Love Affair

Warren Beatty’s pious, academic remake of Leo McCarey’s 1939 masterpiece, which starred Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne and was remade by McCarey himself in 1957 as An Affair to Remember, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. As love stories both were examples of Hollywood’s best, but each was tied so closely to its period and to McCarey’s personality that this 1994 version seems bent out of shape in comparison. Starring Beatty and his wife Annette Bening, it eliminates all the references to Catholicism, gives the playboy hero an occupation (former football star turned sportscaster), and adds some self-referential details about Beatty as an aging, well-to-do bedroom hopper who decides to go straight after he meets the love of his life, none of which helps much. Beatty’s performance in particular seems flat and uninflected compared to Boyer’s and Grant’s. The credited director is Glenn Gordon Caron, but Beattywho produced, collaborated with Robert Towne on adapting the original (by McCarey, Mildred Cram, Donald Ogden Stewart, and Delmer Daves), and controlled the final cutseems responsible for the overall dullness of this vanity production. Katharine Hepburn was nudged out of retirement to play the hero’s aunt in one moving and pivotal scene, but most of the rest is fancy filler. With Garry Shandling, Chloe Webb, Pierce Brosnan, and Kate Capshaw. (JR)

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