An Affair to Remember (1957)

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Leo McCarey directs Deborah Kerr, Cary Grant and Cathleen Nesbitt in this classic romance weepie about a playboy and a nightclub singer who fall for each other on a cruise ship that happens to be bringing them both back to their respective betrothed. 

I finally figured Jeff Goldblum’s universal appeal out while watching Cary Grant in this golden classic. When Goldblum’s first started headlining movies he seemed like some unheralded, never seen before personality. But in actuality him and Grant are a DNA match. Gangly, mahogany skinned charmers, exuding suave, intelligence and arrogance, reading lines with a wink and a wince as if they cannot believe uttering such contrivances are their well paid jobs… and with the constant underlying current that something decadent and debauched will be going on in their hotel suite that night and you’d be invited if only you were cool enough. Grant has his perfect foil here in the definitively elegant and worldly Deborah Kerr. She is quite simply perfection in everything I’ve seen her in. As the white telephone machinations of the plot play out you get the feeling this is far from an innocent souffle. The characters and incidents skirt as close to adult and permissive as a big Hollywood confection could in 1957. For all the witty repartee and classy innuendo, the singing orphans and tragic gloss this is quite a progressive romance… pure as the driven snow compared to what was being made a decade later but equally quite unashamedly aroused compared to anything from even a year before. A shimmering magic pervades every moment, none more so than the subtle sequence of foreshadowing when the pair take an early ten minute time out from flirting to visit Grant’s grandmother. Clearly all the characters know this is the last time they’ll see her and it is never spoken aloud, just silently acknowledged and luxuriated in. The iconic moments involving Empire State Building rendezvous and sofa ridden reunions revived by Sleepless in Seattle are brilliant but that ten minutes of heartfelt interaction, nostalgia and mournful joy… Wow! About as good as the fil-lums get.

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