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An 'Affair' You Might Remember

October 30, 1994

Some stories are so timeless that Hollywood keeps making them over and over again. The latest example is the Warren Beatty-Annette Bening version of "Love Affair," the third film based on the story.

Though made 55 years after Leo McCarey's original "Love Affair" (1939) and 37 years after McCarey remade it as "An Affair to Remember" (1957), the new "Love Affair" shares many things with its predecessors, including two wonderfully corny shots of reflections: one of the Empire State Building, another of a painting by the hero that now belongs to the heroine. The original (on video through Movies Unlimited, 1-800-523-0823), the follow-up (FoxVideo, $9.98) and the new version also hew to the same tear-triggering plot: A womanizer on the verge of marriage discovers love with an engaged woman on an ocean voyage--only to be separated when she is hit by a car en route to their post-cruise rendezvous. How do the three versions of the "Love Affair" story diverge? Let us count the ways.

- Compiled by the Film Clips staff

1939

He is:

Michel Mornay (Charles Boyer), international playboy who is sailing from Europe to New York to marry Louise Clark, the rock-and-gravel heiress.

She is:

Terry McKay (Irene Dunne), former nightclub singer.

They meet cute:

When she catches an indiscreet radiogram a breeze has blow out of his hands and through a porthole.

Things get serious when:

They stop to visit his grandmother (Maria Ouspenskaya) in the south of Spain.

The aging matriarch offers words of insight:

"One day, life will present a bill and Michel will find it hard to pay."

When they get back to the boat:

They don't kiss or sleep together.

His words of warning:

"I've never worked a day in my life."

They agree to meet:

In six months, on July 1 at 5 p.m.

In the interim:

He becomes a painter and she goes back to nightclub singing.

His best friend is:

His art dealer.

The two lovers finally run into each other again:

At a Broadway play.

1957

He is:

Nick Ferranti (Carey Grant), international playboy who is sailing from Europe to New York to marry Lois Clark, the rock-and-gravel heiress.

She is:

Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr), former nightclub singer.

They meet cute:

When she finds an indiscreet cigarette case he has lost.

Things get serious when:

They stop to visit his grandmother (Cathleen Nesbitt) in the south of France.

The aging matriarch offers words of insight:

"He is always attracted to the art he isn't practicing, to the place he hasn't been, to the girl he hasn't met."

When they get back to the boat:

They kiss but don't sleep together.

His words of warning:

"I've never worked a day in my life."

They agree to meet:

In six months, on July 1 at 5 p.m.

In the interim:

He becomes a painter and she goes back to nightclub singing.

His best friend is:

His art dealer.

The two lovers finally run into each other again:

At the ballet.

1994

He is:

Michael Gambril (Warren Beatty), former pro football star and ladies' man who is engaged to talk show star Lynn Weaver

She is:

Terry McKay (Annette Bening), part-time musician, decorator.

They meet cute:

On an airplane, where she persuades him they've met before.

Things get serious when:

They stop to visit his Aunt Ginny (Katharine Hepburn) in the South Pacific.

The aging matriarch offers words of insight:

"Michael is an ugly duckling who doesn't know he's a swan."

When they get back to the boat:

They kiss and apparently sleep together.

His words of warning:

"I've never been faithful to anyone a day in my life."

They agree to meet:

In three months, on July 8 at 5:02 p.m.

In the interim:

He becomes a small-college football coach and she finds work singing commercial jingles.

His best friend is:

His attorney.

The two lovers finally run into each other again:

At a Ray Charles benefit concert at Carnegie Hall.

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