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An Affair To Remember: 50th Anniversary Edition (1957)

20th Century Fox

Cast: Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr.

Rating: PG

Run time: 119 mins..

Genre: Romantic

Verdict: Brilliant (see rating system)

Fans of this classic romance will be delighted with 20th Century Fox's great 2-disc edition marking its 50th anniversary.

The newly remastered print is a beauty, full of the vibrant color so typical of the 1950s. ASnd the great extras include featurettes on the lives of Cary Grant and co-star Deborah Kerr. Grant's widow Barbara Harris, who was at his side when he died in 1986, gives a particularly touching interview. There are also featurettes on the making of the movie, director Leo Carey and prolific producer Jerry Wald.

One of those rare examples of a remake that really works, An Affair To Remember paired Grant and Kerr in an unforgettable love story for adults.

The movie worked so well that it was a key element in the plot of Sleepless In Seattle (1993), in which the characters played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan arrange to meet atop the Empire State Building - just as Grant and Kerr did in An Affair To Remember.

Director Leo McCarey, who co-wrote the story, made his first movie based on this plot in 1939, calling it Love Affair. It starred Charles Boyer and Irene Dunn and is a pretty decent flick. (Warren Beatty and his wife Annette Bening made another version in 1994 that's best avoided! Grant and Kerr simply couldn't be topped).

Even though the dialogue and many scenes are virtually identical in Love Affair and An Affair To Remember, Grant and Kerr have far more chemistry, the use of colour really boosts the movie and the title song is imaginatively used throughout, sometimes happy, sometimes sad and wistful.

Grant is Nickie Ferantte, a playboy who has squandered his talent as a painter and drifted from one empty relationship to another. Aboard a cruise liner he meets Terry McKay (Kerr) and there's an instant attraction, though she's well aware of his reputation. However, she discovers the real Nickie during the voyage and he finds a soul mate.

Problem: Nickie and Terry are already both in relationships and their partners are back in the U.S. waiting for them to return so they can get married. The thing is, Nickie and Terry aren't kids - they're middle-aged and their prospective spouses are perfectly decent people. It should be enough, but it isn't - not when they discover the rapport they have with each other.

With their voyage almost over as New York harbour appears, the pair agree to meet again in six months at the Empire State Building. But then fate takes a hand . . .

Both leads are on top form and there are many imaginative moments - for example their first kiss on a ship stairway in which we see only their legs. Romantic, often funny and with a finale that should wring tears from even the most unromantic heart.



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