Top 5: Classic Film Couples I “Ship”

No, Garbo and Gilbert aren’t on this list. This is just a bit of fluff to waste away a Thursday. Here are some movie couples I find myself (unabashedly) “shipping”.

Victor and Ilsa- Casablanca

Alright, I know the popular answer is to say Rick and Ilsa. Yes, I know they’re absolutely adorable together. I was even on that bandwagon myself for a long time. However, in my old age I’ve developed a fondness for the dashing revolutionary as played by Paul Henried. Do you want the passionate, vibrant man with the purpose in Victor? Or would you choose the embittered, alcoholic, man desperately in need of fixing in Rick? I choose to believe Louis is actually Rick’s perfect match. Let Victor and Lisa make it work.

Nick and Nora Charles- The Thin Man series

This list includes the host of films William Powell and Myrna Loy made together during their lengthy on-screen career. Particularly adorable is their run as Nick and Nora in all of The Thin Man Movies. The couple’s chemistry is top notch, allowing the two of them to play not only the physical aspect of the relationship, but also the emotional. They are such an even match that you’re pulled in to every aspect of their relationship. They’re fun, believable and you just want these kids to continue making it work.

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Fred and Ginger- Their Entire Filmography

Like William Powell and Myrna Loy above, Fred and Ginger worked together for a number of films in the years spanning their careers. The relationships vary, but these kids usually end up together. Probably what pulls me in through each of these films is how their chemistry is expressed through dance. While well choreographed dance numbers are not an anomaly in Hollywood, Fred and Ginger have an undeniable physical and (at some level, sexual) chemistry which is visible in their dances. It comes across like fireworks on the screen. The blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes fade away, leaving you with just the beauty of the dance number.

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“The Doctor” and Norma- Hold That Ghost

This is a bit of a deep cut, unless you’re familiar with the work of comedians Abbott and Costello. In fact, there are multiple couples I could use in this adorable comedy.

I’ve spoken repeatedly about my fondness for Richard Carlson. He’s flipping cute. I’m not gonna lie. In this film, his character (known only as “The Doctor”) is paired with Norma (Evelyn Ankers). While the couple are barely developed, they are too adorable to not root for. They have a very subtle chemistry which comes across on screen, and they are meant to end up together.

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Johnny and Gilda- Gilda

I had to add this one… I first watched Gilda in a Women in Film class, and it was this movie which first opened my eyes to my passion research area of gender studies in classic cinema. In fact, after watching this, I dove head first into an honors thesis examining Glenn Ford films as a lens through which to view masculinity of the post-WWII era.

Johnny and Gilda are not our most productive couple. In fact, it’s straight-up problematic. However, the chemistry between Ford and Hayworth just explodes off the screen. It’s rough, it’s passionate and the bits between the fights must be the peak of euphoric highs.

Ultimately, there are hundreds of film couples to root for in the history of Hollywood. Who are some of your favourites?

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