Many people would consider a great love story one where a couple falls in love, undergoes misunderstandings, tragedy, and/or hardships, (possibly being separated) and then come together and get married: TheEend. (Alternately, i.e. Romeo and Juliet, death separates the lovers.)
But “the end” is the beginning of the love story. That is why I believe the greatest love stories involve couples who are already married.
My three picks: The Scarlett Pimpernel (1934 Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon); Random Harvest (1942 Ronald Coleman, Greer Garson); and Make Way for Tomorrow (1937 Victor Moore, Beulah Bondi).
The first two I wrote about in this very context 11 years ago in this space: http://bethunecatholic.blogspot.com/2005/01/love-stories.html
The last I mentioned briefly about just a year ago.
We watched Make Way for Tomorrow again last night. Orson Welles said about it: “Oh my God, that’s the saddest movie ever made! It would make a stone cry!”
It is the story of a couple married for 50 years who have fallen on hard times and have to go live “temporarily”, but separately 300 miles apart, with two of their children. Of course all things temporary become permanent if there is no plan.
Near the end, they reunite for a few hours and go on a date-reliving the happiness and failures of their 50 years of marriage. The “date” is captivating.
One of the best scenes of acting I have ever watched without dialog occurs at the end, performed by Beulah Bondi – who was in her 40’s at the time playing a 70 year-old woman.
It was reissued on DVD a few years ago. We borrowed it from the library. Roger Ebert gives it a 4/4. The Criterion Collection calls it: "one of the great unsung Hollywood masterpieces". The director of MWfT, Leo McCarey, won his first Oscar that same year for The Awful Truth (Cary Grant, Irene Dunne). However, he commented that he got the Oscar for the wrong movie. I agree.
Do see it.
Oremus pro invicem!