Sunday, April 24, 2011

Film: An Affair to Remember

Title of film: An Affair to Remember (1957)
Directed by: Leo McCrary
Starring: Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
My rating (out of 5): ★★★★

Summary: An Affair to Remember follows two far-from-single people, Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant) and Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) who meet on a ship en route to New York City. Nickie is going to meet his fiancé, Lois Clark (Neva Patterson, and Terry, her boyfriend Kenneth Bradley (Richard Denning). While on board the ship they meet and, though trying to avoid one another, seem to bump into each other quite often (as fate in movies will have it). When the ship docks in France, Nickie asks Terry to go with him to visit his grand-mere (Cathleen Nesbitt). During the visit, the two realize that they are in love with one another. Right before parting, they decide that they will meet in six months at the top of the Empire State Building. Both split with their significant others (who happened to be their financial stability) and got jobs; Terry, singing, Nickie, painting. Once the six months are up, Terry is on her way to meet Nickie when she is in a horrible accident. Although the film does not show it, one would assume she is hit by a car. Nickie waited for her until midnight, then left. Because of the accident, Terry cannot walk and does not want to tell Nickie this, because she is unsure if he has the ability to help her get well and she does not want him to feel obligated to. The two go about their separate lives until running into each other at a show, both happening to be with their exes. All they exchange is a "hello" until the next day, Nickie looks up Terry in the phone book and pays a call to her, bringing her a shawl that his grandmother had said she wanted Terry to have on their visit. He seems rather angry and Terry will not tell him that she cannot walk. He is about to leave when he recalls that the owner of the shop that sells his paintings told him about a woman who came in with little money, and asked to have a painting that Nickie had painted of Terry and his grandmother. He then remembers that the woman was in a wheelchair and, in a moment of understanding, rushes to the bedroom to see said painting hanging in Terry's bedroom. The couple embraces as Terry says "If you can paint, I can walk. Anything can happen, right?"

My take: At first I thought the movie (with running time at almost exactly 2 hours - 119 minutes) would be dull at points. I was mistaken. Cary Grant was breathtaking as usual, and while I'm not a huge fan of Deborah Kerr looks-wise, she grew on me by the end of the film. My favorite parts were really at the beginning, when the two were throwing sarcastic comments at one another. For example, Nickie asks Terry for a lighter and she says something to the effect of "You could light it with that inscription, couldn't you?" referring to the inscription on the inside of his cigarette case that says (in French) "in memory of three unforgettable nights aboard the 'Caroline.'" Once the two get lovey-dovey it still has comical moments, such as when the two first see the other with their true partners.

It bothered me that the film never really shows Nickie and Terry kissing. It is implied that they do, but the camera only shows from their waists down, as they are on a staircase that blocks their top halves. They exchange a few pecks on camera but no real, passionate kiss. I realize that this movie came out way before it was common and acceptable for people to be rolling around naked on-screen, but a passionate embrace would have been nice.

The last 30 minutes of the film frustrated, well to put it bluntly, the hell out of me. I was practically screaming at my laptop (I watched the film on Netflix's Instant Watch) "TELL HIM!" But the ending was grand, I was so afraid that Terry would let him walk out of the apartment without finding out and that the ending would not be a happy one. But it was, thank heavens, and none too soon, for I was about to fast-forward to the ending just to see if they'd end up together! For lovers of the past and romances, I would definitely recommend this film.

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