Monday, February 15, 2010

Chemical Attraction

It's an odd thing, chemistry. Some movie couples have it; some don't. What fascinates me is when real life couples appear together as romantic leads, some simply don't have it. I've previously posted about how marvelous William Powell and Myrna Loy were as Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man series and how, in comparison, his real-life wife Carole Lombard and he didn't click nearly as well in My Man Godfrey.

Of course, even if real life couples are able to make the screen sizzle, sometimes their marriages falter. Consider these examples:

I loved the Taylor-Burton pairing in Zeffirelli's Taming of the Shrew (although the storyline is slightly problematic for me in comparison to some of the Bard's other plays, they made it work).

One of my very favorite couples, Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh, had fantastic chemistry in the aforementioned Much Ado as well as the superb version of Henry V.

They also starred together in one of my all time favorite little-known mysteries, Dead Again, loaded with twists and turns:

Chemistry is tricky. I'm reminded of Justice Potter Stewart's attempt to explain "hard-core" pornography, or what is obscene, by saying, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . [b]ut I know it when I see it . . . "

These three couples had chemistry. Sometimes it was like adding vinegar to baking soda, bubbling merrily along; sometimes it was more like adding Mentos ® to Diet Coke ® - explosive. But it was always a blast to watch.


gcmoss said...

OH MY GOODNESS YES! Dead Again has been sitting on my desk all week. I own it, of course, as I do all Kenneth Branagh films. But Dead Again, I like to watch in entirety, then watch the good bits for the next few days. HHmm Chemistry. That's a good way to put it. Plus it has some very creepy and funny moments too. Andy Garcia is stupendous, as is Derek Jacobi, but Ken and Em are, well Ken and Em.

Barry said...

When you consider the contrivance of film making, the multiple reshoots, the camera angles, the director coaching every scene, the editing, its amazing something as ephemeral as "chemistry" plays such a strong role.

Yet it does.

Emm said...

I love Emma Thompson and I liked Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh together too. I'll never forget how devastated she was when they broke up.

Kathy Amen said...

I LOVE Dead Again, too! Saw it back in my movie-reviewing days: Also a big fan of the Thin Man movies. We have such similar tastes!

dianne said...

I really enjoy those old black and white movies, I just love the dog in the top photograph, so cute.

I think Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson were great together, in Much Ado and Henry V, I was surprised to see that they had divorced and she had married Greg Wise who played the part of Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility.
As far as Taylor and Burton are concerned I thought they were excellent in the Taming of the Shrew, I think the battling characters they played there would somehow mirror their real life marriage, that is before Katarina became submissive for her own survival.
I haven't seen Dead Again, I was just thinking how young they look there...How many times can you die for love? Don't know the answer to that but we can sure get hurt a lot in search of it.
Great post Holly. xo ♡

French Shelter said...

FF! I'm loving these film couple posts.

Don't forget!! Meryl and Clint in Bridges! Although the second plot line in the film was feeble, the coupling of the two! Open the car door!! Open the car door!!!!!@!!!!



PS: Emma is such a better actor than Kenneth!