I am watching Cary Grant movies with Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs this spring. I picked movies of Cary’s I had not seen before.
Today we are discussing An Affair to Remember from 1957, which was nominated for four Oscars.
In this movie, Cary plays Nick Ferrante, a “international playboy”. He is a man who likes to date rich women – as many as he can at a time it seems.
As the movie starts, though, it appears that he is finally settling down. It’s worldwide news when he becomes engaged. He’s on a cruise, though, where there is a lot of women available to him and it’s there that he meets Terry McKay portrayed by Deborah Kerr.
He can’t seem to break himself from the habit of picking up women,so he starts with picking her up as well.
“You saved my life,” he tells her. “I was bored to death. I didn’t think I’d find one attractive woman on this boat. . . . I said to myself, ‘Don’t beautiful women travel anymore?’ And then I saw you.”
Then he proceeds by essentially trying to get into her pants. Excuse me for being blunt but he suggests they find something fun to do and he is her cabin. She, however, lets him know that she is romantically involved with someone. He keeps trying to get her to cheat and, well, eventually, that will happen with a few kisses, but nothing beyond that, as far as we are shown anyhow.
We see from the beginning that the connection is real, but then I did find myself wondering how real it was with two people who were willing to cheat on their romantic partners, especially the one who is used to moving from woman to woman. That’s the cynical side of me, of course. I mean they weren’t actually married yet.
They do try to stay away from each other on the ship but no matter where they go, they seem to bump into each other.
It is a literal bumping incident at the pool that leads Nick to invite Terry to meet his French grandmother during a stop by the ship in France. His grandmother adores Terry and Terry adores her and her beautiful villa. Terry learns more about Nick that makes her fall for him even more. He’s an artist, but he always destroys his paintings because they are never good enough, his grandmother says.
It’s at his grandmother’s that Terry breaks out her singing voice and shows she has hidden talents as well. But the ship horn is blowing, and they have to leave the grandmother, much to the grandmother and their sadness.
Terry clearly doesn’t want to love the grandmother because then she has to admit she’s falling for man who is not the man she has been romantically involved with and if she can’t have Nick, then she can’t have the grandmother either. But she does love the woman and . . . yes, Nick.
An additional challenge for the now blossoming couple is that Nick is a famous socialite and everyone on the ship is watching them to see if they really are a couple so they can gossip about it.
Soon the cruise will be over, though, and they need to decide what they are going to do about their newfound love for each other. That’s when Terry decides they need to get their lives in order in the next six months and then if they both want the relationship, they will meet at the top of the Empire State Building in July.
They each go back to their lives, and we follow their journeys there until July. They both pursue their real passions in life during this time – art for Nick and singing for Terry. They both also change during this time, finding out what is real and most important in their lives.
You’ll have to watch the movie if you want to know if they meet or not, but if you’ve ever seen that one scene in Sleepless in Seattle, you probably know what happens. Or the gist of it. It really is a classic ending and I have my opinions on it, but I don’t want to share so I don’t ruin the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen it. All I know is that I wanted to yell at the screen a couple of times and that I had to wipe my eyes a bit.
I enjoyed this movie a lot more than My Favorite Wife. I did not expect Kerr to sing two or three songs in it, since it wasn’t a musical, but the songs were very nicely done. Overall, I felt the movie was well done. I did feel the ending was a bit rushed and would have liked to have learned a little bit more about what happened after it.
This movie was directed by Leo McCarey who also directed Cary in The Awful Truth, which, if you remember from my previous blog post about The Awful Truth, was a director that Cary clashed with originally. Cary didn’t understand McCarey’s style of directing, which included simply telling the actors the gist of the scene and then having them improvise. Cary eventually warmed to McCarey’s style and even expressed disappointment that he was not in McCarey’s movie Love Affair from 1939. He was so disappointed he talked McCarey into remaking the movie, which is what An Affair to Remember was, according to Wikipedia.
Cary and Kerr did improvise many of their lines and many of those were what appeared in the film according to trivia on IMBd.
Another bit of trivia on IMBd that I found interesting:
“Deborah Kerr plays Terry McKay, previously played by Irene Dunne in Love Affair (1939), of which this film is a remake. Both were directed by Leo McCarey. The year before this film was made, Kerr played Anna Leonowens in The King and I (1956), also a role that had previously been played by Irene Dunne in the black-and-white classic Anna and the King of Siam (1946). “The King and I” is a musical based on the same book.”
Next up for our Spring of Cary feature is the movie Holiday with Cary and Katherine Hepburn.
After that we have:
Operation Petticoat (May 11)
Suspicion (May 18)
Notorious (May 25)
To read Erin’s impression of An Affair to Remember, hop on over to her blog.
8 thoughts on “Spring of Cary: An Affair To Remember”
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I think meeting the grandmother is the turning point here, but for a slightly different reason. Nickie is not super-young anymore, and I think he finally has the girl with him that he can take home to grandma without actually realizing it. When he does, it changes the ballgame. With her, she’s been waiting on someone to marry, and the man that she’s been “attached to” is only willing to do so when he’s fearful of losing her – and by that time, it’s too late.
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Yes, I agree with all of this. Her boyfriend and his dragging his feet..ugh…but then at the end of the movie when he is so caring of her, to the point he even wants to tell the man she really loves what happened to her so she won’t be so upset anymore by her heartbreak.
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Great review of one of my favorite actors! A few weeks ago, I enjoyed a duo of films which paired up Cary Grant and Jean Arthur, “Only Angels Have Wings” and “The Talk of the Town”.
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So after thinking about it last night, I did see Sleepless in Seattle years ago! I loved Meg Ryan back in the day.
That is really interesting about Cary Grant and McCarey!
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My all time favorite Cary Grant movie! I keep it
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