Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Affair to Remember (1957)

Leo McCarey’s An Affair to Remember (1957) is about a romance between two people who fall in love aboard a cruise ship, despite the fact that they are both engaged to others. The film is essentially divided into two parts: their magical time spent together during the cruise vacation, and the year or so following their arrival back in the US (where being together is more of a challenge than they had anticipated). Despite a plan to reunite atop the Empire State Building six months prior to their homecoming, a chance occurrence leaves one of them unable to arrive, leading them both to believe that their chance has passed. But Nikkie Ferrante (Cary Grant) and Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) are meant to be together, and in the end, their destiny is fulfilled, as any classical Hollywood film would have it. In the following clip, Nikki and Terry enjoy the company of Nikki’s grandmother, whom they have come to visit while temporarily docked in Italy during their cruise. Until now, they have resisted violating their faithfulness to their partners back home, but this scene represents a turning point in which their romantic connection reaches a point of no return.
Details on first tweet:Through various techniques, this clip (see 1:38-3:20) conveys that, although they have just met, Nikkie and Terry are undoubtedly in love. For example, the lighting, which produces a bright glow upon/surrounding Kerr, seemingly serves to create an aura of love radiating outward from within her. Visions of Light, a documentary on film making, discusses the importance of dramatizing leading ladies’ beauty, particularly in moments when their characters are filled with sentiments of love. Here, note the stark shadows cast on the wall behind Kerr during the intervals 2:49 -2:53 and 3:03-3:07. Clearly, the lighting was directly focused upon her in this sequence, and a strong, bright light was utilized to enhance this representation of her joy. The fact that she (not the others) is positioned against the wall allows for this lighting scheme, and the white walls in themselves contribute to the brightness surrounding her.
Details on second tweet: From 1:38-3:20, several eyeline matches connect Nikkie, his grandmother, and Terry as the women perform this song about a sacred love affair. Sometimes, these eyeline matches literally move in a circle, signifying the crucial role of Nikkie’s grandmother in their romance. Now at the end of her life, she awaits reuniting with her late husband in death—her life was fulfilled in true love. Her looks back and forth from Nikkie and Terry (2:56-3:03) and her expression of warmth suggest that she believes that a love as magical as she and her husband’s could exist between her grandson and Terry. Rather than conveying this through dialogue, the film makers chose to have her communicate her thoughts to Nikkie via eye contact. From 2:04-2:11, the eyeline match between them and their expressions convey their mutual understanding. Nikkie subsequently looks up at Terry, depicting his comprehension of his grandmother’s message.

VIEW 1:38-3:20 BELOW! Enjoy.


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