It is a rare treat, a rare treat indeed, when you are offered the chance to review a genuine original, that inspired a bunch of remakes. The most well know is AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, but equally MANN starring Aamir Khan is well known and seen. LOVE AFFAIR spawned both of these and many more. Leo McCarey, the director whose film MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW was called by Orson Welles, ‘the most heartbreaking film I ever saw…’, understood how to craft a emotionally charged, heartfelt and honest story and then transfer it to the screen.

French painter and man about town, Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) is traveling to America aboard a liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean. While on it, he meets meets American singer Terry McKay (Irene Dunne). She is brash but playful. He is intoxicated by her. They are both already engaged. Both ready for a marriage to another. He has the heiress Lois Clarke (Astrid Allwyn) in port and she has Kenneth Bradley (Lee Bowman). However the pull can not be broken. They meet everyday. Happiness, joy, pleasure and hope. Visit Madeira, talk about working and waiting. Loving and losing. So to say what they feel, Michel and Lois decides that they must wait 6 months before the feeling can surface. They will meet on top of the Empire State Building, then the nearest thing to heaven. But what does fate have instore for them as they disembark and life gets in the way?

Ostensibly a love story with a bittersweet note, LOVE AFFAIR transcends the limits of this. Its a boldly emotive piece that cant hide its feelings on America and the ascension to the heights of opportunity. McCarey is called the great Humanist director. This is certainly a bold claim and one that surely hints at his best works most compelling element. However, you can also see he was a pragmatist. A rationalist. An optimist. From his view, the world was deliriously silly (RUGGLES OF RED GAP), impertinently warm (THE AWFUL TRUTH) but equally fast moving and disposable (MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW and GOING MY WAY). LOVE AFFAIR slips into this world as the place of empathy and just as try, the world that had a problem of free will. You cant expect everything because anything, literally anything, can happen.

Criterion have let the MOMA and Lobster film 4K restoration out to play. Good job by them. Its almost the perfect restoration of a film that had little issues to begin with in other releases. Literally i have no complaints. Well done. Farran Smith Nehme essay like conversation on the work of McCarey is less insightful than you would think but extra credit for getting all of the best films out and dusting them off! I really, really liked the shorts from Carey. These aren’t the workings of a great before he became, more they are the portrait of the artist as themes that are universally in his heart!

New 4K digital restoration by The Museum of Modern Art and Lobster Films
New interviews about the restoration and production history
Radio adaptations featuring Dunne, Boyer, and William Powell
Two shorts directed by McCarey

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