The stuff dreams are made of

While this is the pivotal quote from the movie “Maltese Falcon,” this movie will not be mentioned further. The quote is germane as I am remembering various beautiful actresses in movie roles in which they looked most appealing, at least to me.

Michelle Pfeiffer in “The Fabulous Baker Boys” who is a favorite actress of mine

Nicole Kidman in “Cold Mountain” where she would take your breath away

Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca” whose beautiful sadness made you pine for her

Isabella Rossellini in “Cousins” as she reminds me of how beautiful her mother was in “Casablanca”

Jean Seberg in “Paint your Wagon” who looked and sang better than her two husbands

Jane Seymour in “Somewhere in Time”  for whom you would also want to travel back in time

Katherine Ross in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” especially during one of the most sensuous foreplay movie scenes

Teri Hatcher in “Tomorrow Never Dies” as my favorite Bond actress who I became infatuated with as Lois Lane on TV

Kathleen Turner in “Body Heat” where the verbal foreplay when she and William Hurt’s character first meet is scintillating – of course the other foreplay is memorable

Jacqueline Bissett in “The Deep” where the wet T-shirt contest may have been born and was very impactful on this teen boy

Jessica Lange in the remake of “The Postman Always Rings a Twice” where need and want become the same thing

Catherine McCormack in “Braveheart” where you mourn her loss as did William Wallace

I am leaving so many actresses out, so I would love to hear your favorites. Also, commenters are welcome to mention actors that float your boat.

John Barry – the man behind the soundtrack of our lives

Many do not know the name of John Barry Prendergast who was born in York, England in 1933. More know him by his first two names, but when he died in 2011, I would wager the average person on the street would not know his name or what he did for us. He made his music our music by composing some of the most memorable movie scores. Mind you, these movies would have been good without his contribution, but the memories we have of them are significantly flavored by his contributions. So much, when we hear the beautiful music he wrote, we are transported to the movie. That is magical.

His most known piece is probably the theme from James Bond. He wrote music for eleven of the Bond movies starting with the very first one, “Dr. No.” Yet, that piece, while memorable, pales in comparison to the music he wrote for movies like “Out of Africa,” for which he won one of his five Academy Awards. The scenery, story and acting that make this movie memorable are leveraged by the, at times, exhilarating and, at times, reverent music he wrote. I cannot listen to his music without thinking of Robert Redford and Meryl Streep’s characters flying over the African tundra.

Yet, his first African score landed him two Oscars, the fantastic “Born Free.” Both the title song and movie score are as magnificent as his later “Out of Africa” work. He also won Oscars for two very different movies, “The Lion in Winter,” which starred Peter O’Toole as Henry II, and “Dances with Wolves,” with Kevin Costner. The latter movie is not unlike his Africa themes, as he is at is best when capturing beautiful vistas with a great story and time.

While he wrote many other scores, one that resonates with my wife and me is “Somewhere in Time,” with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. The story is enchanting and we fall in love with Jane Seymour just as Reeve’s character did in the movie, leading him to travel back in time. Yet, the music makes what could have been a cheesy story a classic in our view. It takes us from the present to the enchanting past, so much that the Grand Hotel, where it was filmed has “Somewhere in Time” gatherings throughout the year. One of my best Valentine’s Day presents was to give my wife the soundtrack to this movie.

If you get a chance, order these soundtracks or some compilation of his music. It is well worth the listen and, if you enjoys these movies, you will enjoy revisiting them through Barry’s music. It might make a great Valentine’s Day present.