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1948, Paramount, 86 min, USA, Dir: Max Ophüls

Was there ever a more swooningly romantic film than Max Ophüls’ American masterpiece? This is a love story that sidesteps all the sentimental Hollywood contrivances too often afflicting movie romances of the era. Shy young Lisa (Joan Fontaine) grows into womanhood while nurturing a lifelong love-from-afar for debonair composer and worldly lothario Stefan Brand (Louis Jourdan), who lives upstairs in her building. Even after she enjoys a brief tryst with Brand, Lisa’s dreams seem destined to evaporate into thin air. Ophüls’ device of Brand, finally learning of Lisa’s deep feelings from a letter to him as he readies for a duel at dawn, bookends the narrative with a tragic anguish that is extremely moving.

1959, 20th Century Fox, 121 min, USA, Dir: Jean Negulesco

This adaptation of the Rona Jaffe bestseller follows the lives and loves of three young women (Hope Lange, Diane Baker and Suzy Parker) who share a Manhattan apartment and work together at a publishing house under demanding boss Joan Crawford. Beautifully shot by William C. Mellor, this delectable romantic drama brought composer Alfred Newman an Oscar nomination for the title song, and served as partial inspiration for the series “Mad Men.” Costarring Stephen Boyd, Louis Jourdan and future producer Robert Evans.

1958, Warner Bros., 119 min, USA, Dir: Vincente Minnelli

Director Vincente Minnelli’s GIGI is an absolutely delightful, spirited musical adaptation of Colette's novel about a sweet young girl (Leslie Caron) trained by her aunt for the world's oldest profession in turn-of-the-century Paris. Winner of nine Oscars including Best Picture. With Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan.

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