A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
Have you ever found yourself watching a movie you had already seen far too many times? Of course you have, we have all done it. We don’t do it on purpose. It just comes on and before we know it we are mouthing the words and reliving the emotions all over again.
However, some of us go a bit farther and rewrite the movie in our minds and out of the goodness of our hearts make changes to improve the original even though it is considered by the public, a classic.
That very thing happened to me last night. Mary and I did not intend to watch An Affair to Remember but before we could find the clicker (I was sitting on it) we were aboard the S.S. Constitution with Cary and Deb (Being a thespian I am allowed to call Deborah, ‘Deb’, not like the rest of you peasants. You forget I have acted on the stage of the Orillia Opera House many times and on several occasions my portrayal of the male lead was cited by critics as ‘bringing a whole new meaning to the word ‘wooden’.)
An Affair… is a good movie and everyone in the world has seen it at one time or another, but it could have been better. Bear with me as I make a few alterations to the original thereby transforming it from a romantic, although somewhat syrupy love story into a movie that can be enjoyed by all us aficionados of the cinema.
First, let us look at the young kid who we see very early in the movie hanging upside down on a railing. The little squirt is, I don’t know, five maybe. Where in hell are his parents? Where? They are at the bar drinking pink champagne, but not because they particularly like it, he’s a beer drinker and she drinks gin like there’s no tomorrow, but because the voyage is all-inclusive and it’s free. (Cary and Deb never once had to open their wallets aboard ship that I remember. Come to think of it, even the New York art store owner bought him lunch later on in the movie. Cary Grant was a deadbeat.)
I believe we were discussing the little kid.
His folks just left him wandering around on an ocean liner late at night, no life jacket, no scuba mask and no flippers. How’s that for caring parents? Not only that, the little jerk was rude to Deborah after she and Cary helped him out of his predicament. Here’s what I suggest, pick the little bozo up, kiss him on the top of his head and drop him over the side.
Maybe that’s what they eventually did. I tried to find his name in the cast list and he’s not there.
Having solved that, let us discuss the children’s choir from St. Whatshisname’s orphanage. Let’s be honest here, they weren’t very good and if anyone should know it’s me. I don’t know if you remember the column wherein I discussed this tragedy, but when I was in Grade 7 our class came dead last in a Kiwanis Music Festival Competition in Eaton Auditorium. I should explain, it wasn’t our fault we finished before the piano player. Instead of just stopping he went ‘plunk’ thence ruining the career of 25 up-and-coming Broadway stars.
Where was I? Oh yes the choir. That whole choir business should have ended up on the cutting room floor. If, however, for some reason it had to be in there they could have at the very least taped that one kid’s ears to the side of his head. He looked like a taxi going down the main street with all four doors open. (That’s not my line; I borrowed it from a sports writer in the 60s who said it about Junior Selke, whose father owned the Montreal Canadiens. Junior should have worn a toque and pulled it down over his ears.)
As most of you know, I am quite a moral young gentleman and would never discuss another person’s personal life unless I could make some money out of it, but Deb was living in a posh apartment over-looking the East River. Where did the money come from? Those things don’t come cheap. She and Richard Denning were not married, and he, if you remember early TV, made his living in Australia as The Flying Doctor. All he would be paid was a chicken and the occasional kangaroo pelt. Not only that, when the movie was made Richard was 43 and Deborah was but a child of 36, far too big an age gap for co-habituating I would think. Even worse, Cary was 53, so when the two lovebirds finally got together at the end of the movie, and it appears they did, he would have to have a defibrillator beside the bed with an ambulance idling outside in the driveway.
This may be the stupidest thing I have ever written.