Julia Roberts is a stellar ‘Pretty Woman’

Hulu streams romantic-comedy hit also starring Richard Gere

Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”

Originally planned as a much darker story, “Pretty Woman” ended up one of the most successful romantic comedies in movie history, thanks in no small part to the influence of television-veteran director Garry Marshall. Currently streaming on Hulu, the 1990 film also was invaluable in boosting Julia Roberts to stardom; the role of good-hearted prostitute Vivian cemented her with audiences, along with her broad laugh.

Vivian is hired by uptight New York businessman Edward (Richard Gere, who would reteam with Roberts and Marshall for “Runaway Bride”) to be his Los Angeles companion for a week, and she strikes notes in him that lead him to fall deeply for her. She moves more cautiously, though her affection for him evolves as well. Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, Ralph Bellamy and Marshall-movie regular Hector Elizondo also are in the fine cast.

More Retro Rewinds

“Ed Sullivan’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Classics” (MeTV, Sunday, May 15): One of TV’s most famous variety series has lived on through repackaged versions, one being this reassembling of music performances from the show. Subtitled “Folk Rock,” this episode appropriately features some of the most famous acts in that genre such as The Byrds and two groups whose lead singers went out as solo acts later, The Lovin’ Spoonful (John Sebastian) and Creedence Clearwater Revival (John Fogerty).

“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (EPIX, Sunday, May 15, and Thursday, May 19): Two of the top stars of their time, John Wayne and James Stewart, are teamed in this John Ford-directed 1962 Western. Stewart plays a senator who recalls the rancher (Wayne) who helped him deal with a bullying gang leader (Lee Marvin). Though Gene Pitney had a hit song that shared the film’s title, it’s not in the movie.

“White Heat” (Turner Classic Movies, Wednesday, May 18): One of the greatest gangster films also is among the top attractions made by director Raoul Walsh, who gets a TCM tribute night that this picture is a part of. The 1949 drama casts James Cagney in an iconic performance as Cody Jarrett, a criminal chief with a famous mother fixation (Margaret Wycherly plays “Ma”) as he goes on the run after an undercover agent (Edmond O’Brien) — leading to a legendary ending.

“Hawaii Five-0” (ION, Saturday, May 21): Though relatively recent, this reboot of the police drama still can be considered “classic” because of its roots in the original show, and also the decade-long run that this remake had itself. The sixth-season opener, “Mai ho’oni I ka wai lana malie (Do not disturb the water that is tranquil),” rather “classically” makes sure that Kono and Adam (Grace Park, Ian Anthony Dale) don’t have an easy honeymoon since the newlyweds are kidnapped.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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