Nickie Ferrante's return to New York to marry a rich heiress is well publicized as are his many antics and affairs. He meets a nightclub singer Terry McKay who is also on her way home to her longtime boyfriend. She sees him as just another playboy and he sees her as stand-offish but over several days they soon find they've fallen in love. Nickie has never really worked in his life so they agree that they will meet again in six months time atop the Empire State building. This will give them time to deal with their current relationships and for Nickie to see if he can actually earn a living. He returns to painting and is reasonably successful. On the agreed date, Nickie is waiting patiently for Terry who is racing to join him. Fate intervenes however resulting in misunderstanding and heartbreak and only fate can save their relationship.Written by
A Genuine Romance; a Thoughtful and Very Moving Two-Person Story
Forget the film's notoriety as a love story, please. Forget that Leo McCarey the author was the creator of "Going My Way", a beautifully-thought-out but pro-religious film. Forget that Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr are a wonderfully-right pair of casting decisions with delightfully just-off synergy as a troubled romantic duo. When one thinks about the very popular romance "An Affair to Remember", the story needs to be viewed as a feature film idea, and as a completed entity in its own right. And on these terms, it is as refreshing, I suggest, as a Mediterranean breeze in the springtime. McCarey's direction is as straightforward and competent as is his script. There could have been more characters; but the fundamental situation, involving famous playboy Grant with amused and interested singer Kerr in a shipboard romance that simply succeeds in spite of all the fishbowl-paparazzi-interfering passenger setbacks is unfolded for the viewer like a rose warming to a springtime sun's rays. Every aspect of the film, technical and artistic, works to increase its honest emotional impact. The famous the song, music by Hugo Friedhofer, songs by Harold Adamson and McCarey, settings and art direction, costumes and lighting, cinematography by veteran Milton Krasner--all contribute to the final glowing effect...The acting in this picture, by Richard Denning, Grant, Cathleen Nesbit as Grant's grandmother, emcee Robert Q. Lewis as himself and skilled character veteran Fortunio Bonanova and the choir children and shipboard guests is always above-average; also, Deborah Kerr (singing dubbed by Marn Nixon) is at her best in her multi-layered role, which is very good indeed; frankly, her charisma and skill had to help Grant's underwritten part if the film were to succeed. How well she did her work is attested by the film's wide acceptance with critics and audience alike. The term "romance" I suggest needs to refer to:" a personal and potential partnership between two persons capable of 'mature' or lasting admiration-based-love and worthiness of being watched as they work within the context of their ethical values to create the terms, emotional readiness and acceptable conditions for their 'union' of exclusivity together (and against the world's people and agents of frustrations or tyrannies if need be)". The attractive (for once) over thirty-five importance of both characters, and the difficulties they face in earning the right to become such a romantic union--in the objectivist sense of romance just defined--are aided in the plot and retarded in personal terms by the problems they face: the difficulty of Grant's becoming a working artist in whatever marketplace exists, Kerr's conflicting schedule, the death of his grandmother, a lengthy enforced absence and her later accident all work against them. But the climax of the film is an honest triumph of romantic comedy writing, and Grant's best scene in the film. This is a very rewarding, positive and worldly film, despite bows toward religious trappings. It is McCarey's masterpiece; and a deservedly popular film for lovers everywhere, secular or otherwise. A bit lengthy, but a rare adult Hollywood comedic near-masterpiece.
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