Romance and the reel librarian

My Valentine’s Day gift to you, dear reader.

Like I mentioned last week, I will focus this month on love stories and reel librarians. Reel librarians are in every kind of movie — the good, the bad, and the ugly — as well as included in every movie genre. So I made another pass (hah!) at my Master List, scouting for romances featuring reel librarians. Just think of it as my Valentine’s Day gift to you, dear reader. 😉

Romance and the reel librarian
Romance and the reel librarian

Can’t get enough romance? Click here for a post on reel librarians in love, and here for a round-up of love songs for librarians.

2 Brothers and a Bride (2003):

This quirky romance, also known as A Foreign Affair, follows two brothers who travel to Russia in search of a bride. The film is notable for scenes shot during an actual “romance tour” in St. Petersburg, Russia. In an early scene, the elder brother, Jake (Nelson), goes to the public library, where he spots the ad for mail-order brides. The librarian helps him get on the internet but is quite suspicious of his behavior.

Adventure (1945):

A sea-going adventurer (Clark Gable) falls for a librarian (Greer Garson), but their relationship is no smooth sailing. Gable first meets Garson in the San Francisco Public Library. Fair warning:  The film, unfortunately, does not live up to its adventurous title.

At First Sight (1999):

This film is based on a true story about a blind man (Val Kilmer) who has his eyesight restored, inspired by his love for a woman (Mira Sorvino). There’s a brief cameo from a spunky librarian friend, but no scenes set in an actual library. And remember how I wrote above that librarians are in films, good, bad, and ugly? This is the BAD, y’all. But it is based on a real-life romance — and the film director’s wife plays the reel librarian!

Bed of Roses (1996):

A romance dedicated to its genre! A career woman (Mary Stuart Masterson) falls in love with a florist (Christian Slater), who can’t stop sending her roses. The plotline really is that simple. On a day out together, they stop by the public library to hear a children’s storytime. It’s obvious the florist is friends with the librarian. A short but sweet scene in a short but sweet film.

Bloomington (2010):

A LGBTQ+ romance! We are equal-opportunity here @ Reel Librarians. ♥ In this independent film, a former child actress (Sarah Stouffer) attends college and falls in love with a female psychology professor (Allison McAtee). When she gets a chance to return to Hollywood, what will she choose? There are rumors of a planned sequel…

There is a sexy scene set in the college library, as well as a young reel librarian at the end of the film.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961):

In this classic romance, free spirit Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) finally finds love with writer Paul Varjak (George Peppard). There are a couple of scenes set in the New York Public Library; in one of those scenes, Varjak autographs a copy of his book in the library, which the librarian exclaims is “defacing public property!”

Brief Encounter (1945):

This classic romance is about an ordinary English wife and mother (Celia Johnson) and an ordinary English husband and father (Trevor Howard) who meet one day by chance and fall in love. So simple yet so devastating. The woman stops by the Boots Lending Library during her weekly shopping — and later uses the librarian as an excuse for staying out late!

City of Angels (1998):

This romantic drama — and remake of 1987’s Wings of Desire — follows an angel (Nicolas Cage) who becomes romantically involved with a doctor (Meg Ryan). The angels like to visit the San Francisco Public Library — I don’t blame them — and there are several short scenes set in the library, including one featuring a young male circulation clerk.

Desk Set (1957):

Classic romantic comedy starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. In this pairing, an efficiency expert (Tracy) clashes with the librarians in a TV network’s research department, headed by Hepburn.

Ella Enchanted (2004):

In this Cinderella-inspired romantic comedy, Ella (Anne Hathaway) meets Prince Charming (Hugh Dancy) en route to find her fairy godmother. In one scene, Ella does some research in the castle’s Hall of Records, where an archives clerk is most unhelpful.

Ever After (1998):

Another Cinderella-inspired story, this historical romance includes a first date to a monastery library! No wonder they live happily ever after… 😉

I Love You to Death (1990):

This pitch-black comedy has a different take on a romance:  a deadly one. A loyal Italian-American wife, Rosalie (Tracey Ullman), tries several times to kill her husband (Kevin Kline) after she finds out that he is cheating. And where does she find out about his philandering ways? At the local public library. (SIGH.)

Junior (1994):

This romantic comedy features a man’s worst nightmare — being pregnant! Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Dr. Alex Hesse, a male fertility research scientist, who becomes the test subject for his latest fertility drug and the world’s first pregnant man. The opening scene begins with a literal nightmare, set in an academic library.

The Lost Romance (1921):

A lost romance indeed, as there don’t seem to be any copies available of this film. It stars Lois Wilson as public librarian Sylvia Hayes, who has to deal with two proposals, a child’s disappearance, a meddling aunt, and rekindled love. And of course, Sylvia promptly ends her librarian career at the prospect of marriage. Also notable for being the first film to feature a reel librarian atop a ladder in the library. Perhaps this film should stay lost?

Love Story (1970):

I had to include this film in the romance round-up, right?! The first scene, set in the Radcliffe College library, sets up the five-hanky romance between Jenny (Ali MacGraw) and Oliver (Ryan O’Neal). Jenny is a student library assistant, but we quickly find out she’s a music major.

The Magic of Ordinary Days (TV, 2005):

This TV movie romance, set during World War II, features a beautiful young woman (Keri Russell) in an arranged marriage with a lonely, good-hearted farmer (Skeet Ulrich). In an early scene, they travel to the nearest public library, which is an hour away. Now that’s love! 🙂

Miranda (2002):

In this noirish romance, hapless librarian Frank (John Simm) falls in love with the mysterious Miranda (Christina Ricci) and goes after her when she disappears from his life one day. The film’s opening sequence is set in the library, which is set for demolition.

The Music Man (1962):

In this classic movie musical, con man Harold Hill (Robert Preston) tries to scam a community into buying band uniforms — and ends up falling for the librarian. As you do. 😉 Shirley Jones’s portrayal of Marian has been immortalized in popular culture, in part due to the song “Marian the Librarian.”

No Man of Her Own (1932):

In this romantic drama, con artist and gambler (Clark Gable) goes to small town Glendale to escape prosecution and ends up falling in love with the young librarian (Carole Lombard). OF COURSE. A few scenes are set in the library, including one in which Gable looks up Lombard’s skirt while she shelves books!

Paperback Romance (1994):

This Australian romance is also known as Lucky Break. Jewel thief Eddie (Anthony LaPaglia) visits the library and overhears Sophie (Gia Carides) reading a romance novel she’s writing. She tries to hide that she suffers from polio, and romantic complications ensue. The film’s co-stars, LaPaglia and Carides, are also married in real life! ♥

The Philadelphia Story (1940):

This classic romantic triangle features a a rich socialite (Katharine Hepburn), her ex-husband (Cary Grant) and a reporter (Jimmy Stewart). Cary Grant got the girl, but Jimmy Stewart wound up with the Oscar! In one comedic scene at the public library, Hepburn and Stewart discuss a book he wrote, and a Quaker librarian shushes them. What does thee wish? To rewatch this film, of course!

Possession (2002):

A double-decker romance! Two literary researchers (Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart) track down the correspondence and relationship between two Victorian poets (Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle). In an early scene, Eckhart checks out a book at the British Museum library and answers questions from a nosy male librarian.

Pump Up the Volume (1992):

A romance for the rebellious teen in all of us! The new kid at school, Mark (Christian Slater), uses a short-wave radio to broadcast as pirate DJ Hard Harry. Spunky student library assistant Nora (Samantha Mathis) investigates the DJ’s identity and finds out about Mark through the books he checks out.

Racing with the Moon (1984):

This is a romantic drama set during World War II. Two young men (Sean Penn and Nicolas Cage), about to join the Marines in early 1943, spend their final days in town finding out about love and growing up. Penn falls in love with the new girl in town (Elizabeth McGovern), who works part-time at the local public library. Turns out Elizabeth McGovern and Sean Penn enjoyed an off-screen romance during the making of this film, even becoming engaged for a short time afterward.

Rome Adventure (1962):

In this romantic drama, Prudence Bell (Suzanne Pleshette) quits her job as a librarian at a private college and sets off to Italy in search of adventure and love. This film also co-stars Troy Donahue, who became Pleshette’s real-life husband two years after the film wrapped. Their marriage lasted only a little longer than this film. 😉

Somewhere in Time (1980):

A time-travel romance in which a Chicago playwright (Christopher Reeve) uses self-hypnosis to go back in time and meet the love of his life (Jane Seymour). There is a brief but pivotal library scene toward the beginning of the film.

That Touch of Mink (1962):

In this fizzy romantic comedy, a rich man (Cary Grant) and a ditzy young woman (Doris Day) endure mixed signals en route to romance. In one hilarious scene, Grant and his friend (Gig Young) break into a motel room in order to find Day, but they end up interrupting a romantic tryst between a librarian and her would-be lover.

Where the Heart Is (2000):

In this chicken-fried romance, a pregnant teen (Natalie Portman) rebuilds her life after giving birth in a small town’s Wal-Mart. Along the way, she falls in love with a young man (James Frain), who runs the local public library and cares for his alcoholic sister, the real librarian.

By the way, despite its title, The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) is NOT a romance and is therefore not included in this list. But that film DOES include a reel librarian. (One out of two’s not bad, right?)

Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥

Sources used:

  • 2 Brothers and a Bride (aka A Foreign Affair). Dir. Helmut Schleppi. Perf. Tim Blake Nelson, David Arquette, Emily Mortimer. Screen Media Films, 2003.
  • Adventure. Dir. Victor Fleming. Perf. Greer Garson, Clark Gable. MGM, 1945.
  • At First Sight. Dir. Irwin Winkler. Perf. Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino, Kelly McGillis. MGM, 1999.
  • Bed of Roses. Dir. Michael Goldenberg. Perf. Christian Slater, Mary Stuart Masterson. New Line, 1996.
  • Bloomington. Dir. Fernanda Cardoso. Perf. Allison McAtee, Sarah Stouffer. Frontier Studios, 2010.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Dir. Blake Edwards. Perf. Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Mickey Rooney, Patricia Neal. Paramount, 1961.
  • Brief Encounter. Dir. David Lean. Perf. Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard. Cineguild, 1945.
  • The Caveman’s Valentine. Dir. Kasi Lemmons. Perf. Samuel L. Jackson, Colm Feore, Ann Magnuson, Tamara Tunie. Universal, 2001.
  • City of Angels. Dir. Brad Silberling. Perf. Meg Ryan, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Franz. Warner Bros., 1998.
  • Desk Set. Dir. Walter Lang. Perf. Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Gig Young, Joan Blondell, Dina Merrill. 20th Century Fox, 1957.
  • Ella Enchanted. Dir. Tommy O’Haver. Perf. Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes. Miramax, 2004.
  • Ever After. Dir.Andy Tennant. Perf. Drew Barrymore, Dougray Scott, Anjelica Huston. 20th Century Fox, 1998.
  • I Love You to Death. Dir. Lawrence Kasdan. Perf. Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, Joan Plowright, River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, William Hurt. TriStar, 1990.
  • Junior. Dir. Ivan Reitman. Perf. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Emma Thompson. Universal, 1994.
  • Love Story. Dir. Arthur Hiller. Perf. Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal, John Marley, Ray Milland. Paramount, 1970.
  • The Magic of Ordinary Days (TV movie). Dir. Brent Shields. Perf. Keri Russell, Skeet Ulrich, Mare Winningham. Hallmark Hall of Fame, 2005.
  • Miranda. Dir. Marc Munden. Perf. Christina Ricci, John Simm, Kyle MacLachlan, John Hurt. Feelgood Films, 2002.
  • The Music Man. Dir. Morton DaCosta. Perf. Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett, Hermione Gingold, Ron Howard. Warner Bros., 1962.
  • No Man of Her Own. Dir. Wesley Ruggles. Perf. Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Dorothy Mackaill, Grant Mitchell. Paramount, 1932.
  • Paperback Romance (aka Lucky Break). Dir. Ben Lewin. Perf. Gia Carides, Anthony LaPaglia, Marshall Napier, Jacek Koman. MGM, 1994.
  • The Philadelphia Story. Dir. George Cukor. Perf. Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, John Howard, Roland Young. MGM, 1940.
  • Possession. Dir. Neil LaBute. Perf. Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jeremy Northam, Jennifer Ehle. Warner Bros., 2002.
  • Pump Up the Volume. Dir. Allan Moyle. Perf. Christian Slater, Samantha Mathis, Jeff Chamberlain. New Line Cinema, 1992.
  • Racing with the Moon. Dir. Richard Benjamin. Perf. Sean Penn, Elizabeth McGovern, Nicolas Cage. Paramount, 1984.
  • Rome Adventure. Dir. Delmer Daves. Perf. Suzanne Pleshette, Troy Donahue, Angie Dickinson, Rossano Brazzi. Warner Bros., 1962.
  • Somewhere in Time. Dir. Jeannot Szwarc. Perf. Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer, Teresa Wright. Universal, 1980.
  • That Touch of Mink. Dir. Delbert Mann. Perf. Cary Grant, Doris Day, Gig Young, Audrey Meadows. Universal-International, 1962.
  • Where the Heart Is. Dir. Matt Williams. Perf. Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing, Joan Cusack, James Frain. 20th Century Fox, 2000.

Author: Jennifer

Librarian, blogger, movie lover

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