MoMA Presents

Leo McCarey’s Love Affair

Dec 21–28, 2021


Love Affair. 1939. USA. Directed by Leo McCarey. The Museum of Modern Art Film Archive
  • MoMA, Floor T2/T1 The Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center

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From the moment an invisible breath propels a telegram meant for a notorious international playboy (Charles Boyer) into the hands of a nightclub singer heading into a loveless marriage (Irene Dunne), Leo McCarey’s 1939 masterpiece ranks among the greatest comedies and melodramas of the American cinema. The warmth and depth McCarey draws from his performers plays out against the transcendent themes of his mise-en-scène, which includes a vision of the Empire State Building as the closest thing to heaven on earth. Amazingly, this perfectly structured film was largely improvised, after censors abruptly rejected McCarey’s initial screenplay. We are proud to present a new and definitive restoration of this major film, a glowingly beautiful digitization based on the unique nitrate print in MoMA’s collection and realized in partnership with Lobster Films.

Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film.

Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black and by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.


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