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Rating on screen chemistry

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Yeah, we too can hardly wait for Eyes Wide Shut to see Tom and Nicole in heat once more on screen. But then again real-life chemistry doesn’t always translate to film, and maybe that’s a good thing for all involved, since some of the movies’ most convincing lovers have been those whose actual liaisons got dangereuses. All of which leaves us wondering which couple newlyweds Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe will most resemble from the cavalcade of swooners and screamers below.

To Have and Have Not
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall met filming this 1944 adaptation of Hemingway’s novel. He plays a charter-boat captain, she a stranded beauty in this Casablanca warm down. The ”you know how to whistle, don’t you?” scene is justifiably famous, and there’s plenty more where that came from. Chemistry: A+ Movie: B

The Taming of the Shrew
Richard Burton tries to domesticate Elizabeth Taylor in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1967 film. Before love strikes, she throws a lot of props, the Shakespearean antics encapsulating a heated offscreen relationship in which they were married and divorced twice in 12 years. Chemistry: A Movie: B+

McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Julie Christie and Warren Beatty’s first of three movies together finds her a madam opposite his boomtown hustler in a 1971 Robert Altman Western. The film’s air of doom isn’t what some would call romantic, but as in The English Patient, it heightens the leads’ ardor. Chemistry: B+ Movie: A

Dead Again
Doubling their pleasure in this 1991 occult murder mystery, then husband and wife Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson play a detective and amnesiac client who are reincarnations of a Hollywood composer and his wife. The dead pair — impassioned 1940s emigre musician and his headstrong wife — is the hotter. Chemistry: B Movie: A-

The Getaway
By all accounts, Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger are happily married, which makes their awkwardness in this 1994 thriller (a remake of lovers Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw’s cool 1972 pic) a disappointment — and makes seeing their highly believable lovemaking pretty voyeuristic. Chemistry: C Movie: D

She’s So Lovely
Ex-mental patient Sean Penn tries to woo ex-wife Robin Wright Penn from stable hubby John Travolta. Despite a history of unrest in their offscreen life, watching the couple dance in this 1997 film is all a viewer needs to know that these lovebirds are meant for each other. Chemistry: A Movie: B+

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