Classic Cinema

“The Way We Were”

Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand in "The Way We Were" (© Columbia Pictures, 1973)

Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand in “The Way We Were” (© Columbia Pictures, 1973)

Opposites attract, but only for a while in the 1973 tear-jerker The Way We Were. Starring Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand, the film is an American love story set amid the political turmoil before, during, and after World War II.

Streisand plays Katie Morosky, a strong-willed Jewish woman with penchant for political activism. Redford plays Hubbell Gardiner, a very WASP-y and privileged guy with the aspirations (and the talent) to become a writer. The two meet in college in the late 1930s, but it isn’t until a chance encounter in New York City after the war when they fall in love. The lovers end up moving to Hollywood where Hubbell pursues a career as a screenwriter. When the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities starts putting the smack down on suspected communist sympathizers in the entertainment industry, Katie takes a stand but Hubbell plays it safe in order to keep his job. You can see where this is going—the lovers’ future is sadly doomed by their lack of mutual conviction and shared values.

Written by Arthur Laurents and directed by Sydney Pollack, the film is a solid, albeit glossy, romantic drama. The interweaving of the political turmoil of the times provides a unique backdrop for both the romance and the demise of the relationship. And the star power and on-screen chemistry of Redford and Streisand is why we go to the movies in the first place.

Of notable mention is the film’s famous title track, with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman, and perfectly sung by Barbra Streisand. The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song; Hamlisch also won an Academy Award for the Best Original Dramatic Score for the film and a Grammy for Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I watched The Way We Were on Turner Classic Movies. Thanks, TCM!

Have you seen The Way We Were? What do you think of the film? Leave a reply below.

Disney Movie of the Month

“Cool Runnings”

© Disney

Leon, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, and Doug E. Doug in “Cool Runnings” (1993) © Disney

Y’all know that I’m a big fan of the Walt Disney Studios. I thought it would be fun to watch one Disney film a month from here one out and blog about it. This month’s entry is Cool Runnings, the 1993 sports comedy based on the true story of the bobsled team from Jamaica that competed in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

The film tells the inspirational story of Jamaican runner Derice Bannock (played by actor Leon) who decides to form the island’s first bobsled team after an unfortunate event crushes his dreams of representing Jamaica in the Summer Olympics. Bannock meets former American bobsledder Irv Blitzer (played by John Candy) who happens to be living in Jamaica and they recruit three more locals for the team (Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, and Doug E. Doug). Blitzer becomes the team’s coach and together they overcome multiple obstacles to qualify and compete in Calgary. It’s also an ultimate fish-out-of-water story, with the Jamaicans trying to figure out what it means to compete in the cold and on the world stage.

While the film is in many regards your basic sports movie, it rises above the standard clichés with its winning (and funny) script, terrific acting, and great direction from director John Turteltaub (While You Were Sleeping, National Treasure). It is a fun and inspiring film.

One final bit of trivia—Cool Runnings was released in October 1993, just months before John Candy’s untimely death in March 1994. I’m glad he was able to see his terrific performance in the film.

Rating: 4 of out 5 stars

Cool Runnings is currently available on Netflix.

Have you seen Cool Runnings? What do you think of it? Leave a reply below.