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The complete history of the civil engineer as romantic lead in cinema

FORESIGHT

Today being Valentine's Day, readers, Foresight has prepared a heady cocktail of romance mixed with civil engineering, an intoxicating potion that will put a wobble in your bridge - metaphorically speaking of course. But without putting a damper on things - wobbly bridge, damper, geddit? The world of the film has not provided us with much by way of the romantic film with a civil engineer - man or woman - as central character.

Alas, painstaking research by the dedicated men and women, the diligent bona fide newsgatherers of this vibrant organ we call New Civil Engineer have found but crumbs at the table of love. When it comes to film, only the French have depicted civil engineers in the starring role.

In the 1969 film 'The Army of Shadows' Lino Ventura stars as Philippe Gerbier, a civil engineer who becomes one of the French Resistance's chiefs, only to be betrayed by an informer and sent to a prison camp. With Simone Signoret waiting for him on the outside, needless to say he effects a daring escape - presumably by tunnel. True love wins out but after a lot of hard work it seems Then we have 'The Sorceress', made in 1955. Brulard, a French civil engineer on assignment in Sweden meets Ina, a local girl, living a simple, rustic existence. They fall in love, have an affair, he tries to convert her to a more civilized way of life and then guess what? She gets killed by superstitious villagers. And that, reader, is that, just two films and neither of them provide a picture of unrelieved romantic bliss you would hope for.

Where's the justice when super fop Hugh Grant can get the girl playing a bleedin' cartographer in 'An Englishman That Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain'. Engineers in general don't fare much better. Remember that Scotty from Star Trek may have been the chief engineering officer but it was only Catpain Kirk who set his phaser on the stunner. Perhaps it is because civil engineers are always portrayed as slaves to their work that they are never given a lead romantic role and usually get a supporting role.

Architects seem to fare better, but if you've ever seen Gary Cooper in 'The Fountainhead', a film about an individualistic and idealistic architect, you may feel that actors are more suited to playing the staring out of the window, looking into the middle distance sort of stuff than they are at the more meaty roles.

However, the world of film is not real life readers, and many of you will find romance this Valentine's Day, one way or the other.

Ah, the other, but enough of that.

Perhaps next year we could have Valentine's messages in NCE.

How about: ' Man with piles thanks sweetheart for helping lay foundations for life of romantic heaven' or something similar.

Perhaps not.

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