Since some people began making movies, other people have been willing to pay money to see movies. Meanwhile, still other people, in ever increasing numbers, have been pitching ideas to movie producers to get them to fork over big bucks so they might cash in by means of creating the idea for a new movie project. A standard line from a pitch — you know, to give the guys in the suits an idea of what the movie is about — might begin like this: Boy meets Girl!!
After the boy meets the girl, and they get close, some sort of conflict occurs, and this drives the story forward. So much for the theory of how a story goes, now let’s have a look at some cinematic boy meets girl stories that have various conflicts, but in our examples, the stories always end less than successfully, especially for the guy.
Way back in 1942, on Thanksgiving Day, a film opened in a New York theater, and today, more than sixty years later, this movie is still considered one of the greatest films of all time. The title is Casablanca and the leads were Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Bogie portrayed Rick, an American who ran a night club in Casablanca, Morocco, during World War II. Bergman was Ilsa, Rick’s lover from a past romance in Paris.
As WWII made the world a dangerous place, Rick was divorced from any commitments or romantic relationships. Yvonne, a cute French bar girl approaches Rick early in the film:
Yvonne: Where were you last night?
Rick: That’s so long ago, I don’t remember.
Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?
Rick: I never make plans that far ahead…
Seventy-five minutes of viewing time later, as Ilsa flies off into the fog, Rick is left behind in Casablanca, having honored love even against his own interests. Moments later, the film ends with Rick walking off into the mist with Claude Rains‘ Captain Renault, a self-described corrupt public official, the two of them planning a future starting with a pair of Letters of Transit.
Just two years later, in 1944, movie viewers were delighted to watch another noir classic, Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity. Fred MacMurray portrayed the insurance salesman Walter Neff who fell hook, line, and sinker for Barbara Stanwyck’s femme fatale Phyllis Dietrichson.
Neff was no angel, but he was no match for the shrewd, manipulative, and calculating Dietrichson. After Edward G Robinson’s clever Claims Manager Barton Keyes finally pieces together the nearly perfect crime and confronts them, Stanwyck wraps it up for us:
I loved you, Walter, and I hated him.
But I wasn’t going to do anything about it.
Not until I met you. You planned the whole thing,
I only wanted him dead.
So once again a film ends with a guy who got in way over his head. He became a man holding the wrong end of the stick — this time a murder rap.
In a film without any real violence, but no less cruel, let’s consider the often overlooked film from 1972 — The Heartbreak Kid. Charles Grodin played Lenny, a man who, three days into his honeymoon with his voluptuous bride Lila, decided to go after the gorgeous blonde Kelly, played by Cybill Shepherd.
Certainly a nice choice, but ultimately this was a bad decision.
Lenny was shallow, selfish, and despicable. He’d do anything — lie, cheat, deceive, and hurt anyone — to achieve his goals. This time he’d dump his new bride to pursue the blonde goddess of his dreams. But as the film ends, and Lenny has won his dream woman, we are left thinking that he really doesn’t find it the least bit satisfying.
Moving forward, in 1987, we watched as Michael Douglas’s Dan Gallagher meets Glenn Close’s Alex Forest in Fatal Attraction. For the guy, it was a one-night stand. He was married and loved his wife. But he couldn’t turn down what came his way. But for the woman, it was a lot more:
Dan: You’re so sad. You know that, Alex? Lonely and very sad.
Alex: Don’t you ever pity me, you smug bastard!
Dan: I’ll pity you. I’ll pity you. I’ll pity you because you’re sick.
Alex: Why? Because I won’t allow you treat me like some slut you can bang a couple of times and throw in the garbage?
This affair left him with more than a simple hand full of trouble as he literally had to run for his life because Alex, his paramour, refused to be ignored.
And that brings us to our last “Boy meets Girl” themed movie. It is in your local multiplex movie theater right now. I’m talking about the 2005 hit directed by Peter Jackson, King Kong. Here we have a spectacular movie about a male (Kong) who literally lost everything he had over a dame.
As Joe Black’s Carl Denham surmises at the end of the film:
It wasn’t the airplanes —
it was beauty that killed the beast.
When you allow your little head, downstairs, to decide matters, instead of leaving it to the guy upstairs in your big head, you may regret it. Yes guys, often we end up on the wrong side of the transaction.
We get what we want, and it turns out we really didn’t want it after all. Or we give her up because we are the good guys: ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. One way or another, when boy meets girl it is often a big mistake.
On the other hand, here at The Arts, our dream girls are never a mistake for us. Due to the magic of the digital arts, we can look at the pictures and read about some women, looking their best, over and over with no chance of them making a monkey out of us.
So when you regulalrly visit our site, you can have the personal experience of a visually meeting more than a few girls of your dreams. Maybe I should rephrase that to – visually meeting the stuff that dreams are made of; and when the meeting ends there will be absolutely no tears, no heartache, and for sure, as time goes by, as years go by, not even a hint of any regret.