Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

An Affair to Remember (1957)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

An Affair to Remember (1957)

In director Leo McCarey's romantic tearjerker melodramatic tale of star-crossed lovers - it was a CinemaScopic remake of McCarey's original shipboard romance classic Love Affair (1939), starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer - and referenced in director Nora Ephron's Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and in Love Affair (1994) with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening:

  • in the film's early scenes, at the end of a transatlantic ocean cruise (from Europe to New York) before their ship USS Constitution docked in NYC, wealthy playboyish bachelor (and talented painter) Nickie Ferrante (Cary Grant) and former nightclub singer Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) had formed a strong friendship; however, the two were both involved with other relationships: Nickie was soon to marry his lovely, wealthy celebrity fiancée Lois Clarke (Neva Patterson) - a rich heiress, and Terry had a long-time boyfriend named Kenneth Bradley (Richard Denning)
  • nonetheless, the two decided to reunite six months later (on July 1st at 5:00 pm) at the top (102nd floor) of the Empire State Building, as Terry added: "Oh yes, that's perfect. It's the nearest thing to heaven we have in New York"
  • six months later when Nickie waited at their rendezvous point (a clock chimed 5 times), Terry didn't appear (she was injured in an awful car accident (off-screen) on a busy NYC street on her way rushing to meet him) and there were ambulances heard blaring at 10 minutes after five; Nickie assumed that he had been rejected and subsequently resumed his painting career; although disabled, Terry took work as a music teacher for orphaned children
  • in the conclusion of the tale, there came a startling revelation scene six months later on Christmas Eve - regarding the devastating, terrible secret of why she couldn't keep her fateful appointment with him atop the Empire State Building - he visited her in her apartment as she remained unmoving and supine on a couch (he was unaware of her injury); he delivered an accusatory and scolding conversation with her
  • Nickie gave Terry a Christmas present of a shawl from his now-deceased Grandmother Janou (Cathleen Nesbitt) [Note: Earlier, during their ship's docking at Madeira, Nickie and Terry took a sidetrip to his grandmother's hillside villa. At their departure, the Grandmother promised to send Terry her beautiful white lace shawl one day.]
  • as he was leaving after they diplomatically shook hands, he casually mentioned that he had once painted a picture similar to the way she looked: "You know, I painted you like that with the shawl. I wish you could have seen it...I didn't think I could ever part with it. But well, there was no reason to keep it any longer, and, uh, I couldn't take money for it, because, well, you know.."; he had agreed to have the painting given away free to a woman in a wheelchair who liked it, but had no money - "She was..." - and then suddenly, he became suspicious about why Terry was immobile on the couch, paused and went into the adjoining bedroom
  • in Terry's bedroom, he discovered that she was the one who had acquired his painting - it was hanging on the wall (visible when the camera slowly panned right to show the painting's mirror reflection in the room) - she was the recipient of his painting! and had kept her accident a secret
Discovery of Terry's Identity
  • after returning to the living room, Nickie stared disbelieving at Terry, who requested: "Darling, don't look at me like that"; he had made the ultimate discovery and deduction by inferring the devastating, terrible secret of how fate had intervened on the day they were to meet - he asked: "Why didn't you tell me? If it had to happen to one of us, why did it have to be you?"
  • with a tearful hug, she explained: "It was nobody's fault but my own. I-I was looking up. It was the nearest thing to heaven. You were there. Oh, darling, don't, don't worry, darling. If you can paint, I can walk. Anything can happen. Don't you think?"
  • he wiped away her tears and replied: "Yes, darling, yes. Yes, yes, yes"; they kissed, and a chorus sang atop a snowy view of New York City: "Our Love Affair To Remember" as the film concluded

Plans Made to Meet Six Months Later in NYC Between Nickie and Terry

Terry's Tragic Accident - 6 Months Later

Meeting With Terry on Christmas Day, Another 6 Months Later


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