An Affair to Remember

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An Affair to Remember
Directed byLeo McCarey
Produced byLeo McCarey
Jerry Wald
Screenplay byDelmer Daves
Donald Ogden Stewart
Leo McCarey
Story byLeo McCarey
Mildred Cram
StarringCary Grant
Deborah Kerr
Richard Denning
Music byHugo Friedhofer
CinematographyMilton Krasner
Edited byJames B. Clark
Color processDeLuxe Color
Jerry Wald Productions, Inc.
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 19, 1957 (1957-07-19)[1]
Running time
115 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2.1 million[2]
Box office$3.8 million[3]

An Affair to Remember is a 1957 American romance film directed by Leo McCarey and starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Filmed in CinemaScope, it was distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is considered one of the most romantic films of all time, according to the American Film Institute.[4] The film was a remake of McCarey's 1939 film Love Affair, starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer.


Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant), a well-known playboy, meets Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) aboard the transatlantic ocean liner SS Constitution en route from Europe to New York. Each is involved with someone else. After a series of meetings aboard the ship, they establish a friendship. When Terry joins Nickie on a brief visit to his grandmother, Janou, while the ship is anchored near her home at Villefranche-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean coast, she sees Nickie with new eyes and their feelings become deeper. During their visit, Janou tells Terry that Nickie is a talented painter but destroys most of his paintings because they don't meet his standards. As the ship returns to New York City, they agree to reunite at the top of the Empire State Building in six months' time if they have succeeded in ending their relationships and starting new careers.

On the day of their rendezvous, Terry, hurrying to reach the Empire State Building, is struck down by a car while crossing a street. Gravely injured, she is rushed to the hospital. Meanwhile, Nickie, waiting for her at the observation deck at the top of the building, is unaware of the accident and, after many hours, leaves at midnight, believing she has rejected him.

After the accident, Terry, now unable to walk, refuses to contact Nickie because of her disability. Instead, she finds work as a music teacher. Nickie has pursued his painting and has his work displayed by Courbet, an art gallery owner. Six months after the accident, Terry sees Nickie with his former fiancée at the ballet, which she herself is attending with her former boyfriend. Nickie does not notice her condition because she is seated, and they both say hello to each other as he passes her.

Nickie learns Terry's address and on Christmas Eve pays her a surprise visit. Although he tries to get her to explain her actions, Terry dodges the subject, never leaving the couch on which she sits. He gives her a shawl that Janou left for her after she died. As he is leaving, Nickie mentions a painting that he had been working on when they originally met, and that it was just given away to a woman who liked it but had no money. He is about to say that the woman was in a wheelchair when he pauses, suddenly suspecting why Terry has been sitting unmoving on the couch. He walks into her bedroom and sees the painting hanging on the wall. The film ends with the two in a tight embrace and Terry saying, "If you can paint, I can walk. Anything can happen, don't you think?"



The film was a remake of McCarey's 1939 film Love Affair, starring Irene Dunne as Terry and Charles Boyer, as the Gallic playboy Michel Marnet. Plans for a Love Affair remake were first reported in 1952, which had Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl attached to the project.[5]

Cary Grant first worked with McCarey on The Awful Truth and did not like McCarey's improv strategies, but after eventually warming to it, he wished he starred in Love Affair and often visited the set during production.[6] He enjoyed the movie when it was released, and convinced McCarey years later to remake it starring him in Boyer's role.[7] McCarey eventually agreed, despite Love Affair being his favorite romance film, because he wanted to revive a better romance landscape: "[Hollywood films] all seem to be trying to find a trick way of saying 'I love you.' What are they trying to prove? Love is the oldest and noblest emotion," McCarey later explained.[8] An Affair to Remember was almost identical to the original on a scene-to-scene basis.[6][9] McCarey used the same screenplay as the original film, written by Delmer Daves and Donald Ogden Stewart;[10] Stewart was not included in the credits because he had been blacklisted. Filming took place between February and April 1957.[11]

Grant was reportedly grumpy during filming because his hypnotherapy with his wife was causing him to dislike smoking.[11] Later, a childhood injury trauma caused a lump on his forehead that had to be operated on during production.[11]

The theme song "An Affair to Remember (Our Love Affair)", composed by Harry Warren and with lyrics by Leo McCarey and Harold Adamson, was sung by Vic Damone over opening credits and by Marni Nixon (who dubbed Kerr)[11] during the film.


  • Continué
  • The Tiny Scout (He Knows You Inside Out)
  • Tomorrow Land
  • You Make It Easy To Be True


In anticipation of the film's release, Avon Books published a paperback novelization of the screenplay. The byline "Owen Aherne" was a pseudonym for renowned American novelist R.V. Cassill.

Critical reaction[edit]

Contemporary reviews were mixed. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times found the early part of the film fairly enjoyable, with "plenty of humorous conversation that is handled crisply" by the leads, but found that the picture went wrong after the couple got off the ship, writing: "The marriage pact seems ridiculously childish for a couple of adult people to make. The lady's failure to notify her fiancé of her accident seems absurd. The fact that the man does not hear of it in some way is beyond belief. And the slowness with which he grasps the obvious when he calls upon the lady is just too thick."[12] Richard L. Coe of The Washington Post agreed, writing that the film "boasts early amusing reels that ultimately become unbelievably foolish in the quest for audience tears."[13] Variety disagreed, calling the romance "never maudlin" and "wholly believable" in a positive review of what it called "a winning film" with "all the ingredients that should make it an ideal women's picture."[14] Harrison's Reports was also positive, calling it "more enchanting and delightful than the original," and "so powerful in the closing scenes that one is unable to fight back the tears."[15] John McCarten of The New Yorker was dismissive, writing that the actors were "tolerable, but the movie is really awfully maudlin."[16] A generally positive review in The Monthly Film Bulletin called the film "a lush slice of Hollywood romanticism, unashamedly following most of the familiar conventions of glossy magazine fiction. To judge it on a higher level would normally seem unfair if it were not that here the script does succeed in cutting rather deeper. The relationship between Ferrante and Terry McKay is briskly developed, with an attractive, often touching humor."[17]

The film holds a 65% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 31 reviews.[18] In 1998, Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader included the film in his unranked list of the best American films not included on the AFI Top 100.[19]

Awards and honors[edit]

The film was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score and Best Original Song at the 30th Academy Awards.


  • Nora Ephron's 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, was partly inspired by An Affair to Remember, particularly the ending. References, clips and the theme song from the earlier film are used throughout.
  • A 1994 remake, reverting to the original title of Love Affair, starred Warren Beatty (who also wrote and produced) and his wife Annette Bening. The film featured Katharine Hepburn in her last screen appearance, portraying the male protagonist's aunt; this character replaces the grandmother from the original film.
  • İlk Aşk, a 1960 Turkish film was an adaptation of this movie.
  • Bheegi Raat, a 1965 Bollywood film starring Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari, was an adaptation of this movie.
  • Yağmur, a 1971 Turkish film starring Hülya Koçyiğit and Ediz Hun was an adaptation of this movie.
  • Mann, a 1999 Bollywood film starring Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala was almost a scene-by-scene copy of this film.
  • The 1999 Indian Telugu-language film Ravoyi Chandamama was an adaptation of the movie.
  • In 2009, the HBO film Grey Gardens licensed an aerial shot of The Pierre Hotel from this film.[20]
  • The climax of 1980 Bollywood movie Ek Baar Kaho is inspired by this movie's climax.
  • A sound clip from this film was used on Basement's 2011 album I Wish I Could Stay Here in the song "Fading".
  • The teen drama TV series Gossip Girl features an episode in season three titled "Last Tango, Then Paris", where the characters Chuck and Blair decide to rekindle their love and agree to meet on top of the Empire State Building at 7:01 pm, just like the movie. However, Blair is unable to meet Chuck because her maid goes into labor on their way there. This results in their "final break-up".
  • In the TV series 30 Rock, the character Tracy Jordan claims to have starred in a remake of An Affair to Remember titled "A Blaffair to Rememblack".
  • In the TV series Family Guy, there is a cutaway gag of what the movie would be like with cell phones. After being struck, Terry tells Nickie she's paralyzed. He abruptly ends the call and tosses the phone off the observation deck.


  1. ^ "An Affair to Remember - Details". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  2. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p250
  3. ^ "An Affair to Remember (1957)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  4. ^ "AFI's 100 Years…100 Passions". Archived from the original on June 25, 2005. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  5. ^ Hyams, Joe (November 5, 1952). "Entertainment in the News". Los Angeles Evening Citizen News. p. 14.
  6. ^ a b Gehring, Wes D. (2005). Leo McCarey : from Marx to McCarthy. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. p. 221. ISBN 0810852632.
  7. ^ Gehring, Wes D. (2003). Irene Dunne: First Lady of Hollywood. pp. 100–103. ISBN 978-0810858640.
  8. ^ "Comeback". New York Times. May 9, 1957.
  9. ^ Jaynes, Barbara Grant; Trachtenberg, Robert. Cary Grant: A Class Apart. Burbank, California: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Turner Entertainment. 2004. Grant believed that Love Affair was superior.
  10. ^ Vermilye, Jerry (1973). Cary Grant. New York: Galahad Books. p. 123. ISBN 9780883652916. The script, on which McCarey and Delmer Daves made some revisions...
  11. ^ a b c d Eastman, John (1989). Retakes: Behind the scenes of 500 classic movies (1st ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. pp. 3–4. ISBN 9780345353993.
  12. ^ Crowther, Bosley (July 20, 1957). "The Screen: 'An Affair to Remember'". The New York Times: 8.
  13. ^ Coe, Richard L. (July 27, 1957). "Love, Sweat — And Tears". The Washington Post: D7.
  14. ^ "An Affair to Remember". Variety: 6. July 17, 1957.
  15. ^ "'An Affair to Remember' with Cary Grant and Deborah Keer". Harrison's Reports: 112. July 13, 1957.
  16. ^ McCarten, John (August 3, 1957). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker: 48.
  17. ^ "An Affair to Remember". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 24 (285): 122. October 1957.
  18. ^ "An Affair to Remember". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  19. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan (June 25, 1998). "List-o-Mania: Or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love American Movies". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on April 13, 2020.
  20. ^ Grey Gardens DVD - 2009 - HBO - Audio commentary with executive producers Michael Sucsy, Lucy Barzun Donnelly and Rachael Horovitz

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