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USA 1957
Directed by
Leo McCarey
115 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Affair To Remember, An

Writer/director Leo McCarey’s most successful film was the sentimental 1944 Oscar winner, Going My Way with Bing Crosby as a parish priest turning around a raggedy bunch of mop-tops in a tough neighbourhood. There's little surprise then that in this equally sentimental romantic comedy drama, a remake of his own 1939 film, Love Affair with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, he rolls out singing children not once but twice.

Cary Grant plays Nickie Ferrante, a playboy who falls for sainted Deborah Kerr and in the throes of love gets a job. Well sort of. He becomes a painter (an artist, that is, though there’s a joke about the other sort of painter). To test their resolve they promise to meet after a six month separation at the top of the Empire State Building but fate throws them a curve ball and the film shifts from comedy to melodrama and an all-stops-out pay-off for the hankie brigade.

Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr deliver what are familiar characterisations in what is mainly of interest today for typifying late 50s screen aesthetics and morals, fantasies showcasing the lives of wealthy urbane idlers, who travel the world in style (and CinemaScope Technicolor) and fall amorously but chastely into each other's arms.

Ms Kerr's vocals were dubbed by Marni Nixon except for The Tiny Scout. The film was co-opted by Nora Ephron in her 1993 Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan hit Sleepless In Seattle whilst the film was remade in 1994 with the original title, Love Affair (d. Glenn Gordon Caron), with real life couple Warren Beatty and Annette Bening in the leads (it also featured Katherine Hepburn's final screen appearance), both films amply confirming the truism that the past IS better than the present.




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