Love Affair (1994) (NTSC)

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Released 17-Apr-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romance Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 107:31
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,3,4 Directed By Glenn Gordon Caron
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Warren Beatty
Annette Bening
Pierce Brosnan
Garry Shandling
Kate Capshaw
Katharine Hepburn
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Ennio Morricone


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Chinese
Thai
Korean
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Prominent mention of Qantas during film
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Oh, joy. Yet another remake of "Love Affair"/"An Affair To Remember", this one co-produced by Warren Beatty and starring himself and his lovely wife Annette Bening.

    The original "Love Affair" (1939) was a touching story directed and co-written by Leo McCarey about French playboy Michel Marnet (Charles Boyer) and American Terry McKay (Irene Dunne) who fall in love aboard a ship and arrange to reunite 6 months later (in order to give Michel a chance to prove that he can mend his broken ways and earn a decent living). Unfortunately, moments before they can be reunited, Terry injures herself and ...

    The movie turned out to be so popular that Leo McCarey remade it in 1957 as "An Affair To Remember" starring Cary Grant (the playboy's name was changed to Nickie Ferrante) and Deborah Kerr (who still remained Terry McKay). This version got enshrined in "Sleepless in Seattle" as the "ultimate chick flick" and is probably the best of the lot, complete with sizzling chemistry between the two lead stars that almost make the plot believable.

    So, what's different about this version, and is it worth watching? In a nutshell, it is watchable, but not sizzling. Although some elements of the plot have been updated, the whole film has a "retro" 1950s feel about it right down to Annette Bening's hairstyle which is very reminiscent of Deborah Kerr. The wonderfully gorgeous scenery of the French Polynesian island of Moorea is the real highlight of the film and manage to upstage the characters. Katharine Hepburn plays a great cameo role in the "grandmother" role (changed in this version to become "Aunt" Ginny). The ending now revolves around a painting of Terry wearing a scarf amongst the landscape of Moorea as the crucial link between the two characters that finally broke the ice but otherwise is very faithful to the other two films.

    This time around, the "playboy" character has been morphed into that of Mike Gambril (Warren Beatty), a famous ex-football player who's turned sports commentator and is at a crossroads in his career. He is engaged to powerful and rich talk show hostess Lynn Weaver (Kate Capshaw) who can really help propel his career, but he has a reputation for chasing skirts and there is much gossip over whether the relationship will last.

    On a flight to Sydney, he meets none other than Terry McKay (Annette Bening) - a freelance singer and musician who is travelling to Sydney to help decorate the interior of her rich boyfriend's new yacht. Ken Allen (Pierce Brosnan), her boyfriend, is an immensely wealthy venture capitalist. The pair immediately develop an attraction to each other which they both tried to suppress as they are both involved in relationships they can't afford to lose.

    When the flight develops engine trouble and is forced to land in an atoll, the passengers are forced to travel on a cruise ship (which looks impossibly decadent and retro for such a tiny ship). After a visit to Mike's Aunt Ginny who lives at a beautiful cottage surrounded by mountains on the isle of Moorea, they both fall in love, but realises that each of them has to make a difficult decision - whether to give in to their love or retain their existing relationships and the attendant material comforts.

    Incidentally, I thought it was a nice touch that the plane that developed engine problems is from an airline called "South Seas Airways" but the plane that carried them safely back to New York is a Qantas jumbo.

    They promise that if they still love each other in three months time they will meet each other at the top of the Empire State Building but if either party does not show up then the other will not attempt to pursue the matter any further.

    So, needless to say, both of them spend the next three months thinking about each other, but - once again - something happens to Terry on her way to the Empire State Building and poor Mike is left standing on the viewing platform looking forlorn. Maybe if he had waited long enough he might have found Charles Boyer, Cary Grant and Tom Hanks all in the same situation and they could all have gone and had a beer to console each other!

    Will they ever get back together again? Will Mike realise that Terry still loves him and has been involved in a terrible accident? Will Terry ever be able to walk again? Those of you who has watched the earlier movies will of course know the answers to all these questions.

    This time around, the scene does not work as well as in the other two films - the plot hinges on the fact that both characters are too proud to actually just reveal the true facts or ask the right questions, but neither Mike nor Terry strike me as being proud/silly enough so the whole scene has an air of unrealism about it.

    There are a number of cameo appearances on this film, including Harold Ramis (playing Mike's accountant), Ed McMahon, as well as various newscasters including Mary Hart, John Tesh, Steve Kmetko, Terry Murphy, Barry Nolan and Andrea Kutyas playing themselves. Ray Charles also appears briefly in a concert segment.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is another Warner Home Video NTSC transfer presented in 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement, which is pretty close to the intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    Overall the transfer comes across as rather soft, and marred by minor instances of grain. Whilst I suspect some of the softness may be intentional (particularly those of Moorea where the softness contributes to a gentle glow that augments the beauty of the natural scenery) it is a little bit hard on the eyes. Colour saturation is a bit on a dull side but quite acceptable and consistent with the age of the film.

    A moderate amount of edge enhancement has been applied in an attempt to sharpen the transfer - this accentuates the grainy look of the film and adds halos to dark objects (particularly noticeable if you look at the mountain outlines around 34:48-35:02).

    There is a minor bout of telecine wobble during the opening titles.

    There are a number of English and foreign language subtitle tracks present (French and Spanish to cater for US and Canada, plus some Asian languages to cater for Region 3).

    This is a single sided single layered disc so there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Quite surprisingly, the original theatrical release print features both Dolby Digital and dts audio tracks. Of course, we miss out on dts. The disc comes with two audio tracks: English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s) and French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192Kb/s). I listened to the English audio track.

    As is to be expected, this is a dialogue focused front centred audio track, where the other speakers are mainly reserved for music and ambience. The rear speakers are mostly silent apart from some noticeable instances, such as the rain around 30:25-30:35 and concert hall ambience around 86:30. Needless to say, the lack of an LFE channel means the subwoofer is not utilised during the film.

    The audio track is pleasant to listen to and dialogue is easy to understand and lip-synced (apart from the usual ADR gaffes). The audio quality is average in terms of fidelity and naturalness.

    Ennio Morricone composed the original musical score for the film and he is one of my "favouritest" film music composers. The music soundtrack (apart from excerpts from songs) can only be described as "lush" and the piano piece "played" by Aunt Ginny in the middle of the film is absolutely beautiful.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This is a fairly bare bones disc.

Menu

    The menus are static but 16x9 enhanced. The main menu comes with background audio (a snippet from the piano piece played during the middle of the film).

Listing-Cast & Crew

    This consists of two stills providing a listing of cast (on one still) and crew (on the other).

Theatrical Trailer (2:18)

    This is a somewhat grainy 1.78:1 transfer with 16x9 enhancement. The Dolby Digital surround encoded audio sounds a bit distorted in places.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc (which is actually coded for regions 1, 3 and 4) appears to be identical to the Region 1 version, right down to the copyright messages.

Summary

    It will be easy to dismiss this remake of Love Affair as a pale shadow of An Affair To Remember, but I think it does have some redeeming features (mainly the gorgeous scenery plus a lush music score). The video transfer is somewhat soft and grainy, and the audio transfer is mediocre. Extras are very limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Sunday, April 07, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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