Friday, December 9, 2011

The Classic List: star-crossed edition

You know those films that everyone talks about and says they love, but you're convinced that they're just over-exagerrating because it's not possible for a film to connect with such a diverse group of people? This week's pick is one of those. Every classic movie fanatic worth their salt will list this as one of their favorites, and once you watch it, you will too. The gorgeous scenery, beautiful love story, and, of course, Cary Grant, make An Affair to Remember one of THOSE movies. This is required watching, people, and I'll tell you why...
The breakdown is this: Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant) and Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) are engaged-- to other people. They're on a steamer returning from Europe, when Terry encounters Nickie and does her best to resist his charms. Because Nickie is a renowned ladies' man and the fact that he's gone so far as to get engaged is a BIG DEAL; Terry knows it, the press knows it, and everyone on the ship knows it. 


Much to our lovely leading lady's chagrin, she falls for Nickie (of course, who wouldn't, it's Cary Grant, for goodness' sake!). At first, she pretends that she's not hopelessly besotted, and as much as Terry denies her feelings, Nickie becomes ten times more persistent in his wooing. Because this love ain't one-sided, ladies and gents! The infallible Mr. Nickie Ferrante is, for the first time in his life, in love! 

When their boat docks in Madeira for a short stop, Nickie convinces Terry to come along with him while he delivers a package. And in what is one of my favorite scenes in the movie, we meet his grandmother, Janou, and discover that our favorite playboy is actually an incredible painter. As you can imagine, our girl Terry is just as surprised, and this is the moment where she falls completely in love with him. Can you say FEELINGS, because this scene sure gives me lots of them. We finally get an inside glimpse into a character that, until this point, we weren't completely sure we could trust with our hearts Terry could trust with her heart. AND THEN, Grandmother Janou says one of my favorite things in the entire movie: 
Everything comes too easily to him. He's always attracted by the art he isn't practicing, the place he hasn't been, the girl he hasn't met.
Which makes a little light bulb blink on in my head and go, MY GOODNESS, MARIAH, SHE'S TALKING ABOUT YOU, which is secretly one of the reasons I love this movie so much. Aren't all of us always searching for the better thing, better place, better person. We think, "If only I lived in this place I'd be happy, or maybe I shouldn't spend the rest of my life with this person... there could be someone better for me." But I digress. 

I don't want to tell you the rest of the plot because that would totally ruin the magic of this movie. Which leads me to what makes An Affair to Remember "Classic List" worthy, one of the things is, indeed, the plot. AFI considers this to be one of the most romantic films of all time, and I'd have to agree. In 1957, when the movie was released, certain surprising plot elements hadn't yet been done to death in this genre, which meant that movie-goers would spend the second half of the movie on the edge of their seats anticipating certain events. And thanks to my generosity, you, dear readers, can do the same. So, NO CHEATING. Don't go to Wikipedia and look up a plot summary. This film deserves to be experienced in all its glory.

If y'all haven't figured it out by now, I'm a bit of a fanatic when it comes to movie scores, they almost take up the entirety of my iPod music content. The score was nominated for numerous awards, including an Oscar, and the song that gives the movie its name is one that simply must be listened to:

As with all of the films on this list, beautiful costumes and scenery are a must. Charles LeMaire who did the clothes for Carousel, Love is A Many Splendored Thing, and All About Eve dressed the cast for this film and was nominated for an Oscar for his work. While, the French Riviera and New York served as dazzling scenery.

It simply isn't possible to watch An Affair to Remember and not fall in love with Cary Grant along the way. He was one of the greatest film stars of that time, and the gravity and humor he brought to the role of Nickie are not to be missed, especially towards the end of the film. So, as usual, I leave you with instructions to go find a copy of this movie and watch it immediately... Just make sure you have a box of tissues handy.


  1. "C'est la vie, et cetera." THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES!!! Deborah Kerr is such a natural and I love the scenes she improvised. But oh. my. HEART! THE ENDINGGGG!!!!!!!!! "It was the nearest thing to heaven... you were there!" CREYES FOR EYES!!!

  2. Oh man, you aren't kidding. The ending= snotty uncontrollable sobbing mess. And "Oh, Darling, don't look at me that way." GAH