Maybe the reason Hollywood movies have trouble with adultery is that there’s been so much breaking of the Seventh Commandment behind the camera. For instance:
The Film: Woman of the Year (1942) Sportswriter (Spencer Tracy) falls for political columnist (Katharine Hepburn). The Affair: Married (and Catholic) Tracy first met Hepburn on this film, and their on-screen chemistry became an off-screen open secret. The Moment: Hepburn, on being introduced to Tracy prior to filming: ”I fear I may be a little too tall for you, Mr. Tracy.” Tracy: ”Don’t worry, Miss Hepburn-I’ll cut you down to my size.”
The Film: The Fountainhead (1949) Ayn Rand’s story of an idealistic architect (Gary Cooper) and the heiress who loves him (Patricia Neal). The Affair: Rand’s delirious symbolism must have gone to the leads’ heads, and their relationship shocked Hollywood. After a second movie with Neal, Coop returned to socialite wife Veronica Balfe. The Moment: The scene where heavy-breathing Neal watches quarry worker Cooper wield a huge, phallic drill. Hubba, hubba!
The Film: Let’s Make Love (1960) A millionaire (Yves Montand) goes undercover to woo a beatnik actress (Marilyn Monroe). The Affair: Monroe was married to Arthur Miller, Montand was married to Simone Signoret, but they took the movie’s title literally. The Moment: From Montand’s biography: ”I bent over to kiss her good night, but suddenly it was a hurricane I couldn’t stop.”
The Film: Cleopatra (1963) The Queen of the Nile (Elizabeth Taylor) plays fast and loose with Mark Antony (Richard Burton). The Affair: Taylor and Burton made love, made headlines, made a bad movie. The Moment: Italian newspaper Il Tempo calls Taylor ”this vamp who sucks on husbands like a praying mantis.”
The Film: Made in America (1993) Afrocentric mom (Whoopi Goldberg) and cracker sperm-bank donor (Ted Danson) have a fertile relationship. The Affair: A nation of tabloids was shocked—shocked—when Ted ditched longtime wife Casey to make Whoopi. The Moment: Asked about their relationship at a press conference, they hold up handwritten cardboard signs: His says ”Personal,” hers, ”Next Question.”