A French playboy and an American former nightclub singer fall in love aboard a ship.A French playboy and an American former nightclub singer fall in love aboard a ship.A French playboy and an American former nightclub singer fall in love aboard a ship.
But it all started with this more modest film starring a smart, luminous Irene Dunne as Terry McKay and Charles Boyer all continental charm as Michel Marnet. The story is as contrived as ever, but the script co-written by McCarey, Mildred Cram, Delmer Daves and Donald Ogden Stewart is full of clever dialogue to go with the soap opera elements. It's too bad the print condition is so bad given that it has fallen into the public domain, but you can still get a strong sense of the craftsmanship behind the film, especially Rudolph Maté's soft-focus cinematography.
Even though Maria Ouspenskaya gives her most sympathetic performance as Grandmother Janou (she was wonderfully malevolent in "The Wolf Man"), it's really the chemistry between the two stars which keeps this afloat, especially Dunne who was so dexterous in comedy and drama in her prime that she is far superior to either Kerr or Bening. She even gets to sing two songs most winningly, one a Harold Arlen gem called "Sing My Heart". Even though you are likely to know every scene by heart from the 1957 remake, it's still quite worthwhile to enjoy the antiquated charms of the original.
- Oct 11, 2006