Making the Grades
Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant) is a man with it all: good looks, seemingly unlimited funds, a gaggle of ardent admirers and a beautiful, wealthy fiancee. Boarding an ocean liner bound for America where his bride-to-be awaits, the last thing he plans on is meeting the charming and lovely Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr), a former night club singer with a long-time boyfriend of her own back home. Intrigued by her casual attitude toward him, Nickie pursues her with some interest. Terry, while flattered by his attentions and glad for his dinner company, is uneasy about being seen together, and especially about being captured on film by the ship's photographer. Consequently, their attempts to avoid one another result in some lively entertainment for their fellow passengers
During an afternoon port call, Nickie takes Terry along to visit his Grandmother Janou (Cathleen Nesbitt) at her home, sheltered in an Eden-like garden. While sipping tea and engaging in chitchat with the amiable, elderly woman, Terry catches a glimpse of the real Nickie hidden behind all the bravado. Returning to the ship, the pair of Atlantic travelers recognize their growing affections for one another. As the vessel resumes its voyage and chugs closer to the New York skyline, they realize the dilemma waiting them on shore--one unsuspecting, well-heeled fiancee and one innocent, big business boyfriend. Agreeing to see if they feel the same about each other in six months, Nickie and Terry arrange to meet atop the Empire State Building-- New York's closest thing to heaven.
On the day of their reunion, a disastrous accident postpones the couple's plans and each of them wonders if fate has passed them by leaving only An Affair to Remember.
This 1957 Academy award nominated film, directed by Leo McCarey, is a remake of his earlier work Love Affair (1939). Compared to recent movies where people fall into bed like apples off a tree, it is refreshing to see couples carefully consider their prospects for a successful relationship before making serious decisions. Additionally, I enjoyed the portrayal of this intelligent and discerning female character. Although a bit mushy for the majority of inhabitants in my household, this tender romance, combined with a big bowl of popcorn and lots of tissue, is a great way to test out the waterworks.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about An Affair To Remember.
While visiting with Terry, Grandmother Janou says, “There’s nothing in Nicholas that a good woman can’t change.” What do you think she sees in Nickie that others do not?
After arriving in New York, Nickie decides to resume his painting. Why was it important for him to become successful at it before meeting Terry again? How did his painting play into their reunion?
Both fiances took the news of Nickie and Terry’s shipboard romance remarkably well. Does this represent the usual response to a broken engagement? What admirable qualities do you think the fiances possessed?
Home Video Viewing Alternatives
Here are some ideas for home video titles that are related to An Affair To Remember.
An Affair to Remember is the favorite film of the character played by Meg Ryan in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. Both movies also include a rendezvous at the Empire State Building.