“Play It Again” is a series devoted to the review of the greatest American films before 1980.
An Affair to Remember, 1957 – Directed by Leo McCarey
An Affair to Remember is widely considered one of the finest romantic films ever created. The actors give brilliant performances and the directing is skillful, but it is the story that makes this film so celebrated.
The story follows Nicky Ferrante (Cary Grant), a good-looking playboy, and Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr), a beautiful former nightclub singer. Nicky and Terry meet while sailing on an ocean liner, while they are both engaged to be married to other people. As Nicky and Terry spend time together, they share many laughs and grow to care for each other.
One of the most thoughtful scenes has Nicky ask Terry to join him for a visit with his elderly grandmother. This scene is an important pivotal point in the film and the couple’s relationship. In the unassuming introduction to Nicky’s grandmother, Terry is shown a side of Nicky that is unknown to the outside world. His grandmother gives Terry an insight into Nicky’s more humanist and artistic side. It is also the first time that the pair is viewed as a couple.
The drama builds as they return to New York and to their former loves and lives. The star-crossed lovers agree to meet in six months’ time at the top of the Empire State Building if they still feel the same way. After six months, Nicky reaches the planned destination and eagerly awaits Terry’s arrival, but she never appears. Nicky is unaware that she has been in a tragic accident in her rush to meet him. In this heartbreaking turn of events, the lovers face an uncertain future. They both continue on with their lives, separately.
Six months after their missed appointment, Nicky finds Terry. She continues to hide the fact that she cannot walk. In the last moments of the film, in one of the most powerful finales of all times, he realizes the truth.
The story has a great tenderness and enduring charm that makes it undeniably unmissable. Enjoy and play it again.