Film of the Week 14.06.21.-Moonstruck.

When my all-time rom-com-Moonstruck- popped up on the BBC schedules it had to be my film of the week. Made in 1987 by Norman Jewison it tells of the emotional and romantic turmoil in an Italian American family living in Brooklyn Heights in New York.

A film that begins with Dean Martin singing ‘When the Moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie- that’s amore’, you know that it is going to be fun. Loretta Castorini, (played by Cher), is a thirty-seven-year-old widow looking for a new relationship. Her boyfriend proposes to her before flying off to the death bed of his mother back in Italy and while she accepts, admits that she likes him but does not love him. He asks her to contact his estranged brother Ronnie (Nicolas Cage) to ask him to attend the wedding. He is an opera loving, hot-headed baker, nursing a grudge for an accident that maimed his hand. But it is love at first sight when he meets Loretta to the strains of Puccini’s La Boheme.

At home, her mother Rose (the late Olympia Dukakis) knows that her husband Cosmo is having a late life crisis and having an affair with a younger woman, but she doesn’t know what to do about it. But she has a brief life affirming encounter at the local Italian Restaurant that always reminds me of our Bruno’s.

The performances are wonderful with Cher winning the Best Actress Oscar and Olympia Dukakis the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress with the Best Screenplay going to John Patrick Shanley. Watch out for Grandpa Castorini played by Feodor Chaliapin, who was the son of the famous Russian opera star. Sean Connery warned the director that he is terrific but will steal every scene he is in, and he does!

The film was a shot in the arm for the ailing MGM, once the pre-eminent Hollywood Studio and is now owned by Amazon! How times have changed.

Enjoy it on the BBC I-Player or an Amazon Prime.

Bill Cunningham