ROMANCING THE STONE (1984)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Cinematography by Dean Cundey
With The Lost City hitting theaters soon, this week’s movie for The Film Experience’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot is Romancing the Stone, as both share a very similar premise. I was excited to revisit this film as I’d only previously seen it during a flight from Europe a few years ago, so while I still claim it as my favorite plane movie, it was more enjoyable to see on my bigger TV and really take in the cinematography (among other things). This was cinematographer Dean Cundey’s first film with director Robert Zemeckis; the duo later collaborated on the Back to the Future trilogy and Death Becomes Her, with Cundey earning his first (and so far only) Oscar nomination for Who Framed Roger Rabbit in between all those movies. Seeing some of the fun, dynamic shots on display throughout Romancing the Stone, it’s no wonder he worked on Zemeckis’s other action/comedic films in the 1980s and into the early ’90s.
Some light spoilers in my honorable mentions here. I just wanted to point out how much I liked that the film’s final scene calls back to a couple of significant moments from earlier on; when author Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) embraces the spontaneous adventure she’s on and literally lets her hair down as she picks flowers, and towards the end when Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas) gives up the coveted emerald… at least for now.
While Joan goes on many an adventure through the romance novels she writes, in reality, she lives a much quieter life, essentially keeping herself boxed away from any sort of danger, as this shot emphasizes when she meets the mysterious man who just saved her from impending doom. Joan is clearly out of her element in Colombia on a mission to save her kidnapped sister, but soon enough she steps more out of her comfort zone and puts her trust in Jack to help get her where she needs to be.
Through most of the movie, Joan can see or at least sense incoming threats, but here while she and Jack are seemingly safe inside an abandoned cargo plane, a poisonous snake comes out of the shadows. But before any harm can come to Joan, Jack swiftly whips out his machete and kills the big reptile. I love how the shadow of Jack’s arm falls upon half of Joan’s face, with her eyes full of fear still shining in the campfire’s light as she realizes just how out of her wits she is in a scenario she’s only imagined in her books.
Be sure to check out what others have chosen as their best shot from Romancing the Stone here!