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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 4/19/00

An Affair to Remember
1957 (2000) - 20th Century Fox

review by Florian Kummert of The Digital Bits

An Affair to Remember Film Rating: B-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B/C-

Specs and Features

114 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer-switch 54:10, at the start of chapter 11), Amaray keep case packaging, photo gallery, 5 theatrical trailers (for An Affair to Remember, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, How Green Was My Valley, Gentleman's Agreement and All About Eve), film-themed menu screens, scene access (20 chapters), languages: English and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and Spanish, Closed Captioned

"It's the closest thing we have to Heaven."

Remember that scene in Sleepless in Seattle where Meg Ryan and Rosie O' Donnell watch An Affair to Remember and complain that men would never understand that movie? Well, the Cary Grant-Deborah Kerr tearjerker has arrived on DVD and guess what? I didn't get it. Sure, it's a nice film... but not a great one. It doesn't do anything for me. I watched An Affair to Remember with two women who were almost in tears, though. They loved the show. Actually, they adored it. Oh, well... to each their own.

The story: Cary Grant plays Nickie Ferrante, a famous playboy who has never worked in his entire life. He plans to marry a rich woman with her $600 million dollar heritage (and that's in 1957 currency let's not to forget). On a cruise to Europe, he meets Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr), a former nightclub singer who's engaged to a wealthy American businessman. Both Nickie and Terry financially rely on their partners. But love knows no boundaries and, of course, the playboy and the singer fall in love. At the end of the cruise, Nickie asks Terry to marry her. She needs time to think it over and Nickie comes up with a plan. He pledges to work hard as a painter and earn his own money. To make sure their love is not bogus, they decide to go separate ways. They promise to meet on the top of the Empire State Building in exactly six months, if they still feel the same way to each other. If one of them doesn't show up, the other will know why. Six months later, Nickie waits on top of the Empire State for his love to come. But what he doesn't know, is that a taxi hit Terry on her way to the meeting. So Nickie waits and waits, while a thunderstorm is blowing ominously around the skyscraper. Hours later, he finally leaves (his heart broken) and wanders off into the night. For months, they don't see each other. Terry's too proud to tell Nickie that she's crippled. And he's too proud to find out why she didn't show up. But fate is bound to bring them together….

Sitting through An Affair to Remember, you get actually two films for the price of one. The first half is a shipboard romance, which works fine for me. There's lots of banter, witty dialogue and a steady pace to keep the film afloat. But then disaster hits one of our main characters and the film turns into a sappy mega-melodrama that pulls every possible string again and again and yet again in an attempt to make even Dirty Harry reach for the Kleenex box.

"That's a chick's movie," Tom Hanks says of the film in Sleepless in Seattle, with horror in his eyes. Well... even compared to other "chick's movies", An Affair to Remember is as sappy as it gets. "Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories," the lovers declare. "We've already missed the spring." Uh-huh. But hey - hokey dialogue is part of the fun. Especially during the first hour, witty repartee and some nice Cinemascope scenery (with vistas of the French Riviera) make for a joyful romantic comedy. The casting directors did a fine job. Cary Grant epitomizes elegance, charm and the art of seduction... and manages to get away with the corniest of lines. Deborah Kerr's powerful portrayal nicely harmonizes with her male partner - she's smart and strong-willed and loves pink champagne. And aren't those orange dresses of hers just fabulous? Joan Rivers would get a kick out of that. Unfortunately, after the accident, the film drowns in sentimental scenes. Heck - the director even threw in TWO musical numbers with singing kids (and let's not forget the cute dog). I have to admit, though, that the climax is genuinely touching.

Did the quality of the DVD make me weep for joy? Alas, it didn't. 20th Century Fox once again decided not to go anamorphic, although the Cinemascope picture would have greatly benefited from that. The colors of the generally clean print seem over-saturated at times, but considering the age of the film, it's nothing to be concerned about. I also noticed some grain and NTSC noise in several scenes. All in all, the transfer is probably as good as it gets right now. But if Fox had done a new anamorphic transfer, even I would have needed a hankey.

The Dolby Digital sound is a solid stereo track, and it does a fine job. The musical numbers have an especially nice dynamic range. And as for supplemental features... well, Fox hasn't put much effort into this one. They provided a charming theatrical trailer (with a pretty bad transfer, though), plus several other trailers for old Fox romance classics. There's also a not-too-extensive photo gallery of behind-the-scenes shots. And that's it.

To all the women out there, I apologize for not loving this film with all of my heart. To Fox, I have to say that with more effort, this could have been a disc to remember.

Florian Kummert
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