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An Affair to Remember

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 110 mins . PG . PAL


When it comes to the romantic film genre, they donít come much more classic and tearjerking than this little Leo McCarey directed number - and for good reason.

An Affair To Remember revolves around the story of world renowned playboy Nickie Ferrante, who is engaged to marry one Lois Clark (a Superman reference, perhaps?), the heiress of a rather rich American industrialist, and former nightclub singer Terry McKay, who is betrothed to her beau of some five years, Kenneth. Both are sailing from Europe to New York to rendezvous with their partners, however things get complicated as the two repeatedly manage to run into each other, and try to fool themselves that there's nothing between them - whilst all the passengers around them find much to laugh at in their attempts at feigning nonchalance.

After a quick stop at the French Riviera to visit Nickie (or Nicolo)'s delightful grandmother - one of those fabulous all seeing, all knowing Yoda types - the pair have to face leaving behind their shipboard romance and yummy pink champagne cocktails to resume their normal lives back in New York, but not before making a pact. If they still feel the same way about each other in six months time, they'll meet up on July 1st at 5pm atop the Empire State Building. Nickie returns to his painting in hopes of making a worthy, honest man of himself for Terry, whilst the latter breaks things off with her fiancť and returns to the Boston nightclub circuit. Come the big day and they're both back in New York, but as is always the way the path to true love never runs smoothly...

"We're heading into a rough sea..."

The most important ingredient for any filmic romance is the chemistry between the two leads, and An Affair To Remember is blessed with one of the better couplings to have ever graced a screen. The interplay between Grant with his sleazy/suave manner and Kerr's graceful yet more than capable of matching Mr Playboy admirably demeanour is joyous to behold, and vital in this instance as the two are left to carry the entire film pretty much on their own. Director Leo McCarey was also involved in the script, and whilst the more cynical out there will probably spend at least half of the film making gestures involving two fingers and an open mouth, those romantics amongst us will more than happily be curled up with a very big box of tissues - and a bloody huge stick to whack such philistines over the head with when need be.


Whilst undeniably showing its age, the transfer afforded An Affair To Remember still has much going for it. Presented in an anamorphically enhanced ratio of 2.35:1, it is an absolute delight to finally view it how it was originally intended to be seen, rather than with half of it missing as seen on TV and in previous video incarnations.

Colour saturation is generally reasonable, having that slightly other worldly older movie look to it, although there are a couple of instances of slight over-saturation. Still, Cary Grant's impossibly tanned features manage to come up quite well, in stark contrast with Deborah Kerr's ever-so-English rose, almost pallid complexion. Shadow detail is mostly quite good, however grain becomes an issue much more so in some scenes than others and those dreaded, but expected in films of this age, speckles tend to occur with remarkable regularity, proving mildly distracting.

The most curious anomaly on viewing this is the colour switching on scene transitions - most every time a scene changes the colour also alters extremely noticeably. The layer change is decidedly clunky - visually it isnít too severe, however it comes at a somewhat raucous moment in the film, ad hence is extremely obvious. There were other potential places for it that would have made its transition infinitely more seamless, it's just a shame that whoever was responsible for this conversion didnít actually use one of them.


Although billed as a surround enhanced Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, essentially, and understandably considering the age of the film, what we get is essentially mono. The important thing is that all dialogue is very clear and easy to understand, synching is spot on and there are no obvious examples of the old crackles and pops many films of similar vintage are infected with.

The score comes from Hugo Friedhofer, with songs by Harry Warren. Whilst many may find it an altogether schmaltzy experience by today's standards, the music - most notably the recurring theme - does its romantic job admirably, tugging at the old heart strings with much fervent alacrity.


Static and silent menus, a theatrical trailer in rather appalling shape that runs for just shy of three minutes and is at a peculiar ratio somewhere between full frame and 1.78:1, and the most pointless example of an art gallery ever committed to DVD. Four photos. Four of them! Three are black and white, plus one is in colour - what a fabulous way to pass ten seconds!


Pretty much the blueprint for most any modern cinematic offering with the name "Meg Ryan" on the marquee, An Affair To Remember is a delightful romantic diversion for those who donít wish to over-analyse things (as the 'affair' part of things could be delved into in much more detail if desired.)

Technically it shows its age somewhat, however the video is still reasonably well presented for an almost fifty-year old film, and sound does its job splendidly. The extras are laughable, so really this is one for either huge fans of the film itself, or really anybody who likes a good tearjerker to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon - with those tissues close at hand, naturally.

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      And I quote...
    "Pretty much the blueprint for most any modern cinematic offering with the name "Meg Ryan" on the marquee..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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