Time: 87 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Dunne), Best Supporting Actress (Ouspenskaya), Art Direction, Song, Story and Best Picture.
The charisma and elegance of Boyer and Dunne keep this romantic tragedy afloat despite the maudlin middle and overly dramatic end. Though this film has been remade often, this version sparkles with wit, sophistication and a genuine connection between its' stars. The tale is kept simple, relying on honest emotion and sexual chemistry to drive the story and generate romance. Since Terry (Dunne) and Michel (Boyer) first meet on a transatlantic cruise and have no preconceptions about each other or illusions about their future, they are able to be themselves, which proves to be a heady elixir. Michel exudes a reckless virility that is quickly shown to be a mask for the sensitive and loving soul buried beneath his playboy image. Terry is a warm and clever woman with an open mind and a sharp sense of humor. It's no wonder Boyer falls instantly in love with her. She calls him out as an unrepentant philanderer, but is still unable to resist his charms. The development of their "friendship" is humorous and enchanting, which makes the dreary third act of the film somewhat easier to bear. All great love stories, at least according to Hollywood, must involve some bit of disaster or the happy ending is just not worth it.
Since both characters were otherwise involved when they met and are overwhelmed by the sudden change in their affections, they separate, not only to finagle out of their current relationships, but to see if what developed during their ocean crossing was the real thing. As we all know, they agree to meet 6 months later at the top of the Empire State Building. If someone fails to show, they move on with their lives as if the magical voyage never happened. Of course, tragedy strikes Terry as she hurries to meet Michel and we're forced to watch our happy couple strive to make the most of their now empty lives. Dunne puts on a good face as the crippled Terry, a woman who believes she's doing the right thing by not burdening Michel's life with her disability. Even though she's bitterly disappointed, Terry's frank determination not to let life pass her by is admirable and believable, as Dunne's performance deters one from feeling sorry for her. What she doesn't know is that Michel is devastated by her failure to appear and renews his love of painting by channeling his pain into his art. It's his work that finally brings them together.