British bridezillas?
April 4, 2010 5:30 PM   Subscribe

American films from Hollywood seem to have played a huge part in crafting the ideas of conventional romance and marriage we hold today, especially with a huge fairytale white wedding as the happily ever after. But what about movies from the other side of the pond?

Can anyone recommend British movies from before 1960 that have engagement, wedding planning, and weddings as a large part of the plot? I'm really interested in how marriage was popularly conceived in Britain the first half of the twentieth century and how it may have changed and would greatly appreciate any suggestions.
posted by erstwhile ungulate to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The emphasis on weddings and happily-ever-afters predates American romantic comedies by at least a few hundred years. I would point out the novels of Jane Austen as evidence; novels whose entire existence hinges on women finding a man to marry and live happily ever after.

On the other hand, there are lots of British films that fall loosely in the romantic genre that don't entirely follow that pattern. For example:

The Red Shoes
Wuthering Heights
That Hamilton Woman
Brief Encounter

Now on preview I realize you're actually looking for conventional romances from Britain ... OK

Pride and Prejudice (Thank you Jane Austen)
Wedding Rehearsal
The Importance of Being Earnest
A Matter of Life and Death (sort of a stretch since it doesn't have any talk of weddings really but it's totally a "love conquers all" type of narrative, plus it's awesome)
posted by wabbittwax at 7:46 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's a tricky question, since romance pre-WW2 British cinema is often filtered through either historical adaptation or melodrama -- or through Noël Coward. Brief Encounter is the obvious (semi-) contemporary point of reference, but as wabbittwax says, it's hardly conventional.
posted by holgate at 10:05 PM on April 4, 2010

Can't think of any pre-1960, but if you want a later comparison...

The obvious one for me is Confetti.

Billy Liar has engagement as a big part of the plot - in fact, many British New Wave films do.
posted by mippy at 2:31 PM on April 5, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you all so much for the recommendations. I can't wait to check them out.
posted by erstwhile ungulate at 10:38 PM on April 5, 2010

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