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A black and white Valentine's Day: classic movies about love

Love and laughter seem to go hand in hand, and these classic black-and-white films can make even the most hardhearted person chuckle about the funny things lovers go through.

Perfect for a low-key, stay-at-home date night, each of these five romantic comedies ends happily, and all are family friendly.

'The Whole Town's Talking'

Arthur Jones is a shy bachelor who lives a boring existence. By day, he ekes out a living as a clerk, and at night he dreams about his beautiful co-worker. A man who lives according to schedule, Jones seems destined for a life of mediocrity. But life changes one day when people realize he looks exactly like the feared gangster “Killer” Mannion. Suddenly, Jones finds himself not only the perpetual victim of mistaken identity but also sought after by Mannion himself. The formerly mild-mannered clerk now has to deal with hiding a gangster while keeping up appearances at work. The only good that has come from resembling public enemy No. 1 is the girl of his dreams is finally taking notice. But first, he needs to figure out how to kick the deadliest man in the city out of his apartment.

Edward G. Robinson gives a wonderful and versatile performance as both the shy clerk and the tough-as-nails gangster. Jean Arthur, one of the queens of comedy, is the woman who realizes her co-worker has more gumption than she ever gave him credit for. “The Whole Town’s Talking” was made in 1935 and can be seen on Amazon Instant Video and iTunes.

'Miss Annie Rooney'

Annie Rooney, the precocious daughter of a continual want-to-be entrepreneur, has never let her family’s lack of wealth bother her. She’s content living among those in her status quo and busy talking in teenage slang and cutting a rug in the latest dances. Then she meets a wealthy boy named Marty. She's smitten with his good looks and gentlemanly manners, and the two embark on their first teenage romance. At first, all is well and it’s easy to overlook the differences between their fathers’ jobs. But when Marty’s parents realize their son has been spending time with a pauper’s daughter, the teenage romance becomes complicated.

Made in 1942, Dickie Moore became even more famous when he gave a teenage Shirley Temple her first on-screen kiss in this fun romp of a movie. “Miss Annie Rooney” is full of the crazy vernacular and upbeat dances that helped create the 1940s. This movie can be seen on Amazon Instant Video.

'The Major and the Minor'

After failing to make her fortune in New York City, Susan Applegate has decided to return home and marry her old boyfriend. When she realizes she only has enough funds for a child’s fare, she decides to dress up as a 12-year-old in order to get home as quickly, and cheaply, as possible. After a series of mishaps, Susan finds herself trapped in her teenage charade and taken to a military school for boys. While there, she is courted by young cadets and falls in love with one of the instructors. Now she needs to figure out how to get the man she loves to break his engagement to his scheming fiancée and help him realize his true love is disguised as a young teenager.

While many are only familiar with Ginger Rogers as Fred Astaire’s dancing partner, her exceptional comedic talent is showcased in “The Major and the Minor.” This 1942 movie, also starring Ray Milland, can be seen on Netflix.

'The Egg and I'

Betty MacDonald is so in love with Bob, her new husband, that when he tells her their honeymoon is going to be spent fixing up an abandoned chicken farm, she isn’t fazed. The two embark on a life of few conveniences, farming catastrophes and nosy neighbors. Through it all, the MacDonalds' love stands strong and Betty’s patience endures. But then, when a bored and beautiful woman starts paying too much attention to Bob, Betty realizes there is only so much she can stand. Hopefully Bob can figure out how to show Betty she is the only woman he’s ever wanted before it is too late.

“The Egg and I” features Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray as the MacDonald newlyweds. Famous film characters Ma and Pa Kettle, played by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride, also have several appearances. This hilarious 1947 romantic comedy can be seen on Google play, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes and Netflix.

'Every Girl Should be Married'

Anabel Sims has decided she needs to get married and that a certain handsome pediatrician is the man for her. But since he’s never shown the slightest interest in dating her, Anabel first needs to figure out what he’s like. With the help of her best friend, she does her homework. Her hilarious stalker tendencies are shown as she sleuths out Dr. Brown’s favorite foods, his habits and even his elementary school records. The more she learns about the bachelor, the more determined she is to make him her own. As Anabel persistently injects herself into the doctor’s daily paths, he becomes determined to stay out of her clutches. But when one of his friends, a renowned playboy, takes an interest in Anabel, the doctor realizes he might have to become more involved in her life than he had originally planned.

Film favorite Cary Grant and Betsy Drake star in this fun, 1948 romantic comedy. While the two are marvelous in this movie together, one of the things that makes “Every Girl Should be Married” so special is that Grant’s costar would become his real-life wife the year after this film was released. This movie can be seen on Google play and iTunes.

No matter which movie you choose, these fun films can help add laugher and fun to any Valentine’s Day. So settle back and enjoy celebrating love the way they did back in the day — in black and white.

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at