Happy New Year to All!!
My wish for you is that 2022 is filled with prosperity, health, and happiness. May you be surrounded by family, friends, those you love, and of course, good movies!
On this festive occasion, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with you that contain New Year’s Eve scenes. Most are romantic, some are poignant, and a few are amusing, but all are memorable.
1. That Hamilton Woman (1941)
“Now I’ve kissed you through two centuries.”Lord Nelson
There’s something intensely romantic about some of the greatest lovers in history playing some of the greatest lovers in history sharing an important scene set on New Year’s Eve, possibly the most romantic night of the year.
Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier are perfectly cast, beautifully setting the screen ablaze, in a retelling of the victory and tragedy of the love affair between Lady Emma Hamilton and Lord Horatio Nelson in Alexander Korda’s lush costume drama set during the Napoleonic Wars.
There’s a little something for everyone in this film. Dozens of battle ships, cannon warfare, and a naval war hero for the guys. Gorgeous gowns, sparkling jewels, and a forbidden romance for the girls. And the tremendous star power of Leigh and Olivier in their first film as husband and wife for film fans the world over.
2. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
“After 12 years in a Burmese jungle, I’m starving, Lady Agatha, starving for a white shoulder.”Joe Gillis
While Norma Desmond’s party didn’t quite go as planned…the scene that follows more than makes up for it. I love the playful banter between Nancy Olsen and William Holden at the “kids” New Year’s Eve party that culminates when the screenwriters recite dialogue from a steamy love scene and create genuine sparks of their own.
Sunset Boulevard contains one of the strangest and saddest movie couples – Joe Gillis and Norma Desmond. As a complete contrast, Billy Wilder gives us the fresh-faced, wholesome innocence of Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olsen).
I sometimes think of and imagine the movie ending differently. What would have happened if Joe went off with Betty? Could they have made a go of it? This ability to question a piece makes us come back again and again, hoping for a different ending, and yet we find ourselves completely satisfied with the creatives’ choices. The stuff classics are made of.
3. The Apartment (1960)
I guess that’s the way it crumbles — cookie-wise.Fran Kubelik
The look on Fran Kubelik’s (Shirley MacLaine) face says it all. She’s realized she’s been living in a dream, and for the first time the sun has come up and the way is clear. Wonderful scene for any time of the year, but especially pertinent at New Year’s.
Billy Wilder had a knack for taking imperfect people and making us care about them in an empathetic, intimate way. No where is that more evident to me than in The Apartment, an exploration of dark human emotions, the value of honor, seasoned with pathos and the signature Wilder wit.
4. Holiday (1938)
“Miss Linda Seton—on New Year’s Eve— entertained a small group of Very Unimportant People.”Nick Potter
Acrobatics, Edward Everett Horton, and puppet shows in the nursery are the order of the day in George Cukor’s Holiday.
Linda Seton (Katharine Hepburn) and Johnny Case (Cary Grant) hide away from the highbrow party downstairs and unexpectedly fall for each other when the clock strikes midnight. The only problem is free-spirited Johnny is engaged to Linda’s stuffy sister who’s apron strings are still firmly in place. Difficult decisions will be made and lives will be changed.
What more could you ask for in a New Year’s movie?
5. Show Boat (1951)
“Whatever happens, Nollie, always remember to smile.”Captain Andy Hawks
I grew up watching this film so it holds a special place in my heart, but even for the unbiased there is much to love in this candy colored musical. By the way, isn’t there an unwritten rule saying any movie with Agnes Moorehead in the cast gets an automatic pass? I thought so…
The scene we are going to talk about is the New Year’s Eve scene, which Joe E. Brown commands with his exuberant “Happ–yy New Year!” And his reminder to his daughter that if she keeps a smile on her face she will more easily weather the storms of life.
6. Waterloo Bridge (1940)
Roy Cronin: Why goodbye when it’s only till morning?
Myra Lester: Because, every parting from you is – is like a little eternity.
MGM’s Waterloo Bridge (1940) is one of the great romantic classics, however this was not the first time the tale had reached the big screen, but perhaps it is the most fondly remembered. The stars of the 1940 adaptation–Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor–called it the favorite of their respective careers. Truly, there is something special about this film.
Leigh biographer Alexander Walker cites that though Waterloo Bridge was an MGM production, micromanaging producer David Selznick saw to it that his star was lovingly photographed. The score by Herbert Stothart (The Wizard of Oz, 1939) effectively weaves in musical cues from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and the familiar tune “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”
The stellar performances include a moving turn from Lucile Watson, Maria Ouspenskaya as a chilling ballet mistress and C. Aubrey Smith adds considerable warmth as the Duke.
Although this film isn’t set at New Year’s, it contains a waltz scene by candlelight to the traditional song “Auld Lang Syne.” It seems only right to include this beautifully filmed scene in this list and as the perfect farewell to 2021.
Thank you for visiting The Muse this year! See you all in 2022!!
What are you watching to ring in the New Year?
Let me know in the comments below!