Fox re-releases this beloved weepie in a new edition with a number of new extras. Beyond those additions, this version is identical to the one reviewed here previously. Therefore, my deathless prose once again: “On a luxury ocean liner, playboy Cary Grant meets singer Deborah Kerr. Each is involved with someone else, but they fall deeply in love with each other. Upon arriving in New York, they decide to part and, if all goes well, reunite in six months at the top of the Empire State Building, by which time their lives should be in order. If you’ve seen Sleepless in Seattle, you know what happens next. Though this is one the most celebrated weepies ever, I found it curiously uninvolving. The banter on the ocean liner, though amusing, fails to make us believe in the depth of the relationship, and so the tragedy that comes later lacks punch. The plot meanders interminably, is padded out by Sound of Music-style songs involving sweet widdle kiddies, and the reasons for keeping the characters apart during the third act are so contrived that suspension of disbelief crashes and burns. The ‘scope cinematography is nice, and it’s always fun to watch top stars like Grant and Kerr, but if you want a more convincing heart-tugger, see Now, Voyager.”
Nothing that is new – it’s the same transfer. So it gets the same review: “A very nice stereo sound, given that the film is from 1957. The music, in particular, is rich and full in the surround mix. There aren’t a lot of sound effects, but the odd time they show up, they do so quite impressively. I confess I was nervous that there was no mono option, but the ‘surround dialogue’ effect only crops up a couple of times.”
And the same yet again: “If you’ve got an old pan-and-scan VHS version, throw it away. This is a Cinemascope movie, and the 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio is beautifully preserved here. The print is in very good shape. Every now and then there is a bit of flicker, and a bit of grain (though the latter only shows up in what I’m pretty sure is stock footage. The colours and contrasts are glorious, and there is only the slightest edge enhancement halo.”
Many of the features have been seen/heard before. To whit: “Most prominent of the features is a commentary by singer Marni Nixon (who talks about her participation in the film and about the music) and film historian Joseph McBride (who handles everything else). Even where I disagreed with the commentary, I found it informative, interesting, and intelligent. The AMC Backstory episode is interesting too, in a gossipy, A&E Biography kind of way (all kinds of stuff about Grant’s affair with Sophia Loren). Along with a still gallery, there are the original trailers for An Affair to Remember (including a Movietone News piece, the ancestor of today’s featurette).”
The are some new things, however. The commentary track is now the only feature on Disc 1. Disc 2 has all the others, plus a poster gallery, and a clutch of new featurettes. There are two “Affairs to Remember” – one for each of the leads – and these are interviews with their surviving spouses, talking about how they got together. For more commentary from actual film historians, there is are three other featurettes: “A Producer to Remember: Jerry Wald,” “Directed by Leo McCarey” and “The Look of An Affair to Remember.” All in all, these new features flesh out the informational side of the package rather well.
If you’re a fan of the film, and don’t already own the DVD, this is the one to pick up. If you already have the previous Studio Classics edition, a handful of new featurettes hardly warrants the second purchase.