to take place privately in his room. As the two go through all the courtesies of their first meeting, they sit down to eat. Though, they both immediately have each other’s measure, the audience does not. Not until, the verbal battle begins and they start exposing each other’s secret talent for thievery. Remarkably enough, this acts as an aphrodisiac and a new partnership is born.
Easy Living (1937)
Ah, what a misnomer of a title for this Preston Sturges comedy starring Jean Arthur and Ray Milland. Which of course, is the whole point.
When Mary Smith is mistaken for the mistress of a millionaire, her life suddenly and perplexingly changes for the better. But it also becomes complicated as she tries to correct the misassumption. Meanwhile, that same millionaire’s son, John Ball Jr., decides to prove to good ol’ dad that he doesn’t need his father’s money and goes to work for a living (gasp)! Not only is their meet-cute one of my favorites, but I also think it is one of the funniest moments ever caught on screen.
Despite appearances, Mary has no money. She finds herself in an automat with only enough change for a measly cup of coffee. Junior, who is now working at the automat, notices Mary’s dilemma and offers her free food. However, when his manager reprimands him, the two end up in a fight. This fight spreads out onto the floor like a contagion. A free for all ensues as everyone tries to claim all the food for free. Meanwhile, Mary is the only one not part of the chaos as she tries to quickly protect and consume her food.
Strangely enough, I just realized all of my favorite meet-cutes are from comedy films. Do you have a favorite meet-cute? Don’t forget to stop by Phyl’s blogathon to read more about some other great film meetings.