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A Kiss is just a Kiss – not with Jeff Bridges or Gregory Peck

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A Kiss is just a Kiss…absolutely not! Well not those that move me. I have a few favourites, but two in the pre-80s really make me giddy. You know, that fluttering, squeezing feeling when you realise the characters have fallen in love? And then, you wait for the kiss. That kiss. One that draws you in, engages your own emotions, that’s a Kiss. The ones that catch me unawares they’re the ones that hit the spot. So, without further ramblings, let me present two stirring kisses (in no order of passion and naturally, there are spoilers here):

The first from a largely unknown movie Lolly Madonna XXX (1973) aka The Lolly Madonna War and no, it is not an x-rated film. In a fairly violent story around mistaken identity, Zack Feather (a very young Jeff Bridges) has been charged with keeping a kidnapped Rooney Gil (Season Hubley) from escaping. LollyMadonnaKissSpending quite a bit of time in the hayloft (what is it about those haylofts?) Zack reaches out to gently mess her hair and then leans in to kiss her…tenderly, sensitively, gentlemanly. In fact, three kisses with the first on her mouth, the second her cheek and the last somewhere along the side of her neck. “Nobody’s ever kissed me like that before” to which he replies “I know that”. It is just so moving how, despite the terrible circumstances, he remains kind and caring and learns to love again (or so I tell myself). Her amazement from that special moment is beautiful. A second group of kisses follows, moments later, just as lovely but cut short by reality. The entire hayloft scene is simply my kind of romance.

Then, the western Yelllow Sky (1948). Ah, one of my favourites (movies and kisses) where Stretch (Gregory Peck), a bank-robbing gang leader and Mike (Anne Baxter), a tom-boy, cross paths when the gang hides out in the ghost town of Yellow Sky. We are treated to that special kiss one evening when she can’t sleep (I wonder why???), leaves her house and waits in a barn watching the gang camping at the spring a little way over. The moment is tenderly built up as she is waiting, anticipating, Yellow Sky Kisshoping and then…he appears. That ensuing kiss is just something. Being a black-and-white movie, the shadows and lighting are perfect as Stretch takes Mike into his arms in that classic-movie-stylised type of way (you know what I mean?) and she collapses backwards into his arms (also, classic-movie-stylised type of way). Finally! I was waiting for that as much as she was. And in that classic cliché (but I like it) she runs off, he grabs her arm and ends up saying “Listen here Lady. This ain’t something you argue about”. I have a weakness for these old movies. Oooh and how he looks at her in previous and subsequent scenes….swoon.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Movie Gift to You Blogathon

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The Last of the Mohicans (1992) and my daughter (albeit only in a couple of years), without a moment of doubt the two things that immediately came to mind when I stumbled across this Blogathon. Why this combination? Well…because she’s a girl, but not a “girly-girl” who’s into dainty characters and, because I just want to share my all-time favourite with her. The passion, the adventure, the music. I want her to experience the anticipation, the intrigue, the relationships, the time spent falling in love that special first time watching a movie. I think she deserves to be moved by this story like I was and still am (Yes, there is also the brutality of humans on show but it is never what comes to mind first). And, who wouldn’t want to give their daughter what they think is the best? Well, not necessarily the best but the best for that person.

Briefly, the story is around two sisters (Cora and Alice) who make their way to their father who is stationed at Fort William Henry. At the same time, three frontiersmen (Chingachgook, Uncas and Hawkeye) make their way west and circumstances bring them all together. Thus they navigate through the dangers of the French and Indian war. Not romantic? Well, you’d be surprised.

The Last of the Mohicans is decorated with the most beautiful musical ribbon. Winding its way through the movie, sometimes gently, sometimes a little firmer but never overbearing, never harsh, it is that special touch that gives the perfect finishing. One that evokes so much more than the picture alone could. In fact, when immersing myself in only the soundtrack, I relive the film wishing I was there.

Then, midst the beautiful scenery, come the individual adventures of such different characters, woven together to form a single sheet of wrapping paper. Each contributing to the whole where none would make sense without the other. I like a strong yet gentle woman who is able to make her own decisions while taking the advice of those important to her yet never being needy. Such is Cora Munro. Hawkeye (Nathaniel Poe) is always the way a person should be: true to themselves and not changing their behaviour when they are with the woman they fall for to what they are like when she isn’t there. I love the scene where he is helping the colonial militia prepare to escape Fort William Henry. Here he stays true to his cause yet also to Cora. The light exchange of “I’ve got a reason to stay.”, “That reason wear a striped skirt and work in the surgery?” and “It does. No offense, but it’s a better looking reason than you…” always makes me smile. I think they are the perfect fit and equals to each other. Uncas, the last Mohican, lives his life and never puts himself in a safe place because he is the last of a People, falling in love with Alice. His father, Chingachgook, is such a great man and amazing parent who supports his two sons (Uncas and Hawkeye) equally despite Hawkeye not being of his blood. So their lives and wonderful characters all converge to form this adventure.

But, the core of this beautifully wrapped gift is this: the romance and the loyalty. Of Hawkeye and Cora, but also Uncas and Alice. Never soppy, always passionate and powerful. To me, the most romantic notion ever comes from the scene where Hawkeye tells Cora “You be strong, you survive… You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you”. And then, just as romantic is when Cora says “You’ve done everything you can do. Save yourself! If the worst happens, and only one of us survives, something of the other does, too.” Wow – the “selfishlessness” of love, where you let someone go in order to save them instead of yourself so that love can endure. Every girl deserves this kind of romance, if not in the real world, then in the movies which subsequently transcends into the imagination.Last of the Mohicans

I could go on and on and on with the romantic aspects such as Duncan‘s unrequited love for Cora which is so true that he gives himself to be burnt at the stake for her sake. He could have saved himself. As brutal as it is, it is such a romantic notion. As is the scene where Alice, who sometimes annoys me a bit with her “clinginess”, throws herself off the cliff to be with the love of her life. In fact, this is to me one of the most heart-wrenching scenes of any story which I always struggle to watch and repeatedly wish that somehow things have magically changed since the last time I watched. But then, it just wouldn’t be the same. Something special would just be gone.

Lastly, what girl doesn’t love a good “rescue” scene and The Last of the Mohicans delivers just that. I refer to the battle scene where Uncas and Hawkeye spot their ladies about to go under Magua’s knife and race to save them. Ah…nothing else to say here…

I know a film speaks to me when I get this squeezing feeling in my stomach (I can’t really describe it, but it is there when a couple really connect romantically and convincingly for me). And I get this every single time I watch The Last of the Mohicans. This is why I’d like to gift it to my daughter – something so special for my most special. And, I don’t care what anyone says around lack of realism, political correctness or archaic notions – it is my gift after all. And we need to dream a little.