Ten Best Doomed and Desperate Lovers of the Pre-Seventies Movies

James Stewart chases Kim Novak to distraction in "Vertigo".
James Stewart chases Kim Novak to distraction in "Vertigo". | Source
Bogart's and Bergman's problems don't amount to a hill of beans!
Bogart's and Bergman's problems don't amount to a hill of beans! | Source

Cast Your Vote:

"for the most doomed and desperate lovers of the Pre-Seventies Hollywood movies" --

Would you vote for my No.10 -- Casablanca (1942)?
"Kiss me, kiss me as if it were the last time," Ilsa Lund Laszlo (Ingrid Bergman) asks of Richard "Rick" Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in this movie considered an all-time classic.

It is rated the No.2 Four-Star movie of all-time (all genres) by Four-Star Movies The 101 Greatest Movies of All Time, published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, New York, and catalogued by Gail Kinn & Jim Piazza.

Casablanca is my No.10 choice for its emotional tension between doomed lovers Bogart and Bergman. I agree with Bogart's line: "The problems of three little people in this crazy world don't amount to a hill of beans".

Their desperation: They are impossibly in love, still recalling better times in Paris when they met, and Rick didn't know she was married. When they meet again, he's helping the anti-Nazi forces in his part of the world, and she's married to a top anti-Nazi organizer. No chance!

Academy Awards -- Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay.

King Kong lost his love to public opinion.
King Kong lost his love to public opinion. | Source
In 1967, the love triangle portrayed in "The Graduate" was shocking.
In 1967, the love triangle portrayed in "The Graduate" was shocking. | Source

Would you vote for my No.9 -- King Kong (1933)?
"Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast", Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) tells the gathered throng as the fallen King Kong lies dead at the foot of the Empire State Building.

Four-Star 101 rates King Kong No.51.

The emotional desperation versus public conception in King Kong rates No.9 on my list of 10 Pre-Seventies movies of doomed and desperate lovers.

Their desperation: A giant gorilla and Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) become strangely, and yet believably attracted to one another. Public opinion shoved aside, could there have been a chance of beauty at least taming the beast?

No Academy Awards.

Would you vote for my No.8 -- The Graduate (1967)?
"Benjamin, would this be easier for you in the dark?", Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) asks her much younger college lover, Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman).

Four-Star 101 ranks The Graduate No.18.

Their desperation: Mrs. Robinson is desperate for love; Benjamin is susceptible to her charms, but then falls in love with Mrs. Robinson's daughter when introduced to her by his parents. That was very emotionally thick in 1967!

Academy Awards -- Best Director.

"Dr. Zhivago" is an emotionally gripping love drama.
"Dr. Zhivago" is an emotionally gripping love drama. | Source

Would you vote for my No.7 -- Dr. Zhivago (1965)?
"I don't really know who I am. Quite possibly, I do not exist at all," states the gentle, anti-war, and very poetic Dr. Yevgraf (Yuri) Zhivago (Omar Sharif).

Dr. Zhivago is ranked by Four-Star 101 as No.58.

Their desperation: If ever there was an emotionally desperate person, it was Dr. Zhivago. He marries Moscow socialite Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin) while practicing medicine, but falls for the abused Lara Antipova (Julie Christie), who has shot her abuser. Throughout his entire life, Dr. Zhivago sadly doesn't solve his desperation in loving two different women.

Academy Awards -- Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Music.

"Laura" is a murder story told in flashback scenes.
"Laura" is a murder story told in flashback scenes. | Source

Would you vote for my No.6 -- Laura (1944)?
It becomes obvious that a police detective played by Dana Andrews eerily is falling in love with the supposed murder victim, Laura (Gene Tierney), he is investigating.

This movie didn't make Four-Star 101's list, but it is rated a Four-Star flick by Rating the Movies for Home Video, TV, and Cable, published (1986 Edition) by Publications International, Ltd., and edited by The Editors of "Consumer Guide" and Jay A. Brown.

Their desperation: Murder gone wrong is the result of jealousy on the part of Laura's husband, played by Clifton Webb. Andrews is coming apart, but who is the victim?

Academy Awards -- Best Cinematography.

Marilyn Monroe teases Joseph Cotton to death in "Niagra".
Marilyn Monroe teases Joseph Cotton to death in "Niagra". | Source

Would you vote for my No.5 -- Niagra (1953)?
Joseph Cotton was one of the most respected and talented actors of his day. He could play it bad, or he could play it good, and in Niagra he played it desperately bad to his faithless wife's (Marilyn Monroe) constant teasing and nagging.

Rating the Movies rated Niagra a Three-Star.

Their desperation: On vacation at Niagra Falls, Cotton and Monroe act out the desperately disintegating relationship with murderous intent. Monroe is a sinister tease, and Cotton is on the brink. Murder lurks in every corner.

No Academy Awards.

The Muse and the Girl -- A desperate tangle in "Phantom of the Opera"!
The Muse and the Girl -- A desperate tangle in "Phantom of the Opera"! | Source

Would you vote for my No.4 -- Phantom of the Opera (1943)?
Phantom of the Opera first appeared in 1925 as silent film fare with Lon Chaney in the Phantom's mask. Claude Rains reincarnated the role of the Phantom in 1943 and convinced audiences of his blackness with a chillingly desperate portrayal.

The movie has a Three-Star ranking with Rating the Movies.

Their desperation: The Phantom is a forced Muse to an opera star played by Susannah Foster. Living in the sewer underneath the Paris Opera House, he appears before his victim, desperate to love her and to live her success. She is desperate to disavow him. There only can be a disastrous ending to this non-union.

Academy Awards -- Best Cinematography.

Would you vote for my No.3 -- Vertigo (1958)?
"If I let you change me, will you love me?" asks Judy Barton (Kim Novak, who also plays Madeleine Elster) of John "Scottie" Ferguson (James Stewart).

Vertigo, an Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, ranks No.24 on Four-Star 101's list.

Their desperation: Stewart is a former police detective who suffers from vertigo hired by a friend to follow Madeleine, the friend's wife. Stewart falls desperately in love with Madeleine, only to see her fall to her death. Or does he? Then he meets Judy, Madeleine's look-a-like. Or does he? This tangled web desperately seeks a murderous conclusion.

Academy Awards -- Best Sound, Best Art Direction.

Would you vote for my No.2 -- Double Indemnity (1944)?
"I killed him for money and for a woman. I didn't get the money. And I didn't get the woman," confesses insurance agent Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray). MacMurray had a successful Hollywood career playing befuddled fellows, but he is scintillatingly bad in Double Indemnity.

Double Indemnity is a Four-Star 101 star, ranked No.22.

Their desperation: It's understood from their first meeting that Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) and Neff are wildly attracted to one another. Neff, happily single, gives up everything moral and right to acquire the favors of Dietrichson, unhappily married and desperate to get rid of her husband. It's a woopa-pa-looza ending.

Academy Awards -- It was nominated for just about everything, but a little feel good story called Going My Way won the day. Nevertheless, Double Indemnity remains today as the pitch-perfect example of early film noir.

Would you vote for my No.1 -- Mildred Pierce (1945)?
Double Indemnity has no edge on the classic women's picture Mildred Pierce, the female who showed all those who came after how to grap hold of an opportunity. Joan Crawford plays the lead role as fiercely as James Cain wrote it in his novel of the same name. Zachary Scott is extremely effective as Crawford's lover.

Four-Star 101 couldn't name every noir triumph in a list limited to 101 entries, so Double Indemnity apparently got the heads-up. Mildred Pierce is a Four-Star-rated filly in Rating the Movies, however.

Their desperation: Crawford leaves her marriage, and falls for Scott as she builds a business in restaurant ownership, partially financed by Scott, who marries her and proceeds to be unfaithful to her with Crawford's winsome daughter. That sets up an inevitable shooting scene, which is where this masterful film actually begins. But who remains faithful to whom?

Academy Awards -- Best Actress.

Don't be shy. Enter your favorites and cast your votes!

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Comments 16 comments

stunnercold profile image

stunnercold 5 years ago from Dubai

Most of these actors are dead.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@stunnercold...And I might be dead by the end of the day. What's your point? The hub's about performances of the pre-seventies movies...


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..oh my goodness this is so very good and so well researched too - I must post this fine work of yours to my Facebook page with a direct link here - Wonderful to meet you and yes I am quite a film buff - please do yourself a favor if you can and hook up with two of my buddies and tell them I sent you - COGERSON - a really big movie expert and FLORA BREEN ROBISON - a great writer and big fan of Hitchcock.

lake erie time 12:47pm Ontario Canada

and I love your passion and knowledge ....


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

First: Epi, yes she has found Cogerson and me too. :)

Barbsbitsandpieces:

First: ignore the trolls. You didn't write the hub for people not interested in movies made before they were born.

BEtter to not comment at all. I'm still learning this.

Second: this hub:

I would pick Vertigo first not just because of my love of Hitchcock, but because there is tragedy in the film. They are definately doomed. However, I wold put Casablanca higher than number 10. I cannot say why I don't think Laura belongs on the list without spoiling it for people who haven't seen it. But people who have seen the film can see why I would not have it ranked so high-despite it being one of my favourite movies.

Beyond that I cannot order these films effectively . I will say that I've seen every one of these movies, and I make sure to see 9 of these at least once a year-some more often than that. I will not say what the 10th is beyond saying that I have not mentioned it by name in my comment. I've seen it several times, but I'm not a big fan. That is much as I will say, and no fair trying to guess based on the types of films I enjoy.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@epigramman...Thank you so much for the positive feedback, and thanks, too, for recommending your two buddies, Cogerson and FloraBreenRobison! I've found them, and their work is excellent! I think when one roams around hubpages, like finds like!

A agree, Hitchcock was a master in his craft. His work with James Stewart and Cary Grant really shines!

I, too, am happy to make your acquaintance and look forward to more of your hubs and continued communication.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@FloraBreenRobison...Thanks for your comment on bad reviews (I know); but that one was too much -- and the darn thing snagged me into two comments before I realized my better self wasn't in control! Ha! I'll get better!

Your input on the hub rankings was of great interest to me. Any doomed and desperate pair's situation that led to actual murder in one form or another I ranked higher because the hub's issue was their desperation and how murderously ugly that can become, so I rated their desperation and its consequences first, then the films in whole.

Yes, Laura's ending is a twisted affair, but it does involve murder and intended murder; that's why it got on my list. It's very well done, and for music buffs, its theme song was a genuine hit.

I'm guessing to myself on your 10th! Thanks, FloraBreenRobison!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Barbsbitsnpieces, I loved Casablanca and all those old 40s movies. Perhaps I was born in the wrong generation. The hats, the jewelery, the clothes, so beautiful.

Loved The Graduate for a host of different reasons a whole different era: It was the love generation and the music, absolutely unmatched since.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@PegCole17...It seems to me that the old movies had more to say with better acting, but the modern movies just say it and portray it a different way, I suppose.

Thanks for sharing on this movie Hub!


brennawelker profile image

brennawelker 5 years ago

Great oldies.Thanks for sharing.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 5 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@brennawelker...Thanks for commenting!

I'm happy you enjoyed this Hub...I'm an oldie who can't get over the oldies! :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands

Hello :)

I find it strange that I haven't actually seen all of these films ~ or maybe I have seen them, but have forgotten them. I'm not sure.

I hadn't even heard of 'Laura', though I know that Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney were favourites of my Mum and Dad.

Who would I vote for?

Not 'Casablanca', 'King Kong', 'The Graduate' or 'Phantom of the Opera'.

I don't think that I have seen 'Laura', 'Niagara', 'Vertigo', 'Double Indemnity' or 'Mildred Pierce' ~ though I think that I might enjoy them.

My vote would have to go to the wonderful 'Dr. Zhivago'! It tugs at the heart strings!

(And what about 'Roman Holiday'? ~ I love that film!)


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@Trish_M...Hey, again! Thanks for checking in here. I hope you've enjoyed following me around today as much as I have enjoyed following you! :)

I loved "Roman Holiday", but apparently it wasn't high on the Fans Vote list. It is on my list.

"Dr. Zhivago" is tremendous, but it's fiction on a historical backdrop, like "Titantic", so I'm surprised you went for it!

Maybe I'm as old as your Mom and Dad! All these movies are on my shelves, even King Kong. For me, KK is a great message on man's relationship to animals and the unknown, and man's quest for money and conquest gone wrong. That's where my creative mind goes to work. Fiction is a "What If..." proposition, and the pen takes over from there.

"Double Indemnity" and "Mildred Pierce" are film noir at its best. Deep, dark, and hauntingly truthful. "Vertigo" is one of my James Stewart favorites.

Oh, well...On and on...Ha! Thanks again for your input!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands

Yes, it's great to discover 'new' writers on here and see what is on offer :)

I liked the poignant romantic story of "Dr. Zhivago" ~ the history kind of got in the way :) :)


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@Trish_M...Ha, ha, I like your last sentence! :)

History getting in the way of an historian proves the person has an emotional or mental opening for the enjoyment of history and fiction blended! :) Yes!!!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi Barbara :)

I have always enjoyed History and fiction blended ~ provided that it was done well.

'Animal Farm' is brilliant, for example. It is a fairy tale, which hides an important truth.

I used to love Jean Plaidy novels ~ and others who researched well ~ because they brought history to life.

Anya Seton is another favourite of mine.

And I love Jean Auel's books.

If done well, historical novels can really 'put meat on the bones' of the past.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA Author

@Trish_M...Good to hear from you again!

And I'm happy to know that you do enjoy a history/fiction blend, even of the fairy tale variety. They all have messages of life.

I guess we would have different reading and film backgrounds, being from two different countries. You mentioned "Animal Farm" more than once, so I'm going to put that one on my reading list while you catch up on GWTW! Ha!

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