Hef’s Movie Notes: An Affair to Remember

By Hugh Hefner

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Hef’s Movie Notes: An Affair to Remember:

Tomorrow night: Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in “MY FAVORITE WIFE.”On Sunday: Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan in “SHAME.”

Next Friday: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Thomas Mitchell in the ***** classic “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.”

And on Saturday–a week from tomorrow: Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin and Peter Billingsley in the **** Jean Shepherd classic “A CHRISTMAS STORY.”

Tonight: Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in the romantic classic “AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER.”

As you well know, this is the story of a playboy and a kept woman. And their redemption!

It is a remake of a 1939 classic starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne, titled “LOVE AFFAIR.”

Conceived, co-written, directed and produced by Leo McCarey.

McCarey was a reckless Irishman, with a wild, inventive mind. His wonderful, frantic films are also characterized by unabashed sentimentality.

One of the first things he did in movies was write gags for Our Gang comedies.

Many years later, Jean Renoir said, “McCarey understands people – better, perhaps, than anyone else in Hollywood.”

McCarey’s credits include the Marx Bros. classic “DUCK SOUP,” “RUGGLES OF RED GAP,” Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in “THE AWFUL TRUTH” and “MY FAVORITE WIFE,” plus “GOING MY WAY,” the film that earned Bing Crosby his first Oscar.

McCarey once said, “I’ll let someone else photograph the ugliness of the world. It’s larceny to remind people of how lousy things are and call it entertainment.”

When Leo McCarey produced and directed “Going My Way” (1944) and “THE BELLS OF ST. MARY” (1945), he was the highest paid man in America.

He was rich enough to do whatever he wanted. And a decade later, what he wanted to do was a virtual remake of “LOVE AFFAIR.”

This time, with Cary Grant, but without Irene Dunne.

“Between the first and second versions, to tell the truth, there aren’t many differences,” he said.

The real difference between “LOVE AFFAIR” and “AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER” is the difference between Charles Boyer and Cary Grant.

“Cary Grant can never succeed in hiding that really extraordinary sense of humor he has,” McCarey said. “That is why the second version, even in the most touching love scenes, is so funny.”

And this film will make you both laugh and cry.

It contains one of the most touching closing lines in film history, when Deborah Kerr says to Cary, “If you can paint, I can walk!”

This is McCarey’s favorite film—the first version for its purity—and the second, because it was such a huge commercial success.

“An Affair to Remember” was budgeted at $2,088,000 and ran slightly over budget.

Production began in February, 1957.

Part of the film was shot on board the U.S. Constitution.

And it was premiered there, in New York Harbor, on July 11, 1957.

Critical reaction was mixed, but audience response was overwhelming.

Some critics found it overly sentimental. In contrast to the Production Code reaction to the original version, which assailed the shooting script of the 1939 film as a “low toned, sordid story of gross sexual irregularities without a semblance of what we call ‘compensating moral values.’”

The Production Code be damned. It is, in reality, a highly romantic love story—with a great musical score.

The film received four Oscar nominations—for Best Cinematography, Costume Design, Musical Score and Song.

Seven-time Oscar nominated Deborah Kerr received an Oscar nomination in 1957, but for “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison”—a film in which she plays a Catholic nun, not a kept woman.

This was, nonetheless, one of her favorite films.

It earned a domestic gross of $2,870,000 in its initial release, with a probable additional $5 million in its international bookings and early TV sales.

A blockbuster!

Warren Beatty and Annette Bening did a lame remake, titled “LOVE AFFAIR” in 1994, that is best forgotten.

And now–from 1957—

Cary Grand and Deborah Kerr in

“AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER”


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