Thursday, April 8, 2010

Romance Thursday - Love Affair (1939)

A beautiful girl meets a handsome man while they are both on a cruise. they fall in love, even though each is engaged to marry someone else. They agree to ditch their current loves and meet six months later at the top of the Empire State Building. On the way to the planned rendezvous, however, she is struck by a car and paralyzed. Rather than tell him of her condition, she simply lets him think that he has been stood up. Fate, however, has other plans.

If that sounds like a synopsis of a movie you remeber and brings to mind 1994's Love Affair starring Warren Beatty and Anette Bening, well, first of all, I'm sorry for reminding you of that movie but it's not too surprising. If, on the other hand, it sounds to you like the plot of 1957's An Affair to Remember, which starred Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, then at least I can say you have better taste in films than those 1994 people, and again it's not too surprising. There is one other option, though. If what I wrote above reminds you of 1939's Charles Boyer / Irene Dunne film Love Affair, well, then let me compliment the diversity of your movie viewing and admit that I am pretty surprised.

Yes, today's film is the original. And a very good movie it is. It was actually nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Writing. Unfortunately (well, unfortunately for this film, but fortunately for movie lovers), 1939 was an incredible year for movies as it was up against (among others) The Wizard of Oz, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Mice and Men, and Best Picture winner Gone With the Wind. In succeeding years it has also unfortunately been overshadowed by the 1957 remake. (Let's just all agree to forget the 1994 version, shall we, except perhaps to note its being awarded that year's Razzie for Worst Remake.) Which is actually the better film? Well, there can be no denying the presence and charm that Grant brings to the screen, but in some ways, I almost find Boyer and Dunne more convincing as lovers.

How about if instead of a trailer today, we take a look at the same scene (well, pretty much, anyway) from both movies:

And now, the Skinny:
Title: Love Affair
Release Date: 1939
Running Time: 87min
Black and White
Starring: Charles Boyer, Irene Dunne
Directed by: Leo McCarey
Produced by: Leo McCarey
Distributed by: RKO Radio Pictures

(Just to be clear, only the 1939 version of Love Affair is in the public domain. An Affair to Remember and the 1994 remake are both still under copyright.)

Love Affair is available to watch or download for free here.
It's also available to purchase on DVD from Amazon: Love Affair

It's also available for rental or to "watch instantly" at Netflix: Love Affair.

Until next time, Happy Treasure Hunting,
-Professor Damian


Anonymous said...

AAH....1939 was a very good year for films and other things also.

Professor Damian said...

LOL... I think I just realised who "Anonymous" is, and she's right. It was, it was.

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