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On an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic, a cultivated European playboy (Charles Boyer) meets a woman from New York (Irene Dunne), and the romance that develops is threatened by a misunderstanding and a physical accident. Writer-director Leo McCarey was one of the true masters, able to transform cliche formulas to the richest art by imbuing them with a profound human insight. Characteristically mixing comedy with tragedy here (with Delmer Daves and Donald Ogden Stewart assisting him on a screenplay derived from a Mildred Cram story), he fashions one of the great love stories of the 30s. He remade this picture in the 50s as An Affair to Remember, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, and while both versions have their claims to greatness—as powerful tearjerkers that earn their excesses almost every step of the way—the original is arguably the finer of the two. With Maria Ouspenskaya and Lee Bowman (1939).

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