Individually, both Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne said Love Affair was their favourite of the films they’d acted in. Quite an achievement for a film—one reason why I’d put Waterloo Bridge in the same league as Love Affair. The two stars of this film, Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh, also rated Waterloo Bridge as their favourite of all the films they’d acted in (yes, Vivien Leigh rated this higher even than Gone With the Wind!). Like Love Affair, this is also a love story. And it too takes a very tragic turn midway.
It’s a strange thing, but I’ve noticed I invariably end up watching one actor again and again—often unwittingly. I saw Deborah Kerr in Vacation from Marriage a couple of weeks back; last week, I saw her in The Prisoner of Zenda, and then today, in Heaven Knows, Mr Allison. This is a film I hadn’t heard of till a few days back, and now I can think of few films that I’ve loved more. It’s superb.
Having watched this movie (released in the UK as Perfect Strangers), I’m realising I need to watch more of Robert Donat. He—and Deborah Kerr, who overdid the saccharine act in Quo Vadis—pull off this unusual tale of a wartime romance with ease. Frankly speaking, wartime romances à la A Farewell to Arms don’t thrill me. I hate the angst, the fear of the loved one copping it, etc. Too much stress.
So Alexander Korda’s Vacation from Marriage, never too blue, never really distressing and with a mostly predictable end, was perfect. Sweet!