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Posts Tagged ‘irene dunne’

This film spawned two sequels, the most famous of which was An Affair To Remember  (1957) which starred Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, and which, like Love Affair, was directed by Leo McCarey..  This original version stars Charles Boyer as French playboy Michel Marnet, and Irene Dunne as Terry MacKay.  They meet on board a cruise ship and fall in love, although both are engaged to other people.  Michel and Terry make a pact that they will meet at the Empire State Building in six months, if they both still want to pursue a relationship.  However, tragedy strikes on the day they are due to meet.

Given that Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr are two of my favourite stars, I didn’t think that this film could match up to it’s better known (thanks to being heavily referenced in 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle) remake.  But, while I enjoyed An Affair To Remember a lot, I thought that Love Affair was the better film, and definitely the more moving of the two.  The reason for this (to me anyway) was because of the two outstanding performances of Boyer and Dunne – both of them are able to convey so much emotion with just one look or one small gesture.  Additionally the chemistry between them is almost palpable, and I felt as though I could actually see them falling in love during the cruise.

The film has its comedic moments, but is far more of a romance – and my goodness, it ticks all the boxes in that area!  It had me sobbing at the end, and immediately wanting to watch the whole film again.  Truly lovely, and highly recommended.

Year of release: 1939

Director: Leo McCarey

Producer: Leo McCarey

Writers: Leo McCarey, Mildred Cram, Delmer Daves, Donald Ogden Stewart, S.N. Behrman

Main cast: Charles Boyer, Irene Dunne, Maria Ouspenskaya

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This screwball comedy stars Cary Grant (master of the screwball genre) and Irene Dunne, in the first of three films in which they starred together.  They play Jerry and Lucy Warriner, a couple who each suspect the other of being unfaithful, and so decide to get divorced.  However when they both become involved with other people, they each try to interfere with the other’s new relationship.

The film has some similarities to My Favourite Wife (1940) which also starred Grant and Dunne, but I preferred this one of the two movies.  Grant is his usual face pulling, funny self, in a role which he was perfect for.  Dunne however matched him scene for scene – she was wonderful and very endearing as Lucy.  There was also an extremely cute dog called Mr Smith, of whom both Lucy and Jerry want custody, and it was Mr Smith who played a large part in one of the funniest scenes in the film!  In fact, I did laugh out loud on several occasions – look out for the scene where Jerry is on a date with a singer and meets Lucy and her new boyfriend!

It’s a screwball romantic comedy, so the ending is pretty predictable, but the journey there is so much fun.  A must for any fan of either of the stars, or of the screwball genre.

Year of release: 1938

Director: Leo McCarey

Producers: LeoMcCarey, Everett Riskin

Writers: Arthur Richman (based on a play by), Vina Delmar, Sidney Buchman

Main cast: Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy, Alexander D’Arcy, Cecil Cunningham, Molly Lamont, Esther Dale

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Cary Grant is Nick Arden, a man whose wife was believed to have drowned seven years earlier.  After having her officially declared dead, he marries Bianca Bates (Gail Patrick), but on the very day of their wedding, his former wife Ellen returns home and Nick realises that his wife didn’t die after all.  His old feelings for her are reawakened, but how can he tell Bianca that his wife has come back?  And how will Nick feel when he finds out that Ellen hasn’t been alone for the past years, but actually lived on an island with Steve Burkett (Randolph Scott)…?

This is exactly the type of screwball comedy that Cary Grant excelled at.  His facial expressions, double takes, and the way he mutters away to himself are hilarious.  Irene Dunne is also brilliant as the newly returned Ellen, and it’s not hard to see why she and Grant made three films together in total – their on-screen chemistry is brilliant, and they are both excellent leads.

I should also mention Granville Bates, who played the judge who married Nick and Bianca after declaring Ellen officially dead, and who has to subsequently sort out the entangled mess.  Although he played only a small part, Bates came dangerously close to stealing all of the scenes he was in.

The whole storyline is totally unbelievable and that’s probably the point.  But it gives rise to lots of giggles and laughter, and this is a thoroughly enjoyable film, with Cary Grant’s magic sprinkled all over it.  Highly recommended.

Year of release: 1940

Director: Garson Kanin

Writers: Bella Spewack, Sam Spewack, Leo McCarey, Garson Kanin, John McClain

Main cast: Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Randolph Scott, Gail Patrick

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