An Affair to Remember
It's considered one of the greatest love stories ever, so you better bring two boxes of tissues. An Affair to Remember is the quintessential Valentine's Day movie, especially for the lovelorn. If you have never seen it, rent it tonight. If you have seen it before, take a stroll down memory lane to relive the magic.
Cary Grant stars as world-renowned playboy Nicky Ferrante. Nicky is engaged to marry Lois Clarke (Neva Patterson), a rich heiress waiting for his cruise to cross the Atlantic.
Deborah Kerr plays Terry McKay, the girlfriend of a rich businessman, who is also on the cruise. She is lonely and hates her boyfriend, Kenneth (Richard Denning), for forcing her to go on the New Year's Eve trip by herself. Fate brings the two together when she finds Nicky's cigarette case.
They are instantly attracted to one another, but the couple realizes that they should not be seen together and must not act on their burning passion due to their commitments to their current beaus. However, that only makes the love grow stronger.
As the cruise approaches its destination, New York City, they realize they are meant for each other, so our two lovers make a pact - they will meet at the top of the Empire State Building six months later. If they are still in love, they will get married.
Will both parties make it to the Empire State Building? Can they break up with their rich mates?
The movie works so well because writers Delmer Daves and Leo McCary (who also directed) have crafted some fun, playful dialogue to accompany the lush, romantic storyline. An Affair to Remember is a real tearjerker, but it also has light moments, just like love itself. The pace is a little slower than what we are used to these days, but you should allow yourself to get wrapped up in the love affair and watch these two, lonely souls find each other.
Director Leo McCary does a wonderful job because he is very familiar with the work. Not only did he co-write the screenplay, but he directed the original film in 1939 - Love Affair starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. Some argue that Love Affair was a superior film, but I thoroughly enjoyed this version. McCary does a wonderful job with many shots in the film including Kerr and Grant sitting at back-to-back tables when they are trying to get away from each other. My favorite piece of directing is the first kiss between our two lovers as McCary shields them, leaving the audience only a view of their legs. However, we know exactly what is happening.
Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr bring the dialogue to life with their lively flirtation. They share great chemistry. Grant is able to make his rich, playboy character more sympathetic in scenes where he visits his grandmother during the cruise. It is a chance for the character to redeem himself after the audience has learned of his wild ways and multiple love interests. Of course, if you have seen the movie, you know the last scene is his best.
Kerr and Grant have a great deal in common. Both were among Hollywood's most respected actors, but neither was recognized by the Academy for their great work. Grant was nominated twice (1941's Penny Serenade and 1944's None But the Lonely Heart), but did not receive an Oscar until 1970, when the Academy decided to recognize his contribution to film with an honorary award. Kerr was nominated six times in twelve years (1949's Edward My Son, 1953's From Here to Eternity, 1956's The King and I, 1957's Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, 1958's Separate Tables and 1960's The Sundowners), but never won. Also, they both grew up in Bristol, England. Grant ran away from home when he was thirteen (see Arsenic and Old Lace, for more), and Kerr attended her Aunt's drama school in Bristol. However, they never knew each other because Grant had runaway from home by the time Kerr was born.
If you are a romantic at heart, check out An Affair to Remember this weekend.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Directed by Leo McCary
Written by Leo McCary and Delmer Daves
Cary Grant Nicky Ferrante
Deborah Kerr Terry McKay
Richard Denning ..... Kenneth
Neva Patterson ... Lois
Cathleen Nesbitt . Grandmother Janou
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