Plot: What’s it about?
About the last thing that you might expect to see when the credits of A Little Romance open up is the ever-familiar sight of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as they’re about to jump off the cliff as they’re being pursued by Lafours. Granted, there is something a little different about it in the sense that the English subtitles are shown and the badly-voiced French voices are heard, but when you consider that George Roy Hill directed both of them, it’s not that shocking at all. But Daniel (Thelonius Bernard) watches lots of movies, most of them American. Everything from True Grit to The Sting (ironically enough, another film directed by George Roy Hill). We then meet Lauren (Diane Lane in her screen debut), an American student in Paris (not to be confused with the movie) and as fate would have it, start a little romance…
The trouble with these two kids is that they’re, in fact, just that – kids. They try and create a relationship based on what they see in movies and based on what they see adults do, but at heart (and physically), they’re adolescents and don’t know what to do and how to act with one another. This is when they meet Julius (Lawrence Olivier), a pickpocket and semi-thief who entertains them and with his joking, tries to get them through the difficulties of life. Naturally, there is a barrier, one that will prevent Lauren and Daniel from trying to become closer together. She leaves Paris when the Summer is and to culminate their relationship, the three plan a journey to Venice. Naturally, this is no fairy tale and being set in the late 70’s, there is trouble with Lauren’t parents (played by Sally Kellerman and Arthur Hill). This sheds a little light on what Lauren is really like and why she feels so strongly about Daniel.
This is a bit of a different review, but then again, it’s a different type of movie. George Roy Hill, who only recently just passed away, was better-known for his films with Paul Newman, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting and a personal favorite of mine, Slap Shot. This film was made in between the latter two and it’s a pleasure to watch. Lane, in her screen debut landed on the cover of Time magazine for her role here and the chemistry between the three leads is hard to deny. Naturally, it’s hard to picture Sir Lawrence Oliver in a romantic movie since he was in one of the better ones made, Wuthering Heights, but this works fine for him and it’s clear that he had a fun time doing the movie with his child actors. A Little Romance is the kind of movie that has been replaced by run of the mill, cookie-cutter teen movies and most likely won’t be made again (or for a long time). Though only twenty-five years old, it feels new as the themes of love don’t often deter from our most basic instincts. A Little Romance is a film that might have slipped under the radar, but might just be one I watch again from time to time. Perhaps you will too.
Video: How does it look?
As George Roy Hill was often fond of using 2.35:1 films in his career, this is no exception. The colors are a bit muted, as per the time period (and the the colors of Paris are never really that bright), but the framing and the way the film was shot makes it all worthwhile. The transfer, good as it is, does seem a bit dated as some grain and scratches do make an appearance from time to time; but on the whole there’s not a lot to say here. Flesh tones look decent, though a bit burned out from time to time and though this might not stack up too well against today’s transfers, this looks better than most movies of its age.
Audio: How does it sound?
A standard Dolby Digital mono track is used, which was a bit surprising considering the film won an Academy Award for Best Score, you’d figure they would want to show it off a little more! In any case, though the film is mono, dialogue is very clear and the very bright, cheerful flute (heard prominently in the score) will stick in your head long after the closing credits have rolled. Though the range is a bit limited, there’s really nothing to complain about when it comes to how the movie sounds.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A new interview with Diane Lane is included titled "Remembering Romance with Diane Lane" as she tells of the shoot and working with "Lord Larry", what Lawrence Oliver wanted to be called. She obviously has fond memories of the shoot and tells us how the film changed her life as she was now on the path to a career. Some text-based Production Notes, Cast and Crew bios and a theatrical trailer are also included. Lastly, a gallery of old posters for the film is also included. A Little Romance is a cheerful, bright film that has been overlooked. Somewhat of a "diamond in the rough", I found it a nice treat to watch and recommend this DVD to all fans of the film.