USA Today - 12/02/1991
"...This comic/romantic weeper is a fixture on lists of 1939's best movies..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Dashing French playboy Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) is sailing to America where he plans to marry a wealthy heiress when he unexpectedly meets Terry McKay (Irene Dunne) and is immediately smitten. Their onboard flirtation results in a pact that they will meet in six months atop of the Empire State Building. When the agreed upon date finally arrives, Terry is tragically struck by a car and leaves the frustrated Michel waiting in vain.The power of love leads the two into crossing paths once again.
Love Affair, perhaps one of the most fondly-remembered romance movies of the 1930s, garnered many Academy Award nominations, including Dunne for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress (Maria Ouspenskaya), Best Story and Best Song ("Wishing").
The magic of a shipboard romance charms a Frenchman and American woman (Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne, respectively) into each other's arms, but promises made to other people and the notoriously fleeting nature of affairs convince the couple to part ways for six months and meet again atop the Empire State Building to see if their love is a lasting one. Although their hearts remain true, an accident and a misunderstanding might lead to heartbreak.
LOVE AFFAIR was written, directed, and produced by Leo McCarey as his first major foray into drama after a successful directorial career in comedies, including projects with the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy. McCarey remade LOVE AFFAIR almost 20 years later as the better-known AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr as the star-crossed couple. Film buffs continue to debate which film is the better, though viewers of either will be swept up by the timeless romance captured so effortlessly--twice!--by McCarey and his delightfully well-matched actors.
Michel Marnet is a renowned French painter engaged to an American heiress. Terry McKay is an attractive American singer who plans to marry the man who helped build her musical career. They meet aboard ship from Naples to the United States and immediately find themselves torn between their attraction to each other and commitment to their fiancés. But during a stopover on the Madeira Islands, Terry meets Michel's grandmother and realizes that she and Michel are meant to be together. The path of true love does not always run smooth, however, as tragedy strikes just when their dreams are about to come true.
Essential Cinema |
Love Story |
Tear Jerker |
The film was originally slated to go into production under the title LOVE MATCH.
Before the cameras started rolling, RKO was contacted by the French embassy demanding that the studio not go ahead with the project. They maintained that the illicit affair depicted between a Frenchman and an American woman would tarnish the image of France at a point when they were vying for U.S. military and popular support against Germany. The French authorities were willing to take the matter to Washington, DC. As a result of this, the script was toned down.
The story had reportedly been loosely based on the life of a woman whom screenwriter Delmer Daves had met on a ship to Europe. She was being escorted out of the States for carrying on an affair with a married small-town public official.
The Hays Office had its own moral issues with the script and had strong objections to some of the earlier treatments. It issued a statement that the story was "violently in conflict with both the spirit and the letter of the Production Code," condemning the plot as a "low-toned, sordid story of gross sexual irregularities." Later the treatment was approved with a caveat stating that the "immoral conduct of these people must not be condoned" and that "both immoral parties must be punished."
Songs in the film include "Wishing" by by B.G. DeSylva and "Sing My Heart" by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler.
LOVE AFFAIR was remade in 1957 as AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr and in 1994 as LOVE AFFAIR with Annette Bening and Warren Beatty.
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