If you’ve come to this story from Mccarey’s 1957 remake (An Affair to Remember) of his own work first, you’ll be struck by the amount of similarities: dialogue and specific shots. This is in black and white and shorter. I doubt anyone ran into the 1994 version with Warren Beatty and Annette Benning first- haven’t caught that myself actually and should.
You can see why the material was remade twice (and then lives on in 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle, too)— it is a great story- irresistible
Six Oscar noms- a tight 88 minutes and it skips nothing of importance (either in story or artistic advancement) from the 1957 version. Between that and points for originally- it’s the slightly superior version
Irene Dunne has a playfulness that Deborah Kerr doesn’t- she’s better at the scenes of flirtation. She’s not quite as good in the scenes in the hospital playing the victim though.
Boyer is superb as well- I won’t go as far as to say he’s Cary Grant-smooth—but still. Grant was such a big admirer of this film and apparently urged McCarey to do the remake.
It is a McCarey film—so you have gallons of syrup– a sweet old lady, cute kids singing and pining for the camera. You have a youth choir director- he’d use that again in Going My Way in 1944.
Pink champagne (love the level of detail here) and the empire state building movie iconography
Boyer’s mother is played by Maria Ouspenskaya from The Wolf Man in 1941- she’s strong here
It is McCarey- so there isn’t a lot of care for composition or framing- but there is a gorgeous shot at 23 minutes with Boyer and Dunne in the chapel. Dunne has the hat on and the sun is pouring in on them in the shadows.
At 44 minutes you get the shot where Dunne opens the window with reflection of the empire state building—I love this shot- McCarey would do it again in An Affair to Remember
At 55 minutes the accident happens and the camera floats up to the building
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