Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)
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as Angie Rossini
as Rocky Papasano
as Dominick Rossini
as Anthony Colombo
as Julio Rossini
as Mama Rossini
as Guido Rossini
as Mrs. Papasano
as Elio Papasano
as Woman Doctor
as Mrs. Colombo
as The Priest
as Negro Boy
as Call Boy
as Flower Vendor
as Truck Driver
as Call Boy
as Young Man
Critic Reviews for Love with the Proper Stranger
Fortunately the film survives these shortcomings through its sheer breezy good nature and the animal magnetism of its two stars.
Familiar in theme, but given a delightfully fresh flavour by Mulligan's atmospherically low-key direction, excellent performances from Wood and McQueen, and vivid location shooting in New York's Little Italy.
Not perfect, but touching and adult; with fine work from the two leads, this is one of Mulligan's better films.
Exemplifies the lacerating realism that cinema had just barely invented.
Audience Reviews for Love with the Proper Stranger
What on the surface may be construed as a typical 1960's romantic comedy is a great film with real weight. First off, as Natalie Wood's character has to stand up to her annoying brothers, who are over-protective and try to coerce her into a relationship with a nice guy played by Tom Bosley of all people (Mr. Cunningham from 'Happy Days'), it has a strong feminist message. Secondly, the film asks questions about the biggest things in life - is there such a thing as romantic love, or does lust obscure everything? And should one just settle in marriage, because, as a minor character so wisely puts it at a dinner party, "love is really an art, and like every other art, it demands practice and patience, consistent dedication and hard work." Lastly, and this is the biggest thing, the film shows what it meant to try to get an abortion before it was legal. You see, very early on in the film, Natalie Wood has told Steve McQueen that she's pregnant as a result of their one-night stand. That leads up to an extended sequence trying to get an abortion in an abandoned apartment which is horrifying, not because they "show" anything, but because it is so gritty and real, and filled with psychological pain. So here it is that you have this film with a beautiful couple with great chemistry, Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen, and you're in an emotional drama, and yet, it's one that has a sense of lightness about it, because of the strong performances they turn in, both of them delicately finding this balance. You have to love Wood's character at so many turns, as she consistently strives to find her own path in life, and her own voice. What an amazing film this is for 1963, and how timely it was seeing it in January, 2016, ominously showing what getting an abortion would be like in America if Roe v. Wade was overturned, and we went backwards during the Trump regime.
Now this is a good bit of acting. The addressing of the abortion issue is very telling for its era. It is likely that this type of drama paved the way for film makers to take more chances and emerge from the rather grey 50s. Natalie Wood and McQueen are very solid.
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