Movies You Missed: 'An Affair To Remember'
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
While Scott Simon is away for the holidays, he very kindly let me borrow one of his favorite series.
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HUMPHREY BOGART: (As Rick Blaine) Here's looking at you, kid.
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CLARK GABLE: (As Rhett Butler) Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.
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MARLON BRANDO: (As Terry Malloy) I could have been a contender.
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BETTE DAVIS: (As Margo Channing) Fasten your seatbelts.
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TOM CRUISE: (As Jerry Maguire) Show me the money.
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ROBERT DE NIRO: (As Travis Bickle) You talkin' (ph) to me?
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ESTELLE REINER: (As Older Woman Customer) I'll have what she's having.
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OPRAH WINFREY: (As Sofia) I ain't never thought I'd have to fight in my own house.
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BRANDO: (As Stanley Kowalski, screaming) Stella.
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JEREMY IRONS: (As Scar) Long live the king.
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JACK NICHOLSON: (As Jack Torrance) Here's Johnny.
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DAVID PROWSE: (As Darth Vader) I am your father.
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MARGARET HAMILTON: (As the Wicked Witch of the West) I'll get you, my pretty.
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ANDY SERKIS: (As Gollum/Smeagol) Precious.
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HEATH LEDGER: (As Joker) Why so serious?
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ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: (As The Terminator) Hasta la vista, baby.
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RICHARD S. CASTELLANO: (As Clemenza) Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.
WERTHEIMER: Guess what, it's time for Movies You Missed, where we make friends, colleagues, listeners and strangers watch classic films they somehow missed. We asked Weekend All Things Considered producer Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi to spend his vacation watching "An Affair To Remember." You've got to remember that one. (Singing) A love affair (laughter). The 1957 movie stars Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Alexi joins us now.
Can you sing the theme?
ALEXI HOROWITZ-GHAZI, BYLINE: I don't think so.
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: I've actually forgotten it already.
WERTHEIMER: Now, I haven't seen this movie in a very long time. So why don't you do the heavy lifting? What's it about?
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: Well, so on its face, it's about these two kind of star-crossed aristocrats who are sailing their way across the Atlantic. And they're both headed back to their significant others. And Cary Grant plays this international celebrity playboy named Nickie Ferrante. He's kind of the subject of a ton of gossip, and everybody's very excited that he's on his way to go finally settle down and marry this New York socialite.
He meets Deborah Kerr's character, Terry McKay. And of course, the first thing he does is try to seduce her. And he comes up with this line that I kind of liked, but he tries to convince her that life is too short to not seize whatever moments are given for romance and adventure.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER")
CARY GRANT: (As Nickie Ferrante) You know, this ship is going much too fast. We ought to take advantage of every moment. Don't you think that life should be gay and bright and bubbly like champagne?
DEBORAH KERR: (As Terry McKay) I like pink champagne.
GRANT: (As Nickie Ferrante) Yes, that's the kind I mean - pink champagne. Now, is there any reason why from now on, this trip shouldn't be pink champagne?
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: So eventually, despite a good stand by Terry McKay against the charm of Cary Grant's character, she finally succumbs to his charm and they have a famous love affair. And he actually asks her to marry him instead of his wife-to-be.
You know, I won't spoil the rest of the movie. There are a lot of ups and downs - it's, you know - as in life. The love affair in this story is kind of a rocky road. And there's some vehicular blunt trauma. I'll leave that as a teaser.
WERTHEIMER: So the American Film Institute says that this is one of the most romantic movies of all time - that it really is a movie to remember. What say you?
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: You know, I was really confused in a lot of ways by this movie because...
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: ...The whole start of the movie's setting up this guy as this notorious rogue whose word basically means nothing. And he's super rude to everybody he meets. People are asking him to play cards on the ship. And he's like...
GRANT: (As Nickie Ferrante) Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Hathaway, but I cheat. It's an addiction.
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: I don't know. I mean, there is a lot of pithy, fun banter. There's some chemistry there. But I think the way you read the romance in this movie is whether or not you believe that this is actually an affair to remember at all or just one in this slew of affairs that is this guy's life.
I think I have a pessimistic view of that. But it seems like people who saw this movie at a different time read it differently. In this moment, it struck me the other way.
WERTHEIMER: I see (Laughter). What'd you think about Cary Grant?
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: Well, you know, I haven't seen that many Cary Grant movies - I will admit. And most of the ones I did see were when I was little. I wasn't totally charmed by him in this movie. I'm willing to give him another chance. I think of myself more as a Jimmy Stewart kind of guy.
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: I like the stammering, principled kind of earnestness of Jimmy Stewart.
I will say I did - I watched this movie on the plane back from our home state of New Mexico to Washington. And there was a woman in her mid-70s, maybe, sitting next to me - I was squished in the middle seat. And she watched the movie over my shoulder. You know, she was kind of enraptured by it. And we ended up talking about it a little bit.
And she was saying - oh, Cary Grant. There was no one who didn't love Cary Grant, you know, when I was young, and it was unheard of. And, you know, they just - romance isn't the same anymore. And I don't know. I hope it's changed...
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: ...If this is what romance is.
WERTHEIMER: Well, can you think of anyone you know - I mean, among your friends - who's actually seen the film?
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: Yeah. I asked a lot of people that I know - and to be fair, most of them are 20-somethings or 30-somethings - in my...
WERTHEIMER: Like you.
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: ...Age range. That's right. And none of them seemed to know it, but they would sometimes gaze off mistily and say, I think I've heard of that. Have all of your friends heard of it or seen it?
WERTHEIMER: Are you kidding (laughter)? Seen it more than once, cried all the way through it - yes. I mean, it's not as if you can't see the ending coming. So you start crying in preparation for the ending. Did you cry?
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: No. I mean, I did enjoy it. I don't think I was greatly moved by it. But, yeah, it was a nice way to spend a flight. I will say that.
And also, I did like - I will say one last thing. I did like something about his joie de vivre - this disaster life that he had. I don't know if I fully identify with it.
And, you know, I liked that whole thing that life should be, you know, gay and bubbly and bright. So in the spirit of that, I thought maybe we could end this by cheers-ing the movie and the new year with a little bit of pink champagne.
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: So bear with me. Bear with me. We're going to open this up.
(SOUNDBITE OF CORK POPPING)
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: There we are. And breakfast is served.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER")
KERR: (Singing as Terry McKay) A love affair.
WERTHEIMER: Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi, producer at Weekend All Things Considered - cheers.
HOROWITZ-GHAZI: Happy new year, Linda.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER")
KERR: (Singing as Terry McKay) We'll rejoice in remembering. Our love was born with our first embrace.
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