An Affair To Remember (1957)

But an affaire like in the olden days where a peck on the cheek is... well... cheeky
But an affair like in the olden days where a peck on the cheek is... well... cheeky

Genre: Drama Romance

Starring: Cary Grant (To Catch a ThiefNorth By Northwest) , Deborah Kerr (The InnocentsThe King And I)

Directed By: Leo McCarey (Duck SoupMake Way For Tomorrow)

Overview: While on a cruise to New York to meet their mates, an engaged playboy and an involved lady meet and fall in love. When the playboy suggests they meet in six months to see what could be, matters become ever more complicated.

Another notch on the great bedpost that is 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, An Affair to Remember is one of those films I use to ground myself, to remind myself that productions like Big Boobs Buster, for as awesome as it is, isn't actually 'good', its overall value to my cinematic education isn't genuinely, heartily bolstered. An Affair To Remember is one of those titles that you've all seen on some shelf somewhere, and since I've finally gotten around to it, I thought I'd share a little insight into it, something I call a 'review'.

What surprised me most about this tale of post-modern star-cross'd lovers was the dialogue. No, I wouldn't say that it was consistently great, nor would I say it was particularly poignant or deep, but for what I imagine 1957 to be, I'd say it was pretty racy. Imagine, if you will, a woman alone on a cruise, on her way to meet her boyfriend, when she runs into a famous playboy, who also just so happens to be on the same cruise because he's meeting up with his fiancée. In their first discussions, they make no secret that they are each interested, yet they are both completely aware that they can't have what they want, given their destinations. The two develop a friendship instead, again without either having any doubt of the sexual tension that exists between them, and ever dropping constant not-so-subtle hints that they should be together. Some pretty daring leaps take place until they decide that their love is genuine and all too strong to be ignored. They agree to take a hiatus to think about things, and, if they feel the same way in six months, to meet at the top of the Empire State building, to be married shortly thereafter. Should one not make it, well that's the way the cookie crumbles.

 Romance? Check.
Romance? Check.

I'm not going to bore / excite you with any more details of this affair, but I will add a comment about a couple of the songs in the film. Deborah Kerr plays a once nightclub signer and her first song finds her in a club with a black dress and some god-awful green scarf donned like some nasty babushka. If that was character development, well, I needed less of it. For both the songs she performed, the lip-synching was so atrocious that I begged for a second take. Later, Kerr is leading school children in a recital, a song about 'your conscience'. About half-way through the overly studio-sounding ever more lip-synched saccharine song I said, "What the hell is happening?! Did the director just dip into the slag-pot of Hollywood musical numbers cause his producer wanted to see his own kid in some movie?" Lame.  Even lamer than the NEXT song those kids sang later on.

Too much singing, it just seemed so out of place for such a tale.

Performance: 8 Cinematography: 7 Script: 7 Plot: 7 Mood: 7

Overall Rating: 72% (Can't Say It's All That Etched)
Aftertaste:

For those of you who love a good old-school Romance, I'll toss this your way as a classic. Of course, as always, die hard fans of a Genre tend to have already seen the classics. For the rest of you, my rating holds up: average movie enjoyed by fans of the genre, but nothing grand or inspiring in ways of cinematic advancement, save perhaps a greater honesty that might be expected from the era - a hint of cheeky coolness in the dialogue.

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