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Ex-football star Mike Gambril meets Terry McKay on a flight to Sydney, which is forced to land on a small atoll. Both engaged to others, they become romantic on board the ship sent to take the 'plane passengers to a larger island. They agree to meet in New York three months later to see if the attraction is real. One shows up, the other doesn't, but they run into each other afterwards. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There are multiple reasons to like this. I'll mention two.
One comes from the fact that it is a remake. Such things have miraculous properties. Storytelling is all about choices, most invisible. Its the goal sometimes. But when you have a remake and you know the original, then all the scaffolding of the thing becomes visible and you can marvel or not at the changes that have been made. The choices.
I do not know the 1939 version, but I do the 57 version with Cary Grant. Its not just mawkish and cheap, its offensive, even vile. The method of presentation depends not on the love, but on the helplessness of the pair. They are quite literally prostitutes, professional paid escorts. He is enchanted by her primarily because she didn't show at the rendezvous and since no one had ever turned him down before he fell in "love" hard, because of the chase. It hit all the negative buttons, even the racist ones.
This redone in such a way that it avoids all those faults. It has almost precisely the same story, but instead of cheap sentimental exploitation, you get rich cinematic romance. You get love embodied in actors, three good ones. You get real love at least so far as movies have and not infatuation. You have lovers adjusting lives to fit, not tossing advantage in spite.
For me it worked as a romantic movie. I know it failed to sell many tickets, and can only guess that it was too honest and true, with not enough sweeping violins. We don't like true love in movies.
And that brings me to the other value, the fold with real life. Beatty really was the sort of character he played here, a serial screwer, a man engaged in the chase, someone not to be trusted but who clearly has an image-based artistic side. Benning's reputation was less public, but she was close to being the most desirable woman in Hollywood after "Grifters."
They really did fall in love. At filming, she was already carrying their second child. The chemistry is real and conveyed effectively. I make a special study of films where the director is in love with the main actress. Its rare that such a man has such a love, and produces, writes and stars in such a profession of love. Life folded into film romance done competently and cinematically. Is there anything in film romance that matters more?
The palette is rosey. Its lovely to watch.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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