Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)

Love with the Proper Stranger
Directed by Robert Mulligan
Written by Arnold Schulman
Pakula/Mulligan; Boardwalk Productions; Rona
First viewing/Amazon Instant

Rocky Papasano: [about family] That’s what makes it rough – when they love you.

Could super-cool Steve McQueen be tender?  Why, yes he could!

Angie (Natalie Wood) is a salesclerk at Macy’s.  She is from a very traditional Italian family but is a bit rebellious.  A couple of months back, she had a brief fling with musician Rocky (McQueen) after a dance as an “experiment”.  The experiment left her pregnant and she now approaches Rocky asking him to find her a doctor to abort the child.  He does but neither can go through with it.

After a bit of persuasion from Angie’s brother, Rocky says he will marry Angie.  She isn’t interested in spending the rest of her life with an unwilling partner.  The outcome is inevitable.

I really liked this one.  It’s an off-beat romance for the era and the writing and acting are strong.  Wood is feisty and fiery in her role and I have never seen McQueen quite like this.  Recommended if the plot appeals.

Love with the Proper Stranger was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Actress; Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen; Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Black-and-White; and Best Costume Design – Black-and-White.


2 thoughts on “Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)

  1. I felt like this one had a lot of promise and completely dumped that in the third act. The final 20-30 minutes of the film seem to run through every possible emotion and a hell of a lot of tropes to give us the ending we’re supposed to want.

    Give me a different third act and I’d like it a lot more.

    • I was going to argue with you since I certainly wouldn’t have wanted Wood to marry Tom Bosley! But then I thought of a better third act myself and found myself agreeing with you. I still like the film a lot.

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