Monday, April 29, 2019

Meet Cutes on TCM in May

Tuesdays this May on Turner Classic Movies are going to be dedicated to "meet cutes" in films. If you are a fan of classic movies, chances are good that you are familiar with the term "meet cute." For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a meet cute is a scene in a movie in which two characters who will eventually be romantically involved meet for the first time, often under unusual circumstances.

The term "meet cute" is not a new one, as it goes back decades. That having been said, its origins are obscure. The book Some Like It Wilder: The Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder by Gene Phillips indicates that in a meeting with writers Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett regarding the film Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938), director Ernst Lubitch told the two writers that the hero and heroine of the film should not meet as couples ordinarily do, but that they should "meet cute." By 1941 the term was established well enough for Anthony Boucher to use it in his novel The Case of the Solid Key (and to use it twice, no less). The first time the term appears in the novel, the character Sarah says, "We met cute, as they say in story conferences, but people don't live cute." The character of Norman later uses the phrase, saying, "As she said, we met cute." Since the Forties, the term "meet cute" has become the common term for any any time two characters who will be romantically involved meet for the first time in an unusual manner in a film. Of course, meet cutes were a well-established cliche in romantic comedies even before Ernst Lubitsch may have used the term, with plenty of examples to be found as early as the Thirties.

With so many movies featuring meet cutes over the years, TCM had many films they could have chosen to feature on Tuesday in May. Among these are some of my favourites, including  It Happened One Night (1934), Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, My Man Godfrey (1936), Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), A Girl, a Guy and a Gob (1941), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), Sunday in New York (1963), and Viva Las Vegas (1964), among many others. Each Tuesday is devoted to a different era of meet cutes, including First Encounters on May 7 (movies from the Thirties), Second Base on May 14 (movies from the Forties), Mid-Century Meet Cutes on May 21 (movies from the Sixties), and Modern Love (more recent films).

I am sure many of my fellow romantic comedy fans will be tuning into TCM on Tuesday nights. I know I will (I think I can watch romantic comedies now without crying...).


Caftan Woman said...

Good idea for a spotlight. Phyllis Loves Classic Movies hosted The First Annual Valentine's Day Meet-Cute Blogathon this year. TCM will give me some ideas for next year.

Phyl said...