Monday, December 8, 2014

Some more thoughts on An Affair to Remember

Cary Grant is this month's Star of the Month on TCM, so at some point it's only natural that they're going to get around to running An Affair to Remember. That airing is going to be tonight at 8:00 PM. Now, I've mentioned it quite a few times, perhaps most notably back in August, 2009 when I tried to compare the movie humorously to King Kong. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy loses girl. It's a story line as old as the earlist plays, I think.

I should probably be a bit fairer to An Affair to Remember, however, and tke a serious look at the film. After all, the film does have quite a bit to recommend it. That starts with the two leads, Grant and Deborah Kerr. Both of them are on their way across the Atlantic to meet up with their future spouses. You'd think that a wealthy guy like Grant's character would take the plane across the Atlantic, but he takes the slow boat, which allows our two main characters to fall in love. Grant by this time was quite good at playing the wealthy and elegant playboy types, even if I think he was a bit too old to be playing one here. I don't know that Deborah Kerr was rightly cast either as she's a bit too British and giving off an upper-crust vibe to be a teacher who isn't upper-crust. If she were doing it for charity purposes as in Lydia, it would make more sense. That having been said, Grant and Kerr are both professional actors, and do the best they can with their parts, which isn't bad. It's easy to see why these two would fall in love with each other.

Where I have a big problem with the movie is when Grant is supposed to meet Kerr at the observation deck of the Empire State Building, and she's waylaid on account of getting hit by a car. The movie turns into a weepy, almost melodramatic movie, which just isn't my thing. I suppose it was more common at the time for wheelchair-bound people to be viewed as though their lives were somehow much lesser because of their disability. Indeed, when TCM did a spotlight of disabilities in film a couple of years back, the guy who presented the series alongside Robert Osborne selected this movie to make precisely that point. And to be fair, back in those days getting hit by a car would have necessitated a long recovery, even if Kerr wasn't going to wind up in a wheelchair. It just that there's something so overdone about the way An Affair to Remember handles the material, at least for my taste.

Of course, there are going to be a lot of people out there who like this sort of story, and as such are going to love the movie. It is, after all, quite well made, just like those MGM musicals that I don't particularly care for either. In some ways it's kind of unfair to pan a movie just because it's not one's own favorite genre, so don't look at my comments on An Affair to Remember as a pan. Instead, think of it as a caveat for pepole who might have problems with a certain type of movie.

I should also add that An Affair to Remember is available on DVD from the TCM Shop.

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