by Martin Hafer
Back in 1993, Sleepless in Seattle came out and folks ran to the theaters in droves to see this romantic hit. I enjoyed the film but the film nut within me was annoyed, and is still annoyed, with one portion of the picture. When the two lady friends (Meg Ryan and Rosie O’Donnell) are talking about great romance films, they go on and on and on about An Affair to Remember. And, since 1993, An Affair to Remember has been proclaimed to be a bona fide classic. So why did this annoy me? Well, An Affair to Remember has two qualities that should preclude it from being considered a great film in my mind. First, it’s a remake…and rarely are remakes really necessary. Second, and most importantly, the original film is simply better…but mostly forgotten today…which is very sad.
The first film, like the remake, was directed by Leo McCarey—one of the great directors of his time. However, instead of Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr (who were in the remake), this one starred the equally talented and very smooth Charles Boyer as well as Irene Dunne. The plot is pretty much exactly the same. The only differences being that the remake is in color and is a bit glossier and the original a bit more believable, romantic and, well, original!
The bottom line is that if you don’t believe me, I challenge you to watch both films. If you still think An Affair to Remember is a better film and the classic, let me know…but I think you’ll also find, like I did, that the second film didn’t improve on the first picture. And don’t even get me started about the 1994 film Love Affair, yet ANOTHER remake, with Annette Bening and Warren Beatty!