Celebrate Valentine’s Day with These Hollywood Romances

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with These Hollywood Romances

It’s February, and, like the old song says, “It’s the time of the season for loving.” But, when it comes to romantic movies, not everyone is into The Notebook. Sometimes, you want something a little old-fashioned to enjoy along with the flowers and candy. 

For patrons who want to cuddle up with a classic film on Valentine’s Day, Access Video On Demand streaming video for public libraries has just what their hearts need. All titles come with limited public performance rights—ideal for a free Valentine’s Day movie night. Plus, Access Video’s mobile-friendly platform allows patrons to stream movies anytime, anywhere, so they can enjoy watching Kieron Moore smooch Vivien Leigh while snuggled up on the living room couch. 

Oh, and did we mention that Access Video On Demand has ALWAYS been available to libraries as a complete subscription—one set price and no surprises for library budgets? That’s something that will make librarians swoon.

Here are some of the old-fashioned romantic films your patrons will find. (Some of these titles contain mature themes or content; viewer discretion is advised.)

Get Swept Away with These Hollywood Romances from Access Video On Demand:

Scene from Anna Karenina (1948), available on Access Video On Demand for public libraries

Anna Karenina (1948, #56697; available in the U.S. and Canada)

This famous 1948 adaptation of Tolstoy’s unforgettable novel stars Vivien Leigh as Anna, the wife and mother who falls tragically in love with the dashing Count Vronsky. Starring Vivien Leigh, Kieron Moore, Ralph Richardson, Marie Lohr, Niall MacGinnis, and Helen Haye. Directed by Julien Duvivier. The famous playwright Jean Anouilh adapted the screenplay.

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950, #53752; available in the U.S. and Canada)

Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play features a gallant, witty, eloquent swordsman with an absurdly long nose. Cyrano falls in love with the beautiful Roxane but is convinced that his strange appearance will forever prevent her from returning his affections. Instead of wooing her himself, he employs his wit in the service of a friend who is also in love with her. This faithful 1950 film adaption is widely admired, especially for José Ferrer’s brilliant performance as Cyrano, which earned him the Oscar® for Best Actor. Also starring Mala Powers, William Prince, Morris Carnovsky, and Ralph Clanton. Directed by Michael Gordon.

Miss Julie (1951, #160548; available in the U.S. and Canada)

Set in the late 19th century: The young miss Julie lives in a mansion with her father. She has recently broken her engagement but is attracted to one of the servants, Jean. They spend the midsummer night together, telling each other their memories and of their dreams. Realizing that an affair between a man of the people and an aristocrat is impossible, they plan to escape to Switzerland.

A Farewell to Arms (1932, #56686; available in the U.S. and Canada)

This 1932 adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s classic war novel emphasizes the romance between Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley. Many critics consider it to be the best film version of any of Hemingway’s works. Starring Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes. Directed by Frank Borzage.

Nothing Sacred (1937, #183540; available worldwide)

This classic screwball comedy stars Carole Lombard as Hazel Flagg, a small-town girl who’s dying of radiation poisoning. Recognizing this as the kind of story that sells newspapers, reporter Wally Cook (Fredric March) whisks Hazel off to New York City and turns her into a media sensation. Wally’s self-serving plan becomes complicated when he starts falling for Hazel. Pioneering three-strip Technicolor and smartly written by Ben Hecht and James H. Street, Nothing Sacred is a sophisticated comedy brilliantly taking on the timely topic of the media’s tendency to put profit before dignity and the simple truth.

A Star Is Born (1937, #189377; available worldwide)

A young woman comes to Hollywood with dreams of stardom. She achieves them only with the help of a leading man, who is himself rapidly descending into obscurity and alcoholism. Winner of Best Writing, Original Story Academy Award®, and nominated for 6 other Academy Awards.

Love Laughs at Andy Hardy (1947, #183535; available worldwide)

Andy (Mickey Rooney) met his sweetheart Kay Wilson (Bonita Granville) at Wainwright College. He then went off to the military, and naturally, things go awry as soon as he arrives back home. This was presumably the last film in the Hardy series, as 12 years would pass before Rooney would reprise the character in Andy Hardy Comes Home. Keep an eye out for the beautiful Dorothy Ford, cast here as Andy’s substitute date for the college dance. As the dazzling Coffy Smith, Ford shows Andy that there is always fun to be had.

My Favorite Brunette (1947, #183538; available worldwide)

My Favorite Brunette stars Bob Hope as baby photographer Ronnie Jackson, who tells his story in flashback as he awaits the San Quentin gas chamber. While looking after his private-eye neighbor’s office, Ronnie is mistaken for the sleuth by the beautiful Baroness Montay (Dorothy Lamour), who hires him to find the missing Baron. With very funny surprise cameos by Alan Ladd and Bing Crosby, this is an excellent spoof of the film noir movie detective genre.

Royal Wedding (1951, #183546; available worldwide)

Brother and sister dance team Tom and Ellen Bowen (Fred Astaire and Jane Powell) are on their way to England. On board the ship, Ellen strikes up a romance with Lord John Brindale (Peter Lawford), while confirmed bachelor Tom grows smitten with dancer Anne Ashmond (Sarah Churchill). Will romance break up the act? This is the movie that features Astaire dancing on the ceiling, an act accomplished by building the set inside a revolving barrel, or “squirrel cage,” and mounting the cameraman to an ironing board which could be rotated along with the room.

Stage Door Canteen (1943, #183553; available worldwide)

A young soldier on a pass in New York City finds entertainment and romance when he visits the famed Stage Door Canteen, where famous stars appear to host servicemen during the war. The sensational cast includes Katherine Hepburn, Helen Hayes, Gracie Fields, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Harpo Marx, Gypsy Rose Lee, Ethel Merman, and the always outrageous Tallulah Bankhead. Directed by two-time Oscar® winner Frank Borzage, this comedy also features great music from some of the top band leaders of the day, including Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Xavier Cugat.

My Dear Secretary (1949, #183537; available worldwide)

Bestselling novelist Owen Waterbury (Kirk Douglas) hires aspiring writer Stephanie “Steve” Gaylord (Laraine Day) to be his secretary. Although initially, she is dismayed by his work ethic and playboy attitude, they soon begin falling in love. Written and directed by Charles Martin, the film features a stellar supporting cast that includes Keenan Wynn, Rudy Valle, and Irene Ryan. Look out for former model and B-movie starlet Virginia Hewitt as the moronic Felicia Adams, one of the wackiest blondes ever to dream of movie stardom.

Beyond Tomorrow (1940, #183514; available worldwide)

In this long forgotten holiday fable, the ghosts of three elderly men return to earth to reunite a young couple. Director Edward Sutherland had worked with the likes of W.C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy, and Abbott and Costello before he helmed this charming story of love and guardian angels. The cast includes Harry Carey, C. Aubrey Smith, Charles Winninger, Rod La Rocque, and, as the young lovers, Jean Parker and Richard Carlson. A spirited rendition of “Jingle Bells” in English, Russian, German, and Italian is guaranteed to fill the viewer with holiday cheer.

Affair in Monte Carlo (1952, #189378; available worldwide)

A writer tells a crowd in a café a story about a woman who once fell deeply in love with a desperate, compulsive gambler.

Eternally Yours (1939, #189419; available worldwide)

Anita (Loretta Young) is swept off her feet by the magician Arturo (Daivd Niven). Before you can say “presto,” she’s his wife and stage assistant on a world tour that seems never to end. Anita is mildly annoyed by Arturo’s constant flirtations, but his death-defying stunts give her nightmares. Finally, she’s had enough and disappears for real. Nominated for an Academy Award®.

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About the Authors

Patrice Keville

Patrice Keville (she/her) has been Proofreader/Coordinator at Infobase for more than eight years. Previously, she was Online Editor at Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News and an Assistant Editor at the H.W. Wilson Company. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Matthew.



Sharon Golan

Sharon Golan is Director of Content Licensing at Infobase. With over a decade of experience creating and licensing materials for the education market, she has a keen eye for high-quality, compelling content and enjoys working on films that employ this dynamic art form to educate and enrich audiences.