An Affair to Remember (Blu-ray)
It’s the film that made its mark on great modern love stories. If it has Meg Ryan in it, there’s probably a reference. The first time I saw SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, I wondered what movie this was that Ryan’s character, Annie adored so much. So much in fact, that she patterned her grandest romantic move after the one used in the film. All Annie wanted was to meet her true love at the top of the Empire State Building, just like in AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER.
Annie was definitely right about one thing; this was a time when people knew how to be in love. While reality was definitely underscored, nothing kept the two lovers apart. In this classic from 1957, there is no ending that leaves the pair unhappy. As Annie says, “Time, distance… nothing could separate them because they knew. It was right. It was real.” For a singer and a playboy/artist, who are both engaged, this is as real as it gets.
While we may not be able to relate to their stature in life, Nickie Ferrante (Grant) and Terry McKay (Kerr) make you feel all the emotions through their words, touch, and expressions. Nickie meets McKay aboard a ship going from Europe to New York. As I said, both are engaged but spark up an instant friendship despite what Terry has heard about Nickie’s reputation. At one point during their voyage, the pair stop to visit Nickie’s Grandmother. The touching relationship within the family causes Terry to see Nickie in a different way. Now Nickie has a softer side and the look in his eyes goes from sly to endearing. This encounter causes their friendship to evolve into love. By the time the cruise is over, they decide to end their engagements and meet at the top of the Empire State Building in six months. This is only if they are able to end their relationships.
After seeing Nickie and his fiancée on television, Terry breaks down to her fiancé to tell him that she did fall for Nickie back on the boat. Terry’s fiancé convinces her that it’s a terrible idea and reminds her of Nickie’s bad reputation. Still, she remains in love with him. On the other side, Nickie shows signs of change—he gets back into painting and there’s a noticeable shift in his disposition.
Finally the time comes for the two to meet. Nickie makes his way to the Empire State Building, but Terry does not. Unfortunately while on her way, Terry is struck by a car and paralyzed from the waste down. Nickie has no idea what has happened because Terry does not want him to know from fear that he would not want to be with her. Terry goes about her life without the knowledge of what could have been. She becomes a music teacher and her everything seems on course until the see each other during a ballet. Terry condition is not noticeable because she is sitting when Nickie sees her. Terry is cold, replies to Terry’s “hello”, and walks away.
Of course the two work things out. Nickie finds Terry’s address on Christmas and pays her a visit. During this meeting, Nickie figures out why Terry did not meet with him and in the end the two embrace tightly. The love is evident in both of their eyes and the viewer knows deep down that he still wants to be with her. The film never goes past the embrace, but the relationship between Terry and Nickie leaves you with little doubt. A love like theirs surpasses all boundaries.
Grant and Kerr make it easy to believe everything about this love story. Grant is a certain kind of charming that can never be duplicated. He’s the kind of actor that makes you fall in love with him no matter what year it is. The transition from playboy to lovefool is so effortless for Grant. His sincerity and expression in certain scenes makes you feel the way he does—as if another love like this will never come again. Kerr is a timeless beauty, who plays the part of the woman with strength well. While today it may seem like a stretch for an independent woman to just drop all her beliefs for one man, then love made anything possible. There were no bounds. Both characters play so well off each other that you follow them through everything, hoping against hope that everything works out.
Bottom line is—for those true romantics out there; this is one you shouldn’t pass up. This is what a romantic film should be. In film now, we are so focused on what would be the more realistic take that we never try to get swept up in the romances of old. Maybe the two get together—who cares about the consequences! I guess it’s easier to say this when you have stars like, Grant and Kerr to reflect upon. A love like this goes hand and hand with class, something that many stars today can’t even get close to. AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER will always be one to remember.
Video (2.35:1 Widescreen): The transfer is decent for this release. While it is still grainy and at time the colors are a bit too dark, it looks good.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD): While I was able to hear everyone clearly, I felt like the audio didn’t really get much attention paid to it. It feels like the audio track that you might hear from a VHS.
Commentary by Singer Marnie Nixon and Film Historian Joseph McBride: This is a great listen. While McBride is the dominate voice, Nixon comes in with interesting things about Kerr, who she did the singing for in the film.
Affairs to Remember: Cary Grant (9:47): This segment goes into Grant’s own affair off-screen. While with his wife, the actor had a relationship with the beautiful Sophia Loren. Grant was very much wrapped up with the Italian actress, but after the film was over she went back to Carlo Ponti.
Affairs to Remember: Deborah Kerr (5:32): Sadly, Mrs. Kerr also found herself in a similar situation as Grant. The actress was unhappy in her own marriage for a long time. After the marriage dissolved, Kerr found a great love with another man.
A Director to Remember: Leo McCarey (22:33): I did not know much about McCarey so it was nice to watch this featurette. Basically you get a retrospective look back at the director’s career.
A Producer to Remember: Jerry Wald (15:59): This was another gentleman I did not know anything about. It’s really sweet to see his family reflect on what a great guy he was and how he had such an eye for picking projects.
The Look of An Affair to Remember (8:53): If you are interested in setting and why certain looks are chosen for a film, then you will really enjoy this featurette. I really love the classic look of these films so I appreciated it.
AMC Backstory: An Affair to Remember (24:27): There’s a ton of interesting stuff here. I thought it was crazy that the Empire State Building was replaced with another in San Francisco. Cary Grant was not at all pleased about that. They also visit some similar notes as were seen in previous features. Still worth the watch.
Fox Movie Stone News: An Affair to Remember Shipboard & Premiere Attracts Celebrities (:56): Very brief footage of the film’s premiere. I always love seeing old news reels like this.
24-page booklet: Like many DVD/book collectibles, this one is no different. Inside you will find information on the stars, director, and production. There are some wonderful pictures as well.