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"An Affair to Remember"

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"An Affair to Remember

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Character's Name: Nickie Ferrante
Release Date:  July 2, 1957
Director: Leo McCarey
Studio:  20th Century-Fox
Running Time: 115 minutes

Cast: Cary Grant (Nickie Ferrante), Deborah Kerr (Terry McKay), Richard Denning (Kenneth), Neva Patterson (Lois), Cathleen Nesbitt (Grandmother), Robert Q. Lewis (Announcer), Charles Watts (Hathaway), Fortunio Bonanova (Courbet), Matt Moore (Father McGrath), Louis Mercier (Mario), Geraldine Wall Miss Webb), Nora Marlowe (Gladys), Sarah Selby (Miss Lane)

- by Zoë Shaw
Nickie is on a liner enroute to New York. He plans to marry Lois, a wealthy heiress who is waiting for him there. On the ship he meets Terry, who has a man waiting for her in New York too. They enjoy each other's company, but go their separate ways. Nickie tries to meet Terry again, unsuccessfully. Terry is involved in a serious accident and is incapacitated for many months. 

- by Helen Fredericks 

The basic story of An Affair To Remember, a man and a woman meeting on a ship crossing an ocean and falling in love, is just the foundation of this wonderful and witty tale of true Love.

Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant) is a suave, well-bred playboy,  living the good life by charming wealthy women with his good looks, manners and sophistication. He jet-sets around the world with the rich and famous – in Europe, on yachts, in New York. Always with a beautiful woman of wealth on his arm.

Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) is a girl from Boston with a dream of going to New York and making it as a singer. As she is working in a night club, she meets Kenneth (Richard Denning), who sees Terry's potential as the perfect wife, if given the right training. Kenneth takes her away from the hard world of the night clubs and moves her into a penthouse apartment on Park Avenue. Here she can study music, art, literature and become the perfect hostess.

Both Nickie and Terry are sailing from Europe, back to their intended fiancée's. He to Lois Clarke (Neva Patterson), a wealthy heiress. She back to Kenneth, a wealthy and successful business man. What they do not expect is to find Love along the way.

From their first meeting on deck the sparks fly. For Nickie, he is just looking for a last fling. For Terry, it's more curiosity. He is pink champagne to her, fun but sure to lose it's bubble. She soon realizes that being seen with him is not a good idea. He creates publicity wherever he goes, and publicity is the last thing she wants..

When their ship stops in a port along the way, their lives are changed forever. Nickie is going to visit his grandmother, Janou (played beautifully by Cathleen Nesbitt). He invites Terry to come with him to visit his Grandmother's world. During their visit with Janou, they realize they've fallen in Love.

On the last night of the cruise, they make a pact. Nickie will try to make a living by painting and Terry heads back to Boston and a job at a Nightclub. In six months, the will meet at the top of the Empire State Building at 5PM. As Terry says, "It's the closest thing to Heaven we have in New York City!"

Six months later, Terry is struck by a car as she is running to meet him. She is paralyzed and is determined not to tell Nickie until she can walk again. Nickie spends the next year searching for the answer to why she did not show up that night. When he finally finds her, she is no longer in the Penthouse overlooking Central Park. It is Christmas and he brings her a shawl that Janou wanted her to have.

The final scene is wonderfully romantic movie and is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes. It is my favorite scene in the movie! Where Love conquers all.

When the movie was released a critic from TIME called it a "saccharine trifle… suffocating in its sentimental wrappings." To me it is a story of true Love. One that makes both Nickie and Terry better people.

I think this is why so many women love this movie. Not only did Prince Charming come along and sweep her off her feet, but she gave him the courage to be successful on his own terms. Their Love changed them and conquered their fears.

The dialog is witty, sincere and heart warming. A story of the power of Unconditional Love! And this is why this is my favorite Cary Grant movie.

VARIETY Film Review - July 17, 1957
- by "Hift"
- submitted by Barry Martin
Adding comedy lines, music, color and CinemaScope, Jerry Wald and Leo McCarey have turned this remake of the 1939 "Love Affair" into a winning film that is alternately funny and tenderly sentimental. It's got all the ingredients that should make it an ideal women's picture, and theme and treatment add up to prime boxoffice appeal.

"An Affair to Remember," using plenty of attractive settings (on and off the U.S.S. Constitution), is still primarily a film about two people; and since those two happen to be Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, one of the happiest screen combos to come along in many a moon,, the bitter-sweet romance sparkles and crackles with high spirits.

Picture for the most part maintains a good pace, though it's overlong for several scenes. Particularly the final song number not only could but should be cut. It slows up and interrupts the mood building to the climax, which is played and directed with great sensitivity and excellent taste.

Story has Grant and Miss Kerr fall in love aboard ship, though both are engaged to other people. They decide to meet in six months atop the Empire State Building. Meanwhile, Grant, a faintly notorious bachelor, is to change his life in a more useful direction. He shows up for the rendezvous, but she is struck by a car on her way to the meeting and may never walk again. Disappointed, he leaves, thinking she's changed her mind. Eventually he returns and the film heads for a happy ending as Grant discovers the truth.

Director McCarey, who with Delmer Daves wrote the screenplay, has done a fine job with this picture, though for some reason or other he cut short most of the romantic clinches between the principals. One lengthy shot has them kissing for the first time, but only their legs are shown on a ship's stairway. Several other times they kiss, but the director almost seems embarrassed to make a point of it.

Nevertheless, McCarey has gotten the most out of his players' talents. Both are experts in restrained, sophisticated comedy. Both are able to get a laugh by waving a hand or raising an eyebrow. The Grant-Kerr romance is never maudlin, not even at the end. It's a wholly believable relationship between two attractive people who find themselves irresistibly attracted to one another.

The bit when the ship lands, and Grant and Miss Kerr critically eye their respective fiancées; the tv broadcast, when Grant is reluctantly interviewed; the scene when the two, already linked romantically by the other passengers, have their dinners separately, sitting back-to-back - all these are scenes done with a deft touch that strikes just the right note. In updating their property, McCarey and Daves have done an expert job.

Grant is in top form in a made-to-order role. He's still one of the best, and one of the most attractive of stars. Also, he's perfectly cast. Miss Kerr is the cliché "never looked lovelier" or gave a better performance. Picture will add to her stature.

Rest of the cast are all fine. Cathleen Nesbitt plays the grandmother with dignity and heart; Richard Denning is sympathetic in a somewhat improbable role; Neva Patterson is striking as the millionairess engaged to Grant; Robert Q. Lewis comes off well as the tv interviewer. Charles Watt registers as the intruding passenger.

Milton Krasner's lensing is tiptop, and so is the DeLuxe color, which is fresh and natural. Song, "An Affair to Remember," is sung by Vic Damone. It was written by Harry Warren, with lyrics by Harold Adamson and McCarey. Miss Kerr sings a couple of numbers in a nightclub and the main theme runs effectively throughout the film. It's also performed during a tender little scene (with a profusion of close-ups) involving Miss Nesbitt at the piano, Grant and Miss Kerr.

This is Jerry Wald's first as an indie for 20th-Fox. Picture can't help being a hit. But, equally important, it's a production that 20th can be proud to sell. From the hilarious beginning (radio commentators in New York, Rome and London disclosing Grant's engagement in their individual styles) to the sock ending, this is the kind of ears-and-laughter film that exhibitors will call a boon for the business. 

NEW YORK TIMES Film Review - July 20, 1957
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
Moviegoers with memories that go back no less than eighteen years will have no trouble at all recognizing the inspiration of Leo McCarey's "An Affair to Remember," which came to the Roxy yesterday.  It comes directly and with little alteration from Mr. McCarey's "Love Affair," one of the best pre-World War II romances, in which Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne were starred.

Now, with the roles of those two worthies filled by Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, it reruns the same romantic fable that was covered in 1939.

It tells, once again, the heartbreak story of two worldlings who meet aboard a ship while each is en route to America to enter matrimony with vastly wealthy mates, fall in love, make an oddly reasoned bargain to marry each other in six months (if still in love, after that length of time not seeing each other), then hit an unsuspected snag.

The lady, en route to their rendezvous, is hit and hurt by an automobile and, for some incongruous reason, won't let the baffled gentleman know.  So he naturally thinks he's been stood up and moons for several months, until he discovers the lady's whereabouts, goes to see her and finds her legs won't work.  It seems to him quite ridiculous that she wouldn't tell him - and that's the way it may well seem to you.

Anyhow, the re-avow their adoration, and that's the end of the film.

As before, the attraction of this fable is in the velvety way in which two apparently blase people treat the experience of actually finding themselves in love.  This is an immature emotion that is loaded with surprise.  And the old script of "Love Affair," worked over by Mr. McCarey and Delmer Daves, provides plenty of humorous conversation that is handled crisply in the early reels by Mr. Grant and Miss Kerr.

Likewise, the scene in which the worldlings visit the aged grandmother of the man at her villa on the French Riviera (their ship - the Constitution, in this instance - makes a convenient stop) is repeated pretty much in toto, with agreeable sentiment.  Cathleen Nesbitt is good as the grandmother, a role formerly played by Maria Ouspenskaya.

But something goes wrong with the picture, after the couple get off the ship and abandon that area of romantic illusion for the down-to-earth realities of dry land.  The marriage pact seems ridiculously childish for a couple of adult people to make.  The lady's failure to notify her fiancée of her accident seems absurd.  The fact that the man does not hear of it in some way is beyond belief.  And the slowness of which he grasps the obvious when he calls upon the lady is just too thick.

Also, it must be remembered that Mr. McCarey has made "Going My Way" since he made "Love Affair" - a factor that may explain the presence in this film of a long and rather sticky-sweet song number involving the crippled heroine and a bunch of hand-picked kids.  Their contribution to the sentiment is a ditty called "The Tiny Little Scout."  It does not fit very smoothly with the earlier sophistication.

Finally, there is this to be considered: the running time of "Love Affair" was eighty-seven minutes; this one runs almost two hours.  Mr. McCarey's direction is unpropitiously and unaccountably slow.

Could it be, too, that a brand of make-believe that was tolerable eighteen years ago, before color and CinemaScope and other intrusions, is just a little discomforting now?

Click here to read Susanna's review of "An Affair to Remember"

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