Anthropologist Helen Fisher says: “People live for love. They kill for love, they die for love. They have songs, poems, novels, sculptors, paintings, myths and legends.”



Next month, the “What A Character! Blogathon” will be in full swing and I’ll be writing about Peter Lorre. Last Friday, TCM showed “Mad Love.” In it, Lorre plays a surgeon who is in love with a married woman who needs his help…and nothing else. He’s got it bad for her, and that ain’t good. I found this scene disturbingly moving between Frances Drake and Peter Lorre. And as usual, Lorre plays on my pathos:


F.D.:  “He’s my husband. And I love him.”
P.L.:   “Is there no room in your heart…pity, for a man who has never known the love of a woman but who has worshipped you since the day he walked by that absurd little theatre.”
F.D.:  “Dr. Gogol, please!”
P.L.:   “But I can’t be silent any longer. You’re a woman. You must have known—”
F.D.:  “Yes yes I knew of your feelings for me. I traded on it. And since you saved Stephen I feel a deeper friendship for you than anybody. But I can give you nothing else in return.”
P.L.:  “Nothing?”
F.D.:  “Nothing. Even if I didn’t love him, there’s something about you that-”
P.L.:  “Repulses you.”
F.D.:  “Frightens me.”
P.L.:   You are cruel. But only to be kind.”

I felt so bad for him. The sad sad look on his face of rejection. Of course when he goes too far with buying a wax figure of her,  and his crazy get-up ( see the picture next month ), and then purposely sabotaging her pianist husband with a killer’s hands…I have to call a taxi to drive me off of this picture.

The way my cinematic stream-of-consciousness works, seeing this scene makes me think of other movies where love doesn’t quite go smoothly for the parties involved either because they just couldn’t help how they felt or couldn’t take “No” for an answer. Here are a couple of examples where this happens in films…and some advice I offer the cinematic Love-Lorn, which you may take…at your own risk. ( Titles are hot-linked for further information on each film ):

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UNREQUITED ( GONE WITH THE WIND )Vivien Leigh & Leslie Howard ~ The movie is just one big daisy chain of regret and unrequited love. Belle Watling loves Rhett, Rhett loves Scarlett, Scarlett loves Ashley, Ashley loves Melanie. (Mellie loves ev’rybody). Scarlett can have any man she wants except the one she wants. And Gable she has waiting in the wings? The wings!!!  Oh brother!

CineMaven’s Advice: Scarlet, ( and ladies reading this ) if you can’t get a straight clear-cut answer from your Ashley, run…don’t walk to the nearest Cap’n Butler. Don’t you know there’s a man shortage in Atlanta? It’s 1863 darlin’. 1863! You don’t need someone who’s on the fence.  Men like Rhett don’t grow on peach trees. Scoop him up!

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UNREQUITED ( RECKLESS MOMENT )Joan Bennett & James Mason ~ Mason is there to collect blackmail money from Bennett for her daughter’s indiscretion. But things backfire. Bennett’s thoroughly ensconced in suburbia. But something about her makes Mason want to help her. Oh I know what it is…he actually falls for her.

CineMaven’s Advice: She’s hunkered down in home and hearth. She’s got a lot of responsibility. And though she’s developing a little feeling for you too, you and I both know this is never going to work. She’s out of your league. But at least you know what to look for in a girl. Hey, It’s a good stretch for a man’s reach to exceed his grasp. ( Wear lifts….and get that girl! A different girl, though. )

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

UNREQUITED ( GREAT FLAMARION )Erich von Stroheim & Mary Beth Hughes ~ Nightclub sharp shooter von Stroheim has a successful act with Mary Beth as his assistant. Mary Beth wants von Stroheim…for his money when she’s really attracted to Dan Duryea, who’s really attracted to von Stroheim’s money. You think this is going to end well? Don’t you watch classic films?

CineMaven’s Advice: You had your heart closed off and just dealt with your career. But then you let her sweet talk you. You didn’t know any better; you’d never been in love. You broke me down when you were waiting for her for days like a school boy for that hotel rendezvous. You waited and waited and waited. Girls like her don’t fall for boys like you. But if it’d make you feel any better you can shoot Danny boy and the man she’s two-timing HIM with. Or just leave altogether; take a job in South America and don’t talk to any woman who speaks English.

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UNREQUITED ( LETTER-UNKNOWN WOMAN )Joan Fontaine & Louis Jourdan ~ A young girl falls head over heels for a pianist. It’s love at first sight. But only for her. It’s a one-way street. OUCH! Didn’t see that coming, didja? And you thought a one-way street was safer.

CineMaven’s Advice: Listen, don’t live your life as if it’s a dream. If he doesn’t know who you really are, or doesn’t want to know who you really are, then walk away. Yeah that’s right. Even if he looks as drop dead gorgeous as Louis. Unless you can hit it and quit it, you can always stare at him as you moonwalk away. Being the narcissist that he is, he is probably looking at you from his rear-view mirror any way. Good riddance. Say ‘Au revoir’ ladies.

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UNREQUITED ( WRITTEN on WIND )Dorothy Malone & Rock Hudson ~ Dot plays a girl in love with a man who’s not in love with her. She’s determined to have him. It always works out when you try to make someone love you…said no one EVER!!

CineMaven’s Advice: She’s the life of the party, but it’s only to hide her unrequited heart. Be self-aware, ladies. Recognize the signs, gals. I don’t know if the best way to go about easing a broken heart is by sleeping with every other man in sight. First accept that he doesn’t love you. Then love and value yourself. And then sleep with every other man in sight until you find the right one. See, that’s the ticket. Don’t you feel better washing that man right outta your hair?

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THE THIRD MAN” ( 1949 )
UNREQUITED ( THIRD MAN-II )Joseph Cotten & Alida Valli ~ Cotten learns a few lessons when uncovering the mystery of his long-lost friend in war-torn Europe. And he meets a girl who’s a mystery herself. Happily ever after? Uhhh…don’t count on it.

CineMaven’s Advice: Fellas, with all the girls out here you’ve got to go fall for the girl who likes your friend? No. The girl will never like you. Set your net for other fish in that great big, blue, unattached, unobsessed, environmentally-protected sea.


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UNREQUITED ( PARADINE CASE )Gregory Peck & Alida Valli ~ Hitchcock has got the court system by the throat. Peck defends Mrs. Paradine ( Valli ) accused of murdering her blind, older, rich husband. An open and shut case, wouldn’t you say?

CineMaven’s Advice: A lawyer doesn’t need to believe his client’s guilt or innocence in order to defend her. But you think falling in love with her is good juris prudence. You’d be wrong Counsellor. You’d be very wrong. Get another case; even if she is beautiful…and…mysterious…and withholding…and has dead eyes. I know, I know…but catnip does not an acquittal make.

Men want to save her, but just do yourself a favor and stay away from Alida Valli. Sheesh!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

THE BIRDS” ( 1963 )

Suzanne Pleshette & Tippi Hedren ~ What starts out as one thing, turns into something else. Don’t you hate when that happens? A cute little prank with lovebirds out in Bodega Bay wreaks all manner of unexplained ornithological havoc. That’s Hitchcock for you. That’s all you need to know. All I know is handsome Rod Taylor has mommy issues and ex-girlfriend issues when ice blonde Hedren ‘tips’ into town.

CineMaven’s Advice: This shot says it all re: the scales tip, weighing in favor of potential new girlfriend while the ex-girlfriend is being replaced. The rug is pulled out from under your heart. Yeh, my heart breaks for Suzanne here, suffering in silence; staying in the town after the romance is gone. If that phone call doesn’t do it, nothing will. But if you have any solf-respecting strength left, fly. Just fly away. There are teaching jobs everywhere. And trust me, you won’t have problems finding a man. You’re smart, attractive and employable.

Let me get a “Whoot! Whoot!” for Hitch while you pack your bags.

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Edward G. Robinson & Joan Bennett ~ A meek little man gets in the path of a steam rolling vixen…and is ground to dust. Eddie G. is like a moth to Bennett’s blow-torching sexuality in this dark Fritz Lang tale. He gives in to her in ev’ry way until it costs him everything. ( Uhhh boy, see “The Great Flamarion” above ).

CineMaven’s Advice: Men…be honest with yourself. Do you really think you can pull a gal like 1940’s Joan Bennett? If you do, more power to you. ( I’m scared-o’ you! ) But if you have the least little inkling…the slightest doubt that she doesn’t care for you, head for the hills. That guy she says is just her “friend” is really The Other Man. Wait a sec. YOU are The Other Man. And the patsy. Now get out of the way and go get a hobby or something. But if you find contempt and disdain suitable aphrodisiacs, go for it!

If you see Dan Duryea or any facsimile of a Dan Duryea ANYWHERE on the scene, you have to walk away. It’s like this; if the girl you like, likes Dan Duryea…she’s just as blind as you, and who needs the blind leading the blind? Eddie G. should have listened to that ‘little man’ inside him. I taught him everything he knows.

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James Stewart & Kim Novak ~ Kim’s role-playing gets her into all sorts of trouble. See, she can’t get Jimmy Stewart to love her for her real self. So she’ll change back to…oh, just see the movie.

CineMaven’s Advice: If I could talk to Judy I would tell her that she should only love some one who loves her for herself. But then again, who are we, anyway? If she gets the man she loves by pretending to be someone else for him, who does it harm. She’s still got him, the man she loves. Besides, SHE knows she’s Judy. Know thyself. You are still you, even if you do dye your hair. ( But honestly ask yourself: do those shoes really go with your outfit??? )

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Celeste Holm & Gregory Peck ~ Peck is a journalist who pretends to be Jewish to get the full Monty on what this anti-Semitism thing is all about. The bad thing is, everyone around him is touched by this story in one way or another. They all didn’t sign up for that…

CineMaven’s Advice: Celeste Holm is a doll in this! She’s a stylish, smart, working gal. She has a quip and a martini always at the ready. But being such a wiseacre only ensures her adding five more years of her life to being single. Smart girls never find love. Even when they share the same world-view as the Man in question, they never find love. Some men like shiny pretty objects, so he might not pick you. But check it…the smart man will find you. And you will find him. Now remember, you’ve got a dead-line to meet, some martinis to make and a dinner party to host. ( Smart girls can multi-task! )

A well-deserved Oscar for Celeste Holm. Her self-possession was a sexy sight to behold!

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Fay Wray & King Kong ~ Fay plays a small-time actress who goes with an indie producer on a film shoot…to an unchartered island…where the islanders use human sacrifice…for a gigantic ape. And the ape takes a liking…to Fay.

CineMaven’s Advice: Aren’t these two photos just a sad metaphor for Love? First, you’re in control of the situation, though I don’t recommend tying up the girl ( or man ) you love
( without having a “safe” word ). But you’re in control…or at least in control of your emotions; you have the upper hand as it were. And then later…in love… you’re hog-tied, put on display, trussed up for the world to see…he’s mine. What good is being the Eighth Wonder of the World, if you cannot have the girl you want? To all you Kongs out there: Stay away from humans! You can’t trust ’em!

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UNREQUITED ( ATTACK OF FIFTY FOOT WOMAN )Allison Hayes can’t alleviate the heartache of knowing her husband ( HARRY! ) is unfaithful to her and wants her just for her money. ( She picked him, which is what Judge Judy would say ). While drowning in alcohol and driving in day-for-night shots, she is attacked by an extra-terrestrial alien (who looks suspiciously like the fifty foot man) who swoops down on her convertible and steals her pearls. The kerfuffle with the giant causes her grave injury. She starts growing…

CineMaven’s Advice: Who says big girls don’t cry. They do. But they also get angry, and when Nancy Archer ( Allison Hayes ) cries me a river, it’s pretty much Niagara Falls. My advice to Nancy is to forget Harry.  Get yourself another… no, that’s not going to happen. You’re a statuesque thing. You can do anything you set your set mind to. #ALLGIANTSMATTER!

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UNREQUITED ( NOTTI BIANCHE )Marcello Mastroianni & Maria Schell ~ Is this movie just a fool-hardy exercise for how we love? Fall IN love? Maria’s got her sights set on a man who may or may not ( does he even exist? ) ever come back to her. And Marcello falls in love with her; or is it her vulnerability and sadness that attracts him. He gives it the good ol’ college try to win over a girl who loves someone else. Tsk! That’s going to hurt like walking into an open manhole. ( SMH )

CineMaven’s Advice: Here’s another case of being the savior, protector, the caretaker. He wants to SAVE her. I wonder if humans just simply WANT the thing they can’t have.
<<< Sigh! >>> I see this time and time again in movies. In “Le Notti…” we see what faith in love looks like when it works…and when that is all wrong and misguided. If she loves somebody else, you really have to sadly walk away. It’s Fool’s Gold you’re pursuing if you stay. Read Fernando’s review here.

(( Good movie suggestion, Karin. ))

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NOTORIOUS” ( 1946 )

Claude Rains ~ I’ve heard it sang that it’s a fool that plays it cool. So which is better? To be a good guy and not tell the girl you love her, or be a berry berry berry bad man and be in love with the girl. That Nazi sympathizer thing…few women understand that. And then there’s your Mother.  << Horrors! >>

CineMaven’s Advice: This is Claude Rains’ dilemma. And I pity the guy. But maybe that’s just the majestic power of Claude Rains that makes me feel sorry for him. It’s tough, but he has to walk away. I know, who can walk away from Ingrid Bergman? ( Everyone is not Bogie who has to see the big picture!  ) But you have to. She’s really NOT the girl for you. First, you’re competing with Cary Grant, and that’s just shooting fish in a barrel. ( Pssst! YOU are the fish! ) And though it’s important that you love the person you love, it’s equally important that she loves you. Without that, you’re pretty much out for the count. She’s just not that into you. And I think you know that.

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 “CITY LIGHTS” ( 1931 )    A TALE OF TWO CITIES” ( 1935 )


I haven’t seen these two movies in their entireties, but I know of them and Chaplin and Colman seem to be in the same boat of trying to help a girl they love, who just doesn’t love them the same way. ( Thanks for the movie suggestions, Wendy. )

No doubt it all just plain hurts. If you have any sage advice for these love-lorn, please leave a comment below. Thanx!

[ See this TED TALK by anthropologist Helen Fisher about what is ROMANTIC LOVE. You’ll be surprised. ]

(  H O M E  )


10 thoughts on “. . . LOVES ME NOT.

  1. What a treat, Theresa! In the guise of a casual, light-hearted chat, you make a number of important points about life, as well as movies. Interesting to see two Bennetts, two Vallis, two Ophuls, and two Hitchcocks. And the range of films is wonderful, from masterpieces to poverty row! I do feel, though, that The Reckless Moment just barely fits into the topic; Lucia does develop strong feelings for Martin, even if she can’t express them until it is too late. Also, thank you for the Helen Fisher lecture. I’ll be going back to that again. All in all, great start to a Sunday morning before driving to Inwood for the expression and gratification of a different kind of Love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bob…my hero. Thanks for reading. I know “THE RECKLESS MOMENT” might be a little of a stretch; strong feelings do develop. But I say, what good are feelings if they can’t be totally acted out. If you can’t be with the one you love for class issues or gender issues or racial issues ( “The Children’s Hour” “Roman Holiday” etc. ) It’s not truly unrequited love. But I gave myself just a little leeway with that, surrounded with my other stronger examples. Helen Fisher’s lecture I listened to several times. Helps me understand myself a little more. Thanks for reading. Now…go enjoy your family.


  2. Marvin.Go see Mary Poppins; you won't be sorry, and Victor, Victoria as well! See you at Gee Whiz. on said:

    An excellent article as usual. Oh that Kong! Here’s one you might like: Brightleaf with Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal and Lauren Bacall.Bacall loves Cooper, Cooper loves Neal and Neal loves, well no one really but she is compelled to get vengeance on Cooper for destroying her father played beautifully by Donald Crisp! Another good one is The Fountainhead with Cooper, Neal and Raymond Massey. I’d tell ya all about it buuut its pretty obvious and besides its better if you see it for yourself. Oh yes, read the book as well. P.S. I do love big women but 50′, I don’t think so! Oh yeah, here’s one more; Trapeze with Lancaster (love him,) Curtis and LolaBrigida! T, we have to talk!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Marv. Where you been, man? Thanx for the suggestions of “Bright Leaf” and “The Fountainhead.” I know “The Fountainhead” very well. Either someone is loving someone who will never love them, someone resisting and fighting the love they feel for the person they love and someone just kicking back and getting his way all the time as he waits for the world to come to him. Love that film. Donald Crisp, a good guy? Ha! I just saw him beat the bejesus outta of Lillian Gish in the Silent “Broken Blossoms“!! Whew! He’s lucky he ever made it to talkies being so mean back then. “Trapeze” is another one? Boy, we DO need to talk. I don’t know my cinematic unrequited loves like I thought I did. Let me know when we can get together.


  3. Flamarion! What a schmuck! What a schlemiel! What an ultra maroon! Yet, somehow, I can’t help feeling for the guy. It’s almost too easy to say “cut your losses and run”. Why if I hadn’t tacked that extra year of stalking onto my romantic plans, I wouldn’t be married 27 years and counting. Isn’t that right, honey? Oh, that’s right – time to open the cage door so he can get an airing.

    Love is a funny thing, isn’t it? No accounting for taste. The heart wants what the heart wants. We make all sorts of excuses when we don’t want to do the sensible thing. Yelling at movie characters about their poor choices is like yelling at umpires with high strike zones. It doesn’t get us anywhere, but the release is mighty. This is an excellent and fun article that takes the weeps out of the weepies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flamarion…I know. But who can REALLY get out of the way of Mary Beth Hughes. I felt for the poor maroon. So you approve of stalking as a method of snaring the one you love. I must try that. Thanxx for that tip!!! ( Cage? Holy sh….. ) I do agree that the heart wants what the heart wants and when we can’t get it, we just have to learn to live with that hole in our heart. It’s better than going to jail for assault. But I yell because I love. NOthing can help these movie characters. As many times as I have seen these movies, Peck and Novak and Celeste and Kong et al keep making the same mistakes. But if my yelling can save one real human being’s poor heart, the yelling is worth it.

      Thanks for commenting. YOU are a pistol, Paddy!!! L0L!


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