An Affair to Remember (1957) is generally known, thanks to Sleepless in Seattle, as one of the ultimate “chick flicks,” but it’s a great movie regardless. Director Leo McCarey began as a comedy director, working with Laurel & Hardy, the Marx Brothers, and Harold Lloyd, before winning Best Director Oscars for his films The Awful Truth (1937) and Going My Way (1944). Perhaps because of his career path, he developed a touch for human behavior that was, and still is, rare in Hollywood.
Coming near the end of his career, An Affair to Remember was a remake of his own 1939 film Love Affair, but in full color and widescreen. The plot, of course, involves Nickie (Cary Grant) and Terry (Deborah Kerr), who meet on a cruise ship and fall in love, even though they are both involved with other people. They agree, if they both come to be single, to meet in six months at the Empire State Building, but Terry is hit by a car. It sounds dreadfully maudlin, but rather than diving straight for the tear ducts, McCarey—aided by Grant’s similarly light touch—keeps it tender and lovely. It was nominated for Oscars for its cinematography, music, and costume design, as well as the title song.