Well I am back to my Blog after the craziness over the weekend from Storm Nemo aka Blizzard Charlotte: A storm so wicked – perhaps the worst winter meteorological event in Connecticut since The Blizzard of ’78 – it has two names, as if we were likely to forget it had they assigned it just one! I don’t like blizzards. They prevent me from Blogging about classic films. “The things I like best are either illegal, immoral or fattening.”
In Love Affair, Charles Boyer plays Michel Marnet, a famous French artist who likes the ladies. Irene Dunne plays Terry McKay, a nightclub singer with operatic soprano range. They meet aboard a cruise ship from Europe to New York City and discover they have a lot in common: They’re both engaged; they share a love for pink champagne; and when they reach The City, their fiancés will be there to meet them. As the title suggests, love gets in the way. When the ship stops at the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, we meet Michel’s delightful grandmother Janou, wonderfully portrayed by Maria Ouspenskaya. She likes Terry very much. Terry & Michel’s love is so compelling that, regardless of their engagements, they agree to meet again on the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building in 6 months on July 1.
While this excellent motion picture takes a little while to get rolling, it very much deserves the 6 Oscar Nominations it received in 1940 at the 12th Academy Awards: Best Picture; Irene Dunne & Maria Ouspenskaya were nominated for Best & Supporting Actresses respectively; Best Story (co-written by Leo McCarey & Mildred Cram); Original Song for Wishing, thematic throughout the movie but especially powerful when done a cappella by 3 young girls; and Art Direction. As I discussed in my Blog of Dark Victory, winning an Academy Award in 1940 meant the film was released in 1939, the greatest movie year of all time. Like Dark Victory, Love Affair came up short of winning any Oscars in 1940. The competition included Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Young Mr. Lincoln, and Gunga Din to name just a few.
I’m so sure you’d enjoy Love Affair that I’ve linked the full movie below. When you have an hour & a half to spare, give it a watch. It was so popular when it was released that it caused a spike in sales of pink champagne. And, both stars independently claimed it as their favorites of the films they were in for good reason. So sit back, relax, and peer into a simpler cinematic world where having an affair while you were engaged meant you fell in love with the other man or woman. Leo McCarey’s Love Affair is a 4-Star film!