Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: SWEET NOVEMBER, with Sandy Dennis

Forget the remake.  The original 1968 movie, Sweet November, is the forgotten classic to see.  A Thanksgiving movie too.

Sandy Dennis is perfect for the Bohemian Sara, whose hobby is to reform mankind, one man at a time, a man a month.

Anthony Newley plays the workaholic owner of a box business.  A chance meeting with Sandy Dennis results in an offer for a month affair, to begin on the first of November and end at midnight on the 30th.

Newley is physically attracted to her, and desires her as a conquest.  He thinks that maybe a week of sex with her will do fine.  He arranges for his office to send him a telegram at her address so that he might get away cleanly, but when the telegram arrives, he decides to stay on.  Of course, he begins to fall in love with her.

It turns out that Sandy Dennis has men fall in love with her every month.  She pulls this role off nicely.  This was her best movie and it stands the test of time.  Sentimental?  A tear-jerker?  Well, yes, but the movie tells deep universal truths, and one is that we are all temporary in this vale.  We should all live life as if it were a thing borrowed, to quote Marcus Aurelius, and live in the moment, be thankful for each day, yet another day in paradise.

We should love truly, madly, deeply, all we can while we can.  True love is not selfish and possessive.  It lets go when it is best to let go.  When lovers part, true love continues on.  When one spouse dies or we die, we live on in them and they in us.  As Pulitzer Prize winning author Douglas Hofstadter says, love can become kind of mind meld for lovers who share their lives over many years.

Sweet November is just a delightful movie, very unrealistic in particular but very true in parable.  It is a romantic comedy with one of the best Thanksgiving scenes ever, before or since.  Watch it this month with someone you love.


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