Sunday, December 30, 2007

Love Affair (1939)

So, not only did I see "An Affair to Remember" first, but until recently (probably because of you) I never even realized that it was based on another movie..."Love Affair." Now I know that it is not really based on "Love Affair," it is "Love Affair." It's been a few years since I saw the 50s movie, but I was actually able to recite a lot of the lines in "Love Affair" right along with the movie and say things like, "Now they're going to meet his grandmother, and she's going to offer Terry her shawl when she dies." Now I have to watch "An Affair to Remember" again before I forget this movie and see how much of it is identical. Although, with Leo McCarey directing and writing both movies, I'm sure the newer one will be as identical as I think it's going to be. But with the addition of an orange Cary Grant.

Do I need to explain the plot? American Terry McKay (Dunne) meets the charming French playboy Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) on a ship from Europe to the US. They are both engaged, but...they fall in love. After a lot of flirting, some painful silences, and the fear of imminent docking, they decide that if what they have is real, in six months they will meet on the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building at 5:00 pm on July 1.

Of course Terry is hit by a car and paralyzed on her way to meet Michel. "I was looking were up there." And of course Michel waits until midnight in a thunderstorm and leaves hurt and furious. And of course Terry is unwilling to call him and tell him what has happened. She's just waiting to learn to walk again so she can run into his arms. Even knowing the plot, it still feels horrible to watch it unfold.

Why Irene Dunne is wonderful:
She really does have perfect timing. Even though this is not at all a comedy, every once in a while you can see how great she is at delivering, for lack of a better word, sassy comebacks. When Michel first meets Terry, he starts trying to butter her up with all sorts of comments about how bored he was before he met her and how he was worried beautiful women didn't travel anymore. Just as my friends were saying, "I'd be throwing him out at this point," Terry shoots back with, "Have you been getting results with a line like that?" She also manages to get in a very nice, "How's your fiancee?"

Random final detail of interest: The creator of Pepe Le Pew modeled the skunk's voice and mannerisms after Charles Boyer.

1 comment:

Ms. Q said...

Oh I LOVE the random detail of interest!
Also, they are the rare couple (for the 30s) who are essentially broke. Almost every other romance of this period one or the other of the lovers is loaded.