Directed by Leo McCarey
A man and a woman both involved in relationships, meet, fall in love and plan to meet each other again in six months to spend their lives together. But does it happen?
The ultimate playboy, Nickie Ferrante, played by the always enjoyable Cary Grant is about to get married to a famous millionaire. While on a cruise to America to be with his fiancÚ, he meets Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr), a beautiful woman who is also involved in a relationship of her own. Nickie is at first embarrassed and impressed that she can resist his advances, for almost no woman can. The two begin to spend time together while stuck on the boat for the long journey across the ocean. Slowly but surely they fall madly in love.
Knowing they need time to straighten out their lives and break it off with their current relationships, they make a plan to meet in six months at the top of the Empire State Building. Time ticks by and the two never talk, but work towards their goals to get together. Finally when the day arrives Nickie waits on the 102nd floor, but Terry never shows. Thinking she deserted him Nickie slips into a deep depression as time slips by and the fate of the couple hangs in the balance.
The first hour of the movie takes place almost completely on the cruise ship, with one interlude in Italy. It is thoroughly enjoyable to watch Grant and Kerr play a flirty game of cat and mouse as they both fall for each other. Yet the second half of the film, while the two are apart, lacks the chemistry and enjoyment that the first half does. It feels a bit long and slow and even has two completely unnecessary and long musical numbers that does nothing to help the film. And the fact that the climatic twist in the film is so simple to solve you want to yell at the characters for being stupid, is a bit hard to swallow in modern times. The ending is also a bit anti-climactic and rushed but still satisfying. The chemistry between Grant and Kerr is what placed this movie at number 5 on the greatest romantic movies of all time list by AFI. Those expecting to be knocked over by this classic film should lower their expectations and just appreciate a story of real love.
For those who love Sleepless in Seattle, this movie is a great accompaniment since it mentioned in it several times and even inspired the ending. In fact after Sleepless was released over two million copies of An Affair To Remember were sold! Yet no one seems to remember that Affair is a remake itself of a 1939 film called Love Affair.