I’ll Always Be There When You Need Me: Anastasia (1997)

Romantic Moment #9

anastasia

Anastasia (1997)

So this film is based on two things, the person Anastasia and the 1956 film of the same name. Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II Romanov. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Czars were kicked out of power and later killed. The only body to not be found was Anastasia, which lead to a rumor that she wasn’t dead, but was still out there and would return one day. There was actually a woman who claimed she was the real Anastasia, going by the name Anna, but even though she knew countless details that only a Romanov would have known; it was later determined that she wasn’t Anastasia. The 1956 film, while starring the wonderful Ingrid Bergman and the very handsome Yul Brynner; was not very good. Yul Brynner was too mean and Bergman was too hysterical, etc. It just sucked. So about twenty years later Fox remade a animated version that had more likable characters, a more adventurous plot, and a collection of wonderful songs. I love the songs in this movie; Rumor in St. Petersburg, Journey to the Past, Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)and (my fav) At the Beginning.

That said, there is one other little thing I want to clear up. Anastasia is not a disney movie. I REPEAT! ANASTASIA IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE! DISNEY DID NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE!!! It was 20th Century Fox! FOX MADE IT! FOX! FOX! FOX! FOX! It just urks me how people call it a Disney movie because it IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE!

Anya

So the film begins in 1916 Russia, where the Czar is giving a party. His mother, the Dowager Empress (Angela Lansbury) is visiting from France. She and his youngest daughter, have a close connection and the Dowager gives her a secret music box and a locket that is a key, that have the saying “Together in Paris”. The ball is interrupted by their “holy man” Rasputin (he was a real creepo) played by Christopher Lloyd. Rasputin is mad at the Romanovs for trying to banish him, and has sold his soul to brung destruction on all of them. The Dowager and Anastasia are saved by a kitchen boy, who sneaks them out through a secret passage. They run for a train, but Anastasia trips and is left behind.

Fast forward ten years, the Dowager Empress has put out notice of a heavy reward to anyone who can bring her, her granddaughter. Dimitri (John Cusack), the kitchen boy, is all grown up and has been having tryouts to find someone to play Anastasia so he can get the money and be gone from Russia forever. He and his partner, Vladimir, an ex member of the Royal Court, both have the knowhow to get it done. Dimitri also has the music box.

Meanwhile, Anya (Anastasia), played by Meg Ryan, has been living with amnesia in an orphanage. Now being of age, she is being sent out to work. Instead of following the directions given to her, she decides to follow a stray dog she found and head to St. Petersburg and ultimately, Paris.

The two meet up in the old Romanov palace as Dimitri and Vladmir have gone there to lick their wounds, no applicants worked out, and Anya wants to get papers from Dimitri to get out of Russia. They notice her similarities to Tsarina Alexandra and offers it as a potential way to find her family, not telling her about the money (you know that old cliché). They board the train and are on there way

Meanwhile, Rasputin is rotting in Purgatory, as he can’t go off to hell until all the Romonavs are dead, and can’t go topside because he lost his glass vial of evil I guess (I’m not sure what its real name is), is lost. Bartok, his pet bat has found the vial and goes down telling him about Anastasia’s “rebirth”. Rasputin goes up to kill her.

Back on the train, Anya and Dimitri feel a little something for each other but are mean to each other not wanting to admit it. They have to move to the baggage cart as things have changed under Stalin. While there, Rasputin attacks and they have to switch to a boat. Rasputin attacks them, and Dimitri saves her. They eventually reach Paris, and Anya passes all the tests, solidifying it when she answers that she was saved by a kitchen boy. Dimitri hears this and knows that she is the real deal. The only issue is, the Dowager has decreed to see no one again. They decide to surprise her at the opera, Dimitri deciding to let her go and to do everything he could to help her connect to her family. Dimitri’s scheme has reached the Dowager’s ears and she really lays into him, with Anya overhearing. Anya is pissed that Dimitri lied to her and runs off to her hotel room. Dimtri then drives the Dowager over there and the two talk and are united. They have a ball to welcome her back, with Vladmir being reinsteated and honored with medals. The Dowager offers Dimitri the money, but he refuses (sound like someone you know?) and takes off. That night, Rasputin attacks Anya, Dimitri returns, and they defeat Rasputin. The two elope and run off, Anya telling her grandmother that she will see her again soon.

Most Romantic Moment:

Just like 10 Things I Hate About You it was hard to choose the “most romantic moment” as it was chock full, but I can only pick one.

So Dmitri has left. He could have told Anya what he did for her when she was a kid. He could tell her that  he was the one who saved her as a child. He could have told her that he figured out she was Anastasia and tried to help her at the Opera to get in to see the Dowager. He could have told her that he made sure that the two had a chance to talk because he wanted to reunite her with her family.  He could have told her he didn’t take the money. Instead, he wanted to make her dreams come true. She made him want to reform his conman ways.

better man

But Dmitri has no illusions. Even if he changed his ways, he knows nothing will happen between them.

Dimitri

So he leaves. He leaves because he knows that she needs more than he can give, she needs someone better. (Sound like someone else we know?)

you deserve better

Meanwhile, back at the ball Anastasia is being attacked by Rasputin. He has her down, and just when you think its over, Dimitri comes running in to save the day.

OMG

Yes! HE CAME BACK TO BE WITH HER! Even though it doesn’t make any sense. Even though coming back might not change anything, he DOES IT ANYWAY! Even though there is no guarantee that they will get together. Even though he knows she still might be angry with him and kick him to the curb. It doesn’t matter. He loves her so much he has to tell her how he feels. That’s so romantic!

So romantic!

So romantic!

And in the case of true love,  coming back always works out.

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He’s always been there for her.

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I Don’t Want the Money: It Happened One Night (1934)

Romantic Moment #7

it-happened-one-night

It Happened One Night (1934)

This is one of my all-time favorite romantic films. First of all it is by one of my favorite directors, Frank Capra, and fav actors; Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. I just love this trio, especially when they are all in one film.

Ellen “Ellie” Andrews (Colbert) is a spoiled heiress who is tired of living under her father’s restrictions. She married the first guy she could, fortune-hunting “King” Westley. Her father has sequestered Ellie until her can get her an annulment. She only has so long to get to New York  and reunite with King before the annulment is finalized. She escapes from the yacht that has been her prison and takes off, boarding a bus.

Peter Warne (Gable) is a journalist and on the outs with his boss. He needs a really great story, an exclusive, in order to make things right. He and Ellie end up sitting next to each other and Peter figures out who she is. He makes a bet with his editor (sound familiar?) that he has a great story, the best ever; and goes on to talk to Ellie. He gives her the option of him 1) going along with her and writing a heartfelt story about the power of love, etc or 2) he will turn her in and collect all the reward money. Needless to say Ellie chooses the first option.

Soon the two are partners in this endeavor. Ellie’s money and luggage are stolen and she has to rely on Peter to help her, since she has no clue what she’s doing. Later, Ellie gives a poor family  the rest of Peter’s money, leaving them completely broke until they can get to New York. They soon have to leave the bus as one of the other passengers recognizes her and they have to walk through the forest. Later they have to hitchhike, Colbert doing the famous “leg scene“. They get picked up, but then the guy tries to steal their luggage and Peter has to go after him. He comes back with their stuff and the guys, finding a place to stay. Throughout this adventure the two start to fall in love (the first film to do the “two who hate each other love each other in the end after being stuck with each other”). That night, Ellie tells Peter she loves him, but Peter doesn’t say anything. Instead, he waits until Ellie is asleep and takes off. He gets all the way to his editor in New York and sells him the story; wanting to tell Ellie how he feels but not wanting to do that with nothing to his name. He wants offer Ellie more than himself (although all Ellie wants is him not money or anything more.) Peter and the editor spend the night working on the story of his and Ellie’s adventures and their love. Meanwhile, Ellie wakes up to find Peter and the stuff gone. Thinking he walked out on her she calls her dad, who at this point is so happy to see her that he doesn’t care of she wants to marry the mimbo King, but will even throw her a new wedding, since he is so happy to have her back. Peter and Ellie pass each other, Peter on his way to see Ellie, and Ellie on her way off with King. Peter thinks Ellie didn’t want him and both are mad and hurt at the other. Ellie is about to have her wedding, but her father (who had met Peter) convinces Ellie that Peter loves her. He tells Ellie that he has everything ready for if she wants to take off. Ellie does and is reunited/married to Peter.

Favorite Romantic Moment:

Now this film has quite a few, but this is one of my favs. Ellie’s father is so thankful to have her safe and back in his life he decides that Peter should get the reward money. After all, if Ellie hadn’t had Peter she would have been molested by men on the bus (Peter saved her from them), starved (Peter gets her food, even digging up carrots when they had nothing), etc. Peter comes but instead he refuses. He doesn’t want a single thing, other than what he spent on Ellie.

crazy

Now I know that this is a movie cliché we see in lots of films, Pretty Woman, Anastasia, etc. (this was actually the first film to do this); but let’s think about the time this film takes place. 1934. That’s right, smack-dab in the middle of the Great Depression. I mean think about how bad the unemployment is right now. Imagining it? Well it is, at the worst as it depends by state, is 4.8%. In 1934, it was 21.7%. That’s really bad. So here is a guy who has no job as he not only was on the outs and fired in the first place, but then his exclusive story turned out to be naught. So here he is with no job, no money, and no options. But instead of taking the reward, thousands of dollars, he takes nothing. Only $39.60 as reimbursement.

So romantic!

So romantic!

He loves her so much that he can’t have their time and memories tainted. Instead he’d rather be poor. How romantic! He has honor, morals, and principles! ❤

Alexander Andrews: Oh, er, do you mind if I ask you a question, frankly? Do you love my daughter?

Peter Warne: Any guy that’d fall in love with your daughter ought to have his head examined.

Alexander Andrews: Now that’s an evasion!…Do you love her?

Peter Warne: A normal human being couldn’t live under the same roof with her without going nutty! She’s my idea of nothing!

Alexander Andrews: I asked you a simple question! Do you love her?

Peter Warne: YES! But don’t hold that against me, I’m a little screwy myself!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[as he walks Ellie down the aisle, Mr. Andrews talks to her]

Alexander Andrews: You’re a sucker to go through with this. That guy Warne is OK. He didn’t want the reward. All he asked for was $39.60, what he spent on you. Said it was a matter of principle. You took him for a ride. He loves you, Ellie. He told me so. You don’t want to be married to a mug like Westley; I can buy him off for a pot of gold. And you can make an old man happy and you won’t do so bad for yourself. If you change your mind, your car’s waiting at the back gate.

I LOVE this film!

For more on It Happened One Night check out My Favorite Movie Lines

For more on Frank Capra go to Bringing the World to Your Backyard

If you liked this post, check out On the 8th ‘Til of Christmas  and the 9th Day ‘Til Christmas