Baldwin: ‘Love Story’ celebrates golden anniversary

Greetings lovebirds and cinephiles of Winchester!

We are one week from Valentine’s Day and our senses are being overloaded with red and pink advertisements and heart-shaped candy boxes on store shelves. Roses are the flower du jour at florists, and oversized stuffed animals sit waiting to be purchased, so come Feb. 15, they can take up closet space after the obligatory thrill of V-day has passed.

Real love is not about goosebumps, googly eyes and that feeling of close obsession when a couple are first together. That is infatuation and not love at all.

Real love is built over time, conquering challenges, tackling tragedies and the perseverance to get through each day together without giving up.

Some are not lucky enough to experience a relationship besides familial that lasts that long, especially nowadays where society accepts the act of divorce as common as changing from Coke to Ale 8.

We never know how long we have with our partner, and the sentiment of loving with all you have in good times and bad is expressed in today’s film, “Love Story” (1970).

“Love Story” is a romantic drama which centers on rich Harvard law student/ruffian hockey player Oliver (Ryan “Paper Moon” O’Neal) and the not so rich classical music student Jennifer (Ali “The Getaway” MacGraw).

The couple share a bond through honesty and sarcasm exemplified with an “us against the world” attitude in post-hippie 1970.

Despite their opposite backgrounds, which is a yarn that is nothing new to romantic dramas, the young couple put their hearts on the line for each other as they graduate to face the real world together and leave their families and their upbringings behind to make their own way.

As the late 60s and early 70s approached, the “do your own thing” mantra was introduced, and the couple embraced this philosophy as they were an intelligent, driven, passionate and restless unit destined to make their mark in the world by creating a new love story in their own way on their own terms.

As such is life, outside forces become obstacles for the eternal newlyweds and it is realized that no matter what plans you make for life and love, we are just mere players in a game we didn’t create.

“Love Story” was directed by Arthur “Silver Streak” Hiller and a screenplay by Erich “Yellow Submarine” Segal, who also wrote a tie-in novel of the same name which was published before the film premiered to sell more seats upon its initial release.

“Love Story” is grounded with solid performances by Oliver’s stern, rich father portrayed by Ray “The Lost Weekend” Milland and Jennifer’s easy going, caring widower father (John “The Godfather) Marley.

If you have a keen eye, a young Tommy “No Country for Old Men” Lee Jones landed his first role as Oliver’s Harvard chum, Hank.

“Love Story” was nominated for multiple Academy Awards and its award-winning musical score complements the timeless love elements of the film with pieces by Andy Williams, Bach and Mozart.

The sequel, “Oliver’s Story” (1978) starring O’Neal and Candace “Murphy Brown” Bergen, was an attempt to capture lightning again, but attempts to repeat the success of “Love Story” were DOA as well as the short run “Love Story” (1973) NBC TV series.

Be sure to check to out or revisit the original this weekend and make sure you bring some extra tissues; your husband will need them.

“Love Story” will be presented by Fathom Events and includes exclusive insight from Turner Classic Movies in honor of the film’s 50th anniversary.

Show times are 1 p.m. Sunday and noon and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 12, at the Regal in Hamburg, Movie Tavern at Brannon Crossing and Richmond Centre.

Love the one you’re with and have a film-tastic day!

Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker and film/music historian. He is president of the Winchester-Clark County Film Society. Find more from Rick on Facebook. He is on Twitter @rickbaldwin79  and can be reached by email at