Chemistry 101 by Samantha James

No...I can see a few of you scratching your head...not that kind of chemistry, but the chemistry we see between our beloved heroes and heroines.

Because we all know there's SO much chemistry in romance novels, I thought I'd talk about chemistry between movie characters--and since I'm a movie buff, some of my personal favorites.

This is the kind of on-screen chemistry that really sizzles and crackles, scenes and characters that are just...well, unforgettable. I'm not thinking sweet and sentimental here. I'm thinking of chemistry that, even though it might be initially disguised as something else, is always there, simmering just under the surface. A look, a touch--and it's just hot, hot, HOT.

One of the movies I think really embodies this is LAST OF THE MOHICANS, with Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and Nathaniel (Daniel Day-Lewis). After they arrive at Ft. William to join with Cora's father, the situation is dire. They know the surrender of the fort is inevitable.

Nathaniel helps one of the settlers try to escape and heads home to warn the families of impending war, then goes in search of Cora. She sees him and rises. Nathaniel catches her hand, pulls her around, and leads them into the darkness.

They stand face to face. His hand slides up and down her arm. They're close and you can just feel the hunger racing between them. Then, they finally kiss...Nathaniel lifts Cora against him, then, up onto the blockade so she's above him, still locked in that hungry embrace.

You hear Cora breathing, harder and harder. You feel their desperate need for each other because this might be the one and only time they can ever be together. All without a word being spoken.

For me, that's the sexiest movie scene ever. Almost every scene between Cora and Nathaniel just oozes hunger and desire.

Chemistry at work. Chemistry in the flesh.

That scene just makes me melt every time I see it. So, how about you? Any movie characters and scenes that you find especially sizzling and romantic?


Anonymous Gayle Callen said:

Okay, you asked...Terminator. And no, you don't have to be a sci fi buff to enjoy the chemistry of the heroine and hero, who's come back through time to save her life, who's suffered for her, saved her when she couldn't save herself. And then he confesses he fell in love with her photo far in the future, and when they kiss, they fall back against the refrigerator and slide to the floor. I'm not doing it justice, but Michael Biehn's eyes can haunt a woman. Sigh...

6:47 PM  

Blogger Dina said:

I love movies also, there are so many that I love that I feel the characters chemistry was stong, but recently I thought James McAvoy & Keira Knightley in Atonement had great chemistry together.

7:26 PM  

Blogger Samantha James said:

Ooh, Gayle, YES! That's a great scene! Makes me want to see Terminator all over again. Michael Biehn is such a drool-worthy actor . . . Sigh.

Dina, I haven't seen Atonement yet. Got in from Netflix a few weeks ago--it's still sitting on our TV. I have the feeling it's a tear-jerker.

7:50 PM  

Blogger DawnofAquarius said:

Movie chemistry, ooooohh.

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in This Gun for Hire

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bscall in The Big Sleep (and others)

Keira Knightly and Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean (all three of them)

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in Speed

oh and oh so hot Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in The Long Hot Summer.

Oh, so many hot memories through the years. . .

Thanks for bringing up the subject. . .lol

8:04 PM  

Blogger Samantha James said:

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves -- I completely forgot about Speed!

Keira and Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean were on my list, but I ran out of room . . . I just wanted to see her sail away and share adventures with Captain Jack (Johnny/Jack provided inspiration for my names in Secrets of an Unknown Lady!)

8:48 PM  

Blogger Kathryn S said:

Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis in Witness. The scene where he happens upon her bathing and they just stare at each other makes my heart pound every darn time. lol. Love it.

Also, Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe in North and South (British). There's so much chemistry there -- and when they finally kiss at the train station...Whew!

Samantha, I love in LotM when Daniel Day Lewis does the whole, "Stay alive, I will find you" speech.

9:51 PM  

Blogger Tracey Devlyn said:

Wow, Samantha and Gayle, you picked two of my all time favorites. I've watched both those movies time and again. Also, Legends of the Fall with Brad Pitt and Julia Ormond. The scene where the two of them FINALLY kiss is intense and heart pounding sensual. And the setting is beautiful, too.

Oh, I love the scene behind the waterfall where Nathaniel has to leave Cora behind. "Stay alive. No matter what it takes. I will find you." Gotta love a hero who makes a promise like that. :)

9:59 PM  

Blogger Samantha James said:

Tracy, LOL. I'm glad you mentioned that scene--I debated between that one and the kiss. I didn't have room to do both, so I was hoping someone would bring it up!

On Legends of the Fall -- my daughter was a BIG Brad Pitt fan when the movie came out, and I knew from her the ending wasn't a HEA. When I finally watched it, it just tore my heart out.

Normally I'm not a huge Brad Pitt fan. But when he was in Troy playing Achilles (my, but the boy did look GOOD) I was really rooting for Achilles and the handmaiden he rescued. I'd have LOVED to rewrite that into a happy ending. IMO, Paris (Orlando Bloom again--hmmm) and Helen had no chemistry going on.

10:27 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I totally agree on Last of the Mohicans. Hottest movie pairing ever.

I think what makes maximum sizzle in a book or a movie is a sense of the forbidden. In our modern world, there isn't much that's forbidden. I think that's why you get a stronger sense of the power of passion in period pieces. The desire overrides all the rules that are hardwired into the couple. They shouldn't but they will. It's wrong but they can't fight it. Virtually every romantic pairing has that "umph" in classic movies of an earlier era when people had a sense of the "sin" of passion. I'll offer up Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious as an example. They really want to hate each other -- and yet. Wow! You know that it's futile to resist but the characters themselves don't realize it. When they finally do come together, all the anticipation gives it the power.


11:42 PM  

Blogger Samantha James said:

Kathryn, I missed your comment on the "I will find you" speech in Last of the Mohicans. I could watch that movie over and over and get butterflies every time--pretty obvious! Every single moment they're together just simmers. Plus it's also one of my favorite movie soundtracks. Even though this movie is sixteen years old, I'd have to call it a modern day classic. Not many movies sustain that kind of chemistry throughout.

Clarise, bravo. Wonderful summation of the push-pull feelings that
sustain conflict between h/h, both in movies and books.

Wonderful examples, ladies. I haven't watched a lot of the older movies, but I can see I'll be adding a long list to my Netflix queue.

2:21 AM  

Blogger Book Calendar said:

I have an odd question that may not fit completely. Has Avon Romance ever produced a graphic novel (comic book). Something along the lines of the old "True Romance" comic books from the 1950s, or a Japanese style graphic novel like Love Hina or Maison Ikokku, something for girls and women. I am going to New York Comic Con and it is just something that passed through my mind.

6:38 AM  

Blogger Jane said:

One of my favorite romances is "An Affair to Remember" with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. I also loved the beach scene in "From Here to Eternity." That was pretty risque for that era.

4:03 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Chemistry is awesome!

I agree with what you are saying about The Last of the Mohicans.

I know when I read a romance book I love to read scenes where there is a lot of chemistry. Makes the book so much more interesting.

12:48 PM  

Blogger Samantha James said:

Jane, it's amazing how many older, classic films have that chemistry.

April, yes, turning up the heat is what keeps the pages turning--and it's the best part of writing the book, too!

Book calender, hmmm, good question. I don't have the answer though. Maybe the next blogger, editor Lyssa Keusch, might know.

6:07 PM  

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