Iconic Screen Couples

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

What makes a memorable movie besides the all important story line?  Often it is the “chemistry” between the two lead characters that drives the film into classic status or being highly acclaimed for years after it was made. Just think of the 1939 Academy Award winning film, Gone with the Wind and the relationship between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, played by Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. It’s impossible to picture any other couple in these roles, especially the last scene where Butler walks out the door and tersely says, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” For that time period these words were almost scandalous.  Think about another old time movie, the African Queen, made in 1951. Billed as a “drama/romance” the two leads, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn were the only two that could have sailed through those treacherous waters, making the journey believable during this WWII classic film.  Once again Bogart was part of an unforgettable pair when he had starred earlier in the 1942 Casablanca. That time his leading lady was played by Ingrid Bergman in this war time romance and thriller and the chemistry between the two made the film the long time classic it remains. With just these two roles, African Queen and Casablanca, Bogart’s range as an actor was undisputable. Another repeatedly told love story is the William Shakespeare’s tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet, touching to make any reader feel their sorrow. This same storyline was updated in 1961 replacing the courts of Italy with a rival gang street conflict in New York City, with a romance between leads, Maria and Tony. West Side Story was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, including best picture. It was the second highest grossing film of the year, proving a love story sells well.

But what about TV couples? One of the most popular comedy series that remains a favorite during rerun on channels devoted to old time programs has to be I Love Lucy. This series was the perfect combination of “screwball” slapstick comedy and viewers were able to watch a real life married couple work together every week in a successful show.  Even popular a popular television western series starred a married couple entwined in a different adventure each week. Viewers watched weekly episodes of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and also starring Roy’s horse, Trigger. One can’t even imagine saying Roy’s name without immediately added “and Dale Evans”.

How many iconic couples can you name from hints below?

  1. What movie were Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton working on together when they first met and began their romance?
  2. What Disney cartoon couple is known for sharing an Italian dinner together, where they kiss after nibbling on the opposite ends of the same strand of spaghetti?
  3. Pretty Woman was the film that paired what two actors in this romantic comedy/drama where the hero rescues the woman from the life she was leading?
  4. Rose and Jack, star crossed lovers, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, sailed together on what famous ship?
  5. Demi Moore contacts her late husband played by Patrick Swayze, through a “medium” in what movie?

Answers: l. Cleopatra; 2. Lady and the Tramp; 3. Richard Gere and Julia Roberts; 4. Titanic; 5. Ghost