Romancing the Stone movie poster

And thus began a 13-year cycle of comedies claiming the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy.

After the failure of Man of La Mancha (and a year later A Chorus Line), film musicals became anathema to the studios, and, in fact, there wasn’t one musical made that year. Nor for the next twelve years!

The genre, however, would be rescued by Alan Menken when Disney’s Jeffrey Katzenberg commissioned him to write songs for animated feature films. Beauty and the Beast opened up a whole new world for the genre, but still, by definition, it was an animated film and not a film musical. So we had to wait thirteen years for a bona fide musical  - and Evita did the trick.

Back to Romancing the Stoneit was a surprise hit for 20th Century Fox. Before its release, the studio deemed it unreleasable, and in fact, its director Robert Zemeckis, who was working on another Fox film Cocoon, was fired as a result. Michael Douglas was not only the star but the producer as well. No wonder he and Zemeckis have never worked since.

Much of the film’s success can be attributed to the Hollywood Foreign Press Associaton. After winning two Golden Globes (the Academy snubbed both winners) the public discovered the film and flocked to see it, making it the studio’s biggest moneymaker that year. The film is now considered one of the best films of the 80s. Zemeckis went on to make Back to the Future and Forrest Gump for other studios.

Despite not getting along with Zemeckis, the film earned Kathleen Turner a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical and made her a huge star. A sequel, The Jewel of the Nile, followed in 1985 with all three principals (Douglas, Turner, and Danny DeVito) but a new director, Lewis Teague.

The other Golden Globe nominees for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy that year were Beverly Hills Cop, Ghostbusters, Micki & Maudeand Splash. Nominees for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical were Dudley Moore for Micki & Maude, Steve Martin for All of Me, Eddie Murphy for Beverly Hills Cop, Bill Murray for Ghostbusters and Robin Williams for Moscow on the Hudson. Dudley Moore was the winner.

For Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, the nominees besides Turner were Anne Bancroft for Garbo TalksMia Farrow for Broadway Danny Rose, Shelley Long for Irreconcilable Differences, and Lily Tomlin for All of Me. Drew Barrymore was the only supporting actress nominee from a comedy or musical that year. The Best Song was Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” from The Woman in Red, which also won the Oscar. Also nominated that year: Prince’sWhen Doves Cry” from Purple Rain.