DVD Review HTF REVIEW: "An Affair to Remember" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 29, 2003.

Tags:
  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    47,685
    Likes Received:
    5,063
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    [​IMG]

    An Affair to Remember





    Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
    Year: 1957
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 119 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish




    "If you can paint, I can walk!

    What woman out there can resist a romantic story
    about a prince charming who comes along and sweeps
    a woman off her feet? Obviously not that many,
    as An Affair to Remember has been regarded
    as one of the greatest love stories ever told. And
    it's no wonder -- the film is perfectly cast with
    the suave and dashing Cary Grant and the distinctly
    feminine Deborah Kerr who is just stunning to watch.

    Having never seen this film before, I did a little
    background research and was startled to find that
    this 1957 film was not only directed by Marx
    Brothers veteran Leo McCarey (Duck Soup), but was
    a scene-by-scene remake of his 1939 film, Love
    Affair
    .

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Grant plays a playboy and one-time artist, Nickie
    Ferrante, who is engaged to marry a wealthy socialite.
    Kerr plays a one-time singer, Terry McKay, who is
    engaged to marry a wealthy businessman. They meet
    aboard a cruise ship and instantly fall in love
    with each other. With the cruise coming to an end
    and former lovers to return to, the couple decide
    to test their commitment with both promising that if
    they are still in love with each other after 6 months
    they will meet at the top of the Empire State Building.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    For those who have yet to see this film, I won't
    ruin the rest of the story for you. Let's just say
    this is classic story of a love that labors horrible
    odds and ends up wonderfully complete. Though the movie
    does pour on a lot of saccharin (and singing children
    to boot), I found myself immensely enjoying this film.
    One of my favorite scenes involves Nicky's Grandmother
    (played by Cathleen Nesbitt), whom Terry and Nicky
    visit at her lovely villa during the ship’s stopover.
    It is in these heartwarming moments that we begin to
    see their relationship come together for the very
    first time.

    How is the transfer?


    This is the second release of this film to the format,
    and fortunately Fox has gotten it right the second
    time finally releasing this CinemaScope picture in
    anamorphic. Originally, I had thought this film was
    released in Technicolor as it has that sort of
    ultra-colorish look to it. I was shocked to find
    out that it indeed wasn't. The quality of the
    print is in immaculate condition with colors that
    look very clean, although some of the colors
    occasionally came across as being oversaturated,
    and there's a slight green tinge that resides in
    some of the background whites. Many of skyline
    shots in the film exhibit an abundant amount noise.
    All in all, I would rate this transfer as above
    average.

    The film's stereo soundtrack comes across with a
    good amount of fidelity and wide dynamic range,
    especially during the film's musical numbers. There
    is no evidence of any background hiss to be found.


    Special Features

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    A feature-length commentary by film historian
    Joseph McBride and singer Marni Nixon (who sang for
    Deborah Kerr in the film) is a nice listen, despite
    the fact that the contributions here were recorded
    separately. McBride begins by talking about Leo
    McCarey's involvement in the anti-Communist cause
    during the 1950s. Nixon talks about her close
    relationship with actress Kerr starting with The
    King and I
    made just a few years earlier. Doing
    voice-over work on this picture was a bit difficult
    for Nixon as she was under contract with NBC and it
    put a damper on her schedule. Fortunately, Fox was
    able to work around her schedule and allowed the
    singer to lay out the voice work first before Deborah
    Kerr lip-synched to it. Nixon also dubbed her
    performance in 4 additional foreign languages.
    McBride talks about the reasons why Leo McCarey
    opted to remake his 1939 film and perhaps they can
    best be explained in three words: Color, CinemaScope
    and Cary Grant. Throughout the film, McBride talks
    fondly about Cary Grant, a man who in 1967 retired
    while still at the top of his game, and until his
    death in 1986 remained humorous towards his own
    screen persona. There's a funny story that Nixon
    tells about her attempt to sing the Irish song,
    How do you get to Tomorrow land. Though she
    sang it quite well, she mistakenly did it with a
    Scottish accent. With a little further coaching on
    the dialect, she managed to nail the song just right.
    McBride dominates this commentary, and I loved the
    fact that he stayed with each scene, talking about
    things that were happening at the moment, giving us
    as much background information as he can about the
    actors and the characters they portray. He also
    provides a nice bit of history, comparing the style
    of this film to those from past decades. Anyone that
    is looking for a little FILM 101 will certainly be in
    tune to this terrific commentary.

    [​IMG]

    Backstory: An Affair to Remember is another
    one of those AMC channel specials that promises to
    reveal scandalous details about the lives behind the
    stars of feature film. In this documentary we learn
    about how insecure a person Cary Grant really was,
    and his obsession with actress Sophia Loren around
    the time An Affair To Remember was being
    produced. It's interesting to learn that Ingrid
    Bergman was the original choice for the role of
    Terry McKay, but when she turned it down, the role
    landed in the lap of Deborah Kerr. Both Cary Grant
    and Deborah Kerr got along wonderfully on this
    production, and the two began improvising their
    scenes, adding a soft of subtle comic flavor to
    the film in the process. We learn about the
    troubled relationships of both actors as well as
    how Cary Grant came to experiment with LSD. Also
    of interest is how much influence this film has
    had on women over the years, something which is
    humorously touched upon in 1993's Sleepless In
    Seattle
    . Big on emotion and not as scandalous
    as I had thought it would be, this featurette is
    certainly worth a watch.
    (length: approx. 24 minutes)

    Movietone News: "An Affair To Remember" is
    a welcomed treat here, despite the fact that it
    lasts just under a minute. Come aboard the S.S.
    Constitution where the film's gala premiere party
    is being held. Keep your eyes open and you'll see
    the likes of Cary Grant, Celeste Holme and even a
    slim and trim Shelly Winters.

    [​IMG]

    A Still Gallery contains approximately 22
    candid and publicity shots taken on the set of the
    film. The film's original theatrical trailer
    (featuring director Leo McCarey) is also included.
    You will also find trailers for All About Eve,
    Gentleman's Agreement
    and How Green Was My
    Valley
    .


    Final Thoughts

    [​IMG]

    Finally in anamorphic, with a brand-new transfer
    and some noteworthy supplements, this is a DVD that
    belongs in every film lover's library.

    Get out your big bowl of popcorn and have plenty
    of tissues on hand -- An Affair to Remember
    is a true Hollywood classic and the closest thing
    to heaven.

    They just don't make movies like this anymore


    Release Date: February 4, 2003


    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
     
  2. Richard Waller

    Richard Waller Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    0
    My wife and I have always loved this movie. I can't wait to get this disc. Ron, thanks for another in-depth review.

    EDIT: I ordered this from Bestbuy.com for $11.99 with free shipping.
     
  3. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2002
    Messages:
    979
    Likes Received:
    20
    Call it corn if you like, but well popped.
    I must pick this up.[​IMG]
     
  4. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    I get teary just thinking about this movie. I'll definitely be picking it up on Tuesday!!!

    - kim
     
  5. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Messages:
    7,626
    Likes Received:
    1
    I have got the first three releases already, so I am ordering this as we speak

    [​IMG]
     
  6. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 1999
    Messages:
    8,800
    Likes Received:
    3
    Yes...this is a tear-jerky that I admit I cannot watch without the tissues on standby. It's one of those staple films that has helped to get the significant-other "on board" with the value of Home-Theater and a nice new 16x9 transfer with extras is worth the purchase!

    dave [​IMG]
     
  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 1997
    Messages:
    10,449
    Likes Received:
    650
    Wait a sec! You mean this movie rips off Sleepless In Seattle's climax????

    :p)

    I'll be buying this one on release date. Not only will my girlfriend want it, but I feel compelled to reward studios who bring out catalog titles in a good (if not great) manner and a nice price point!
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    9,825
    Likes Received:
    6,291
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    Ron,

    The film does not stand out as a Technicolor production, because it was not. I believe color processing was by deluxe, with a handful of 16mm anamorphic reduction prints produced via the dye transfer process.

    For the record there was never a 3 strip Technicolor anamorphic production.

    RAH
     
  9. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2000
    Messages:
    1,981
    Likes Received:
    49
    Ron, my big question is this - the last dvd looked good but sounded very poor - very thin sound, nowhere near as good as the laser. How is the sound compared to the old dvd?
    Why is this dvd not 4.0?
     
  10. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2001
    Messages:
    13,063
    Likes Received:
    2
    This is exactly the 'type' of movie I don't like. And yet I love this film. Go figure.

    Anyway thanks for the review. I look forward to replacing my current dvd.
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    47,685
    Likes Received:
    5,063
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Robert,

    Amazing. I could have sworn this was a Technicolor
    film. If it indeed isn't (and who am I to argue),
    then this puts a more positive spin on the overall
    image quality.

    I will update the review immediately.

    I don't have the original DVD release so I cannot
    compare this film to the older version.
     
  12. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,152
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  13. John_VI

    John_VI Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2002
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've never seent he original "Love Affair", but "An Affair to Remember" is one of my top-10 all-time favorite movies. I'll definitely be picking this up ASAP. Thanks Ron.

    Oh, and the remake saga doesn't end with this movie. This film was remade AGAIN in the 90's starring Warren Beatty and Annette Benning. What a piece of garbage THAT was!!
     
  14. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Messages:
    589
    Likes Received:
    184
    The audio quality on Fox dvd's varies wildly. Audio on "Between Heaven and Hell" is downright awful, "River of No Return" has very little low end, when "D-Day Sixth of June" sounds wonderful. The dvd of "Carmen Jones" has the option of having both the 4.0 and a 2.0 to select from. The 4.0 has severe problems. The white powder substance which builds up on the emulsion on a lot of old mag tracks sheds and builds up dramatically on the playback head, and before you know it all the high frequency has gone. I have been through this experience several times and you have to keep going back and forth cleaning the heads until you get a near perfect pass as possible. It is possible that the four channel master of "An Affair to Remember" had the same problem. so they decided not to use it, a pity. The 2.0 was presumably done some years ago when the track was playable (the 2.0 is a mixdown from the 4.0 master).
     
  15. Gary Tooze

    Gary Tooze Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2000
    Messages:
    3,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Also posted this in my comparisons thread:

    Fox BLUNDERS BIG TIME!

    Old Version:

    [​IMG]
    New Anamorphic version:

    [​IMG]

    Personally I am surprised Fox redid this one as well. Although the old 'An Affair to Remember" disc was not anamorphic it was pretty good.. sharp... good grain. The image quality was very acceptable, although perhaps being a shade dark and the extras were pretty bare-bones. Now after saying it appears as though I was correct in that it is much sharper than the anamorphisized version. The new version appears quite hazy along-side the older sharper picture. The Menus are the same. Additions of a commentary and the same poor quality trailer. The 25 minute 'AMC Backstory Episode: "An Affair to Remember" is very good, but the stills gallery has just 22 black and white (?) images and the 'MovieTone newsreel' is less than a minute. I think I am sticking with the original in this instance... the colors in the new one look artificial at times too. Boo on 20th Century Fox ! They messed up... an overall loss of resolution and general focus does not make a better image.

    FULL GRAPHIC COMPARISON AT:

    http://www.compare.dvdbeaver.com/
     
  16. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 1998
    Messages:
    2,132
    Likes Received:
    7
    Real Name:
    Glenn
    Hmm. Hard call. Here are my observations on this comparison:

    It does look like Fox did some grain removal, which probably removed some subtle detail. On the other hand the old disc was a little dark and non-anamorphic, and definitely had a little too much edge-enhancement (see the ringing halo on Cary's head against the sky) that appears to be lessened a lot on the new one.

    It also appears to me that the old version might have been a little too "hot" on certain objects -- see your last comparison shot with Deborah Kerr sitting on the sofa -- notice the reflections off the lamp and objects on the table at far screen right. Very bright spots on the old one that are toned down and more natural in appearance now, to my eyes.

    The lower bitrate of the new version is disturbing, but could that be a result of less grain?

    I watched the old one not long ago before selling it in anticipation of the new version, which I haven't watched yet. So I'm stuck with the new one in any case.
     
  17. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 1999
    Messages:
    8,800
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ohhh. Not good. If a 16x9 anamorphic version isn't giving you MORE picture information/detail than the 4x3 lbxed version...there's a problem!!!

    I agree that there's a touch of EE in the old version, but it's dramatically clear that MUCH picture-information has been lost in the grain-removal. Look at details in the face/hair of the actors and in textures in the fabrics...it's not just grain that has been taken away!!!

    Can we say "THX-approved Heathers"???

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    9,825
    Likes Received:
    6,291
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    I've stated this many times and it is fact...

    An anamorphic transfer has absolutely no relation to quality, rather, it is simply a tool which IF USED PROPERLY, can result in an image of higher resolution.

    This is NOT always the case, and no assumptions can be made.
     
  19. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 1998
    Messages:
    2,132
    Likes Received:
    7
    Real Name:
    Glenn
    Now I've had a chance to look at this again at home, where my monitor is better (my previous comments were from work). I have to agree that from the screenshots presented the old version has better detail, more than I thought before.

    I also notice quite a color difference, especially in the "sofa" scene shot.

    Too bad Fox didn't just keep the film grain/picture detail and coloring, lose the artificial sharpening (EE), and re-release it anamorphic and with a high bitrate. The "Studio Classics" line should be of the highest caliber.
     
  20. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 1999
    Messages:
    8,800
    Likes Received:
    3
    Robert,

    No one would dissagree...but I think it's also imperative that a studio remastering (new transfer?) a title for 16x9 ***should*** endeavor to deliver something *superior* to an older transfer that was not utilizing 33% of it's potential vertical resolution.

    If this doesn't happen, then the studio didn't do it right.
     

Share This Page