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Old 04-01-2006, 16:23   #1
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Your Favourite Classic Screen Couples???

I've been digging into The Complete Thin Man Collection in recent days, courtesy of Santa Claus. HUGE fun so far, due in no small part to the sparkling chemistry of William Powell and Myrna Loy - and it set me thinking of other great screen couples. I can't think of any that I would consider better than "Nick & Nora", but some other favourites of mine are: John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara, Bogie & Bacall (To Have and Have Not for preference), Cary Grant & Jean Arthur (I'll take Only Angels Have Wings), Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave (The Lady Vanishes), Cary Grant & Grace Kelly (To Catch a Thief).

That's just a few off the top of my head ... who are your favourite classic screen couples?

(Oh, as usual, if this topic has come up before, my apologies ...)
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Old 04-01-2006, 17:43   #2
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McQueen and McGraw in The Getaway, McQueen (again) and Dunaway in The Thomas Crown Affair, Cary Grant and Eve Marie Saint in North by Northwest, Grant (again) and Ros Russell in His Girl Friday, Grant (strike three...) and Hepburn The Philadelphia Story/Bringing Up Baby, Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll in The 39 Steps, Charles Grodin and Cybill Shepherd in The Heartbreak Kid, Flynn and de Havilland in The Adventures of Robin Hood, Bette Davis and Paul Henreid in Now Voyager, and Fred 'n Ginger, well, anything...
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Old 04-01-2006, 17:58   #3
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Another vote to Grant and Hepburn [don't forget Holiday] A second repeated one for Donat and Carrol in The 39 Steps who are simply magnificent together when walking in the moors [oh how I love that film, can't wait for the day I get to escape from a police station in the manner that Robert Donat does!] and a fresh one for Joe Dallesandro and Holly Woodlawn in Trash, if I may be so perverse...
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Old 04-01-2006, 19:44   #4
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Damn; how could I forget? Tracy and Hepburn, Adam's Rib, Pat and Mike, Woman of The Year et al.
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Old 04-01-2006, 21:42   #5
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Would have to add Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in "Notorious" if only for the sexiest kiss in screen history and Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh in "The Manchurian Candidate".

If we're talking chemistry of course, you can't forget Bogart and Claude Rains or Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.
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Old 04-01-2006, 21:44   #6
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I should also add Jason Robards and Stella Stevens in "The Ballad of Cable Hogue".

If there's a prize for negative chemistry, or stars who obviously didn't belong together, it would be hard to beat Clark Gable and Greer Garson.
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:54   #7
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Fellow Couplers,

Laurel and Hardy.

Yours Pairingly,
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Old 05-01-2006, 10:20   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
If we're talking chemistry of course, you can't forget Bogart and Claude Rains or Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.
... I'd add Grant, McLaglen & Fairbanks in Gunga Din, but now I'm straying a bit too far from the couples theme.
Anyway, I just wanted to give myself a big for forgetting to mention James Stewart & Donna Reed (IAWL) in my first post (and I only saw it a couple of weeks ago, for crissakes!). Their "telephone kiss" scene is pure screen magic.
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Old 05-01-2006, 16:09   #9
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Cary Grant + anyone, it seems
Gregory Peck + Audrey Hepburn
Sherlock Holmes + Dr Watson
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Old 05-01-2006, 16:15   #10
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My favs: Loy and Powell, Grant and Hepburn, Gable and Harlow.
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Old 05-01-2006, 16:30   #11
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James Stewart & Grace Kelly - Rear Window

Bugs & Daffy - well, Grant & Hepburn are antagonistic through most of Philadelphia Story!
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Old 05-01-2006, 16:34   #12
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Jack Lemmon and Joe E. Brown oozed undiluted sexual chemistry.
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Old 05-01-2006, 22:09   #13
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James Stewart and June Allyson (The Glenn Miller Story, The Stratton Story and Strategic Air Command)
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:37   #14
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Laurel & Hardy
Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau

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Old 06-01-2006, 13:30   #15
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Bill Holden and Faye Dunaway in "Network" for believably falling in lust and then rapidly turning on each other.

Richard Burton and Liz Taylor in... well, you name it. I thought Burton acted her off the screen in "Virginia Woolf" but they made a lovely couple in "Taming of the Shrew".

For sheer chemistry, Burton and Deborah Kerr in "Night of the Iguana".

Speaking of which, you'd have to include Brando and Kim Stanley in "Streetcar". When she stands at the door giving him that look, you can barely see the screen for the steam heat that they generate. It may be animal passion but you can understand why she has him back.
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Old 06-01-2006, 13:40   #16
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There's a slightly mysterious chemistry which occurs between certain actors to make them great couples and isn't to do with sexual attraction. It's that mystical 'rightness' which makes for great buddy couples (as it were).

For example, Matthau and Lemmon seem right together in a way that Lemmon doesn't seem right (for me) with Tony Curtis or Matthau doesn't with George Burns in "Sunshine Boys". They complement each other beautifully, not always in the way you anticipate. You can feel the pull between the two actors as you can between William Holden and Peter Finch in "Network" or Gene Hackman and John Cazale in "The Conversation" (the parting of the ways between them is very moving, especially when Cazale cheats on Hackman with Allan Garfield).

It can also happen between actors and animals - Clint Eastwood was very funny with Orville in the relaxed silliness of the "Every Which Way" movies in a way which he is never funny with Geoffrey Lewis or Sondra Locke. Similarly, Elliot Gould and the cat in "The Long Goodbye" or Richard Griffiths and the pig in "Private Function".

Some men and women make great couples without there being any hint of sexual attraction. Think of the way Cary Grant and Jesse Royce Landis bounce lines off each other in "North By Northwest" or James Stewart and Thelma Ritter in "Rear Window".
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Old 06-01-2006, 14:05   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
There's a slightly mysterious chemistry which occurs between certain actors to make them great couples and isn't to do with sexual attraction. It's that mystical 'rightness' which makes for great buddy couples (as it were).
It isn't necessarily to do with sexual chemistry, but it helps (how would Lauren Bacall's performance in To Have and To Have Not and Ali McGraw's in The Getaway stand up without the 'phrwooooarrr!' factor?). Bogie is in love with Bacall in a way that makes Rick's ardour for Ilsa look like a schoolboy crush. There's chemisty between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in Don't Look Now (and before anyone jumps in with a biological reference, I mean beyond that blatently obvious scene.)

I suppose it's about who you're most comfortable with; but can you have the chemistry without actually being friends? Can you, for instance, spot the cracks, the chasms, that open up between Abbott and Costello as they began to loathe each other? I think I can, but if I didn't know, could I..?
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Old 06-01-2006, 15:32   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Think of the way Cary Grant and Jesse Royce Landis bounce lines off each other in "North By Northwest" or James Stewart and Thelma Ritter in "Rear Window".
On the Hitchcock subject, I've always thought that Stewart also had fantastic chemistry with Barbara Bel Geddes in Vertigo.
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