An Affair to Remember (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Nickie (Cary Grant) and Terry (Deborah Kerr) are in quite similar situations in life. Both find themselves to be highly sophisticated, yet not deep in riches. They are both engaged to people who are deep in riches, and maybe their feelings are based more on that than anything. Finally, the two share location, they’re both aboard a luxury liner on route to getting married. Of course, these two eventually find themselves together, and a romance ensues. Not just any romance either, a strong and passionate romantic escapade. But as powerful as their new found feelings for each other are, the two realize to act hastily is to act poorly, so they make a pact. When the boat docks in New York, they will go their separate ways, continue their lives as they had previously planned. After six months have passed, if the feelings are still there, then they would meet at the Empire State Building. Alas, things don’t go as planned, and even though Terry still has those feelings, an accident keeps her from making the engagement. Will that brief romance haunt them forever, or will they be able to move on with their lives?

This is without a doubt one of the finest romantic movies ever made. Everything you hanky carrying readers could want from a tear jerker is here, including a powerful and chemistry filled performance by the leading couple. It treads the line of predictable romance movies well, as it has the usual conventions, but never seems too by the numbers. Still, I know this movie is funny, romantic, and sad all rolled into one, and it’s legendary for pulling tears from viewers, but I didn’t shed a single tear. Call me callous, but I didn’t find my emotions explored enough to cry over this movie. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the film, because I did, I just didn’t feel like the movie spoke to me. I found it to be an effective, well crafted movie, but I’m just kind of impervious to heartstring tuggers, I guess. Yeah, An Affair To Remember is a sappy movie, but damn it, it’s a classic. In Fox’s new Blu-ray release, we have a new transfer and a host of new supplements, so don’t miss out on this true classic. Even if you own the previous disc, the improvements are such that an upgrade is in order, even for the most casual of fans..

One of the major factors in the success of An Affair To Remember is the casting, especially of the leading couple. Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr turn in splendid performances, and work together so well. This is some of the best romantic chemistry you’re gonna find on the silver screen, and the skillful work by these two alone warrants a viewing. Even with somewhat cookie cutter moments, these two bring real passion to the screen and of course, that helped create one of the screen’s classic romances. Grant (Charade, Notorious) is a legend of film, and he lives to his reputation here, with one of his most charming performances. The character is so likable and easy going, and many people consider this a defining role for Cary. Kerr (The King & I, King Solomon’s Mines) also gives a charming turn, and she plays right into Grant’s character. An Affair To Remember also features Richard Denning (Creature From The Black Lagoon), Cathleen Nesbitt (Nicholas Nickleby, Three Coins In The Fountain), Neva Patterson (The Solid Gold Cadillac, V), and Fortunio Bonanova (For Whom The Bell Tolls, Romance on the High Sea).

Video: How does it look?

This is the fifth incarnation of this movie on either DVD or Blu-ray so it can’t be said that Fox hasn’t had enough “practice” with the visuals. Granted, this movie has never really looked “bad” but with the jump to Blu-ray, our expectations are a bit higher. The 2.35:1 AVC HD transfer certainly doesn’t disappoint. Colors are a little bolder and the immediate difference was the fine details. Grant was aging at this point in his career and we get a look at the wrinkles in his forehead via this new transfer. I suppose that’s either bad or good, depending on your vantage point. The movie has a somewhat pasty appearance that’s somewhat indicative of movies of this age, but no amount of restoration can do anything about that – it’s the way it was made. On the whole, it’s a step up visually for the film.

Audio: How does it sound?

“An Affair to Remember” has always had a stereo mix on standard DVD, but this new Blu-ray has added a DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack. Now let’s be honest here, it’s a lot more imposing to say “DTS HD Master Audio” than to say “stereo.” There is an improvement, but it’s minimal at best. A few of the effects sound a bit manufactured and truth be told, I’d have preferred the same stereo/mono mix that was present on the standard DVD’s. The movie is dialogue-driven, though it has the seminal score that, admittedly, does sound pretty good. Don’t expect a whole lot in terms of dynamic audio because it really doesn’t deliver it.

Supplements: What are the extras?

For those of you out there that own the “Studio Classics” edition of this on standard DVD, there’s some new material here but nothing ground-breaking. Included is the commentary track with Joseph McBide and Marni Nixon as is the AMC Backstory: An Affair to Remember. The newsreel as well as the photo gallery also made the cut. New to this Blu-ray (there’s got be some incentive, right) are a slew of featurettes. “Affairs to Remember: Deborah Kerr”, “Affairs to Remember: Cary Grant”, “Directed by Leo McCarey” and “A Producer to Remember: Jerry Wald” are essentially the living remembering these icons of film. While they vary in length from a few minutes (Kerr) to just over 20 minutes (McCarey), they’re insightful and it’s nice to see some new material for this movie. The original theatrical trailer is also included on this two disc set.

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