When people look at the facts, they discover that Doris Day is the most popular female actress of all time (with or without the prized Academy Award). She starred in 39 films in 20 years, and that is also a record. Honored for her achievements with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, this video encapsulates those 39 films with accompanying music from most. A quick view will quickly show the variety of films and the extent of Miss Day’s talents both visually and musically. She certainly is “one of a kind”!
Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Calamity Jane
1948 ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS
Doris becomes an overnight star in this film. The theme song, “It’s Magic”, became one of her signature songs and was nominated for an Academy Award. The song was so popular that, in the UK, they retitled the film as “It’s Magic”. Other great songs included: “Put ‘Em in a Box, Tie ‘Em with a Ribbon” and “It’s You or No One For Me”. All were jukebox and deejay favorites.
In this delightful first film, Doris plays Georgia Garrett, a nightclub singer who has always wanted to travel abroad. Surprising circumstances provide Georgia a chance to travel on a cruise planned for Elvira Kent (Janis Paige) who scheduled the cruise but at the last minute cancels when she suspects that her husband is cheating on her. She decides to stay at home to check up on him. So she convinces Georgia to go on the cruise in her stead.
Meanwhile, her husband hires a detective to watch Elvira while on the cruise, because, he too, suspects cheating. Of course, the detective falls for the substitute Elvira (Doris Day), making a somewhat complicated scenario with many possibilities. There is no question about who steals this one! (The first of 3 films with co-star Jack Carson)
1949 MY DREAM IS YOURS
This movie proved that Doris was no “flash in the pan”. It cemented her popularity and moved her higher in the polls of movie favorites. Title song was a minor hit. Other popular songs from the movie included: “Someone Like You”, “I’ll String Along With You” and a gigantic jukebox hit, “Canadian Capers (Cuttin’ Capers)”.
Doris' second film is a remake of a 1934 flick starring Dick Powell called "Twenty Million Sweethearts". In the ealier film, waiter Powell became a crooning idol, in the remake it is Doris Day who is catapulted to stardom.
Jack Carson (who was reportedly romantically involved with Day during filming) is the hot-shot promoter who makes a celebrity out of Day and lives to regret it, as does she, before the happy ending.
The film's highlight features a cartoon sequence directed by Fritz Freleng with cameos by Bugs Bunny and Tweety. Dance sequences are attributed to famous choreographer, Buzzby Berkely. Much ado is made about the title song, but it is the jukebox sequence song which becomes the actual hit.
1949 IT'S A GREAT FEELING
This movie featured many WB stars including Joan Crawford, Danny Kaye, Gary Cooper and Ronald Reagan. The title song was nominated for an Academy Award. Two films for Doris this year.
Billy Wilder's future partner I.A.L. Diamond concocted the storyline for this Dennis Morgan/Jack Carson/Doris Day tunefest. Morgan and Carson, Warner Bros.' answer to Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, appear as themselves.
Attempting to line up a director for their next picture, the boys find themselves unable to do so due to Carson's gigantic ego. Carson decides to direct their next vehicle himself; the next problem is locating a leading lady who'll be willing to put up with Carson. The boys discover Doris Day, a waitress in the Warner Bros. commissary.
Carson and Morgan spend their entire shooting schedule vying over Day's affections; she gets fed up with this, and heads back to her home town in Wisconsin, there to marry her childhood sweetheart Jeffrey Bushdinkel--who is revealed in the final shot to be none other than Errol Flynn!
Other guest stars popping in and out of It's a Great Feeling include Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Sidney Greenstreet, Danny Kaye, Patricia Neal, Eleanor Parker, Ronald Reagan, Edward G. Robinson and Jane Wyman. Also appearing as themselves are such Warner Bros. directors as David Butler (the real director of It's a Great Feeling), Michael Curtiz, King Vidor and Raoul Walsh.
1950 YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN
The first of 3 films in 1950, this one paralleled Doris’ life as a band singer in many ways. Great standards by Doris with Harry James and his Orchestra, which led to a #1 selling album of the year,the first time an album by Doris topped the charts, but not the last time. “With a Song in My Heart” and “The Very Thought of You” became popular favorites that year via single recordings.
After three films in which Doris was in the lead position, she takes the role of a supporting character in this film. It is said that she was so good that Warners could not get the vehicles for her out fast enough.
The plot of this film revolves around the life of tragic jazz great Bix Beiderbecke. Kirk Douglas plays the Beiderbecke character, here named Rick Martin. An ace trumpter , Martin is one of the few white musicians to flourish in the black-dominated jazz scene of the 1920s.
Chafing against the dullness of the "respectable" orchestras for whom he works, Martin finds at least two kindred spirits in the forms of torch singer Jo Jordan (Doris Day) and piano player Smoke Willoughby (Hoagy Carmichael). He rises to popularity with his own group, and along the way falls under the spell of wealthy jazz patroness Lauren Bacall.
After marrying Bacall, Martin begins neglecting his music and turns more and more to alcohol. When he skips one of her fancy parties to attend the funeral of his mentor Juano Hernandez, Bacall angrily smashes all his jazz records, effectively ending what was never a very solid relationship. Crawling into a bottle, Martin loses his touch with the trumpet-a heartbreaking sequence, in which he goes to pieces in the middle of the pop standard "With a Song in My Heart".
Unlike the real Beiderbecke, who died of alcoholism at the age of 28, Rick Martin is rescued by his faithful friends Day and Carmichael. Kirk Douglas' trumpeteering in Young Man with a Horn was effectively dubbed by Harry James, while jazz pianists Buddy Cole and Jimmy Zito make uncredited soundtrack contributions. The film was adapted by Carl Foreman and Edmund H. North from a novel by Dorothy Baker.
1950 TEA FOR TWO
Loosely based on the Broadway Show, “No No, Nanette”, this was the first of several films with co-star Gordon MacRae. Doris and Gordon became movie theater favorites. The soundtrack album of songs was a Top Ten album, and the title song got wide airplay. Gene Nelson appears in a second lead as he does in many of her films, but it is the first time Doris returns to her originally hoped for career, that of a dancer. She and Nelson are fun to watch in the dance sequences.
Set in the Roaring Twenties, the story centers on Nanette Carter (Doris), a Westchester socialite with show business aspirations. She offers to invest $25,000 in a Broadway show if her "boyfriend", producer Larry Blair (Billy DeWolfe), casts her in the starring role. What she doesn't realize is Larry is two-timing her with ingenue Beatrice Darcy, who he envisions as the lead. When he accepts Nanette's offer, she imposes upon her wealthy, penny-pinching uncle, J. Maxwell Bloomhaus (S.Z. Sakhall), to lend her the money.
He's willing to do so, on one condition - for the next 24 hours, his niece must answer "no" to every question she's asked. Comic complications ensue when the cast arrives at Nanette's estate to rehearse, and composer and pianist Jimmy Smith (Gordon MacRae), who has romantic designs on the girl, falls victim to the bet she's made with her uncle. Nanette wins, only to discover Uncle Max has lost all his money in the stock market crash. The only person still solvent is attorney William Early(Bill Goodwin), and Nanette's assistant Pauline Hastings (Eve Arden) sets out to charm him into backing the show.
1950 WEST POINT STORY
Doris is teamed with Gordon MacRae again, in this story of a Hollywood Star (Doris) and a West Point Cadet (Gordon). Gene Nelson is again along for the ride and some dances, along with Virginia Mayo. This is the first time James Cagney co-stars in a Doris film, but it won’t be the last. The major songs from the movie were: “You Love Me” and “ I Only Have Eyes For You”. The soundtrack album reached #2 in the Top Ten.
James Cagney delivers a very different performance as a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer/director. He plays out-of-work director Elwin "Bix" Bixby, who reluctantly accepts a job from producer Harry Eberhart (Roland Winters) to stage a show at West Point written by Harry's nephew Tom Fletcher (Gordon MacRae). Harry thinks Tom's show could be a Broadway success if he would only quit West Point. Bix travels to West Point, with his girlfriend, Eve (Virginia Mayo), in tow, to whip the show into shape. But Bix is frustrated by the academy's rules, which interrupt his rehearsal schedule. In frustration, Bix hits a cadet. In order to continue to work on the show, Bix must become a cadet himself, and deal with the attendant hazing that entails. His bright idea to save the show is to coerce a "friend in the business" to work on the production. Enter Jan Wilson (Doris Day), who is brought out to play the female lead role in the production. Tom falls in love with her, but complications of show business vs. military rules cause problems. As in most Hollywood Musicals, there is, of course, a happy ending.
1951 STORM WARNING
Doris sets another record-5 feature films in one year. The first of these was a non-musical drama about the Klu Klux Klan. Co-Starring her movie Idol, Ginger Rogers, it is the only film in which Doris dies in the end.
For the second time in her newly-established career as a movie star, Doris appears in the secondary lead position. Ginger Rogers stars as a model visiting her sister (Doris) in an unnamed small town. She happens to witness the beating death of a man at the hands of the KKK.
Rogers soon discovers that the whole town is controlled by this vigilante group, and that her loutish brother-in-law Steve Cochran is one of the group's members.
D.A. Ronald W. Reagan is the man who breaks the stranglehold of the hooded terrorists--through the simple expedient of walking into one of their meetings and calmly identifying each of them by name. A mild expose' of the Klu Klux Klan, but it is never called that by name. Day's death at the end is the result of a shooting accident.
1951 LULLABY OF BROADWAY
After being second banana in a few films, Gene Nelson gets a co-starring role. Doris and Gene do some amazing dancing. The soundtrack album reaches #1 and the title song (the version recorded with Harry James) becomes a big seller that year.
Entertainer Melinda Howard (Doris) has been touring with a small theater company through the provinces, only being able to survive with the money sent to her from her Broadway star mother, Jessica Howard (Gladys George). Melinda decides to go back to New York to surprise her mother whom she hasn't seen in years. What Melinda doesn't know is that her mother is a washed up drunkard whose only job is to sing at a seedy after hours club--- that is when she's not in the hospital trying to sober up.
Melinda heads to the swanky Manhattan address her mother has provided, which in reality belongs to beer baron Adolph Hubbell (S.Z.Sakall), who also has financed some Broadway productions. He employs as his butler and maid Lefty Mack (Billy deWolfe) and Gloria Davis, friends of Jessica's who also used to be in the theater. Intercepting Melinda, Lefty comes up with a plan to reunite mother and daughter for one night in the Hubbell house. Adolph goes along with the plan when he hears it is for Jessica's benefit. But the reunion can only happen if Jessica stays sober enough.
In the meantime, Melinda catches the eye of famed Broadway entertainer Tom Farnham (Gene Nelson), who wants to partner with her both professionally and personally. That partnership may be threatened by the ensuing father-daughter like relationship that develops between Adolph and Melinda, which is seen by others, including a suspicious Anna Hubbell (Florence Bates) - Adolph's wife - as more a romantic one. The dancing partnership of Day and Nelson is well worth watching. This is a team to rival the best of Astaire and Rogers!
1951 ON MOONLIGHT BAY
Teamed again with Gordon MacRae, this time we move to the era of World War I in the first of two films that follow the adventures of The Winfield Family and features some great standard songs. The soundtrack reached #2 in album sales.
Booth Tarkington's Alice Adams, coupled with his Penrod stories, were mostly incorporated in the script of this Warner Bros. musical. The role of the incorrigible Penrod is played by future Father Knows Best regular Billy Gray, but his is a strictly secondary part herein.
The emphasis is on Penrod's hoydenish older sister, played by Doris Day. She falls in love with Gordon MacRae, whose mildly anti-capitalist sentiments sit not at all well with Doris' banker dad (Leon Ames). Once a subplot involving Penrod's prevarications concerning his father's "supposed" drinking habits is out of the way, movie goers are treated to several romantic scenes involving Doris and Gordon, and a steady stream of early-20th-century standards like "Till We Meet Again," "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles," "Cuddle Up a Little Closer," and the title song.
On Moonlight Bay ends with MacRae marching off to World War I and Doris promising she'll wait for him; she did, as was proven in the 1953 sequel By the Light of the Silvery Moon.
1951 I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS
Teamed this time with Danny Thomas, this film tells the story of songwriter, Gus Kahn, and the movie broke many box office records in 1951. The album of standard tunes was the #1 best selling soundtrack album, and the title song has become a Doris Day favorite.
The film is based on the life and work of composer Gus Kahn. The story is told from the point of view of Kahn's sympathetic and pushy wife Grace, who was still alive when the film was made (Kahn died some ten years earlier). Danny Thomas stars as the prolific tunesmith, whose fortunes take an upswing in 1908 when he meets and falls in love with Grace LeBoy (Doris Day) who receives top billing, along with some great musical numbers).
Kahn's career ascends to spectacular heights via such hits as "Pretty Baby", "My Buddy", "Toot Toot Tootsie" and "Making Whoopee", only to go into eclipse when he loses his savings in the 1929 stock-market crash. Convinced that he's lost his touch and that he's sacrificed true happiness to the evil goddess success, Kahn is ultimately gratified by the love and recognition of his peers. Among the famous personages imitated in I'll See You In My Dreams are Kahn's writing partner Walter Donaldson (Frank Lovejoy) and producers Sam Harris (Jim Backus) and Flo Ziegfeld (William Forrest).
1951 STAR LIFT
The only film in which Doris plays herself. James Cagney, Gordon MacRae, Gene Nelson and other stars appear as themselves in this film which details the story of Hollywood stars who perform for G.I.s in transit to and from the Korean War, at Travis Air Base. Doris sings several songs, none of which were ever released.
Starlift was Warner Bros' attempt to revive the "all-star patriotic musical" format which had worked so well during WW II. The wisp of a plot concerns Mike Nolan (Dick Wesson) and Rick Williams (Ron Hagherty), San Francisco-based airmen who serve as crew members on a shuttle to Korea. To impress a group of movie starlets making a personal appearance, Mike and Rick claim that they're due to be sent into combat. Actress Nell Wayne (Janice Rule) falls in love with Rick, leading to a major publicity blitz and culminating with a special USO presentation for all the Korea-bound servicemen in Frisco, starring virtually everyone on the Warners' contract roster.
The film's highlights are Doris' songs and a duet with Gordon MacRae on "You're Gonna Lose Your Gal". After an hour, Doris is no longer on the screen, and that is when the film goes bye bye.
1952 THE WINNING TEAM
Another film in a biography mold, Doris plays the wife of baseball star, Grover Cleveland Alexander,( Ronald Reagan). The only song sung was “Ol St. Nicholas”, while a tree is decorated.
Ronald Reagan delivers one of his best screen performances as baseball great Grover Cleveland Alexander in The Winning Team. The title refers to the mutually supportive relationship between Alexander and his loving wife Aimee (top-billed Doris Day); the real Aimee Alexander served as the film's technical advisor. While the basic milestones of Alexander's career are adhered to, the film is a typical Hollywood blend of fact and fancy-plenty of fancy.
While playing in the minors, Alexander is hit on the head by a batted ball, resulting in the dizziness and double vision that would ever after plague him. After toting up a record of 28 wins with the Philadelphia Phillies, Alex is traded to the Cubs, but World War 1 intervenes. On the battlefield, Alex suffers a recurrence of his double vision; and when he plays his first postwar game with the Cubs, he collapses on the field. Warned that his seizures will persist if he doesn't retire, Alex swears the doctor to secrecy. When the dizzy spells continue, Alex turns to drink. Branded an "alky", he descends to the depths of a House of David-style team, thence to the humiliation of carnival side shows.
With the help and support of both Aimee and his old pal Rogers Hornsby (Frank Lovejoy), Alex stages a spectacular comeback, striking out Yankee Tony Lazzeri during the 1926 World Series and leading his team to victory. The script provides an excellent showcase for Ronald Reagan - though in later years he expressed some reservations about it, noting that, by adhering to Warner Bros' insistence that the word "epilepsy" never be spoken, the picture confused audiences as to the true nature of Alexander's affliction. Doris does a superb job in the role of supportive partner, through thick and thin.
1952 APRIL IN PARIS
Not a great year for DD films, this one co-starred dancer Ray Bolger. They had two dancers, but they didn’t dance together. No special tunes and no soundtrack released. But the title tune as a single release became a Doris favorite.
Miss Ethel 'Dynamite' Jackson (Doris) is a chorus girl who mistakingly receives an invitation from the State Department to represent the American theatre at an arts exposition in Paris, France. There's only one problem, the invitation was meant for Miss Ethel Barrymore. Meanwhile, S. Winthrop Putnam (Ray Bolger), the bureaucrat who made the mistake tries unsuccessfully to correct his mix-up.
After his initial panic, Winthrop is happy to learn that the media has picked up on the story which in turn has made Sherman his boss believe that selecting the likes of Miss Jackson is a stroke of genius. The trip is a big disappointment for Ethel as it entails many lessons in refinement so that she doesn't embarrass the US government. Although Ethel and Winthrop get off to a rocky start because of many of these issues, the two fall in love. Sam, as Ethel calls Winthrop, has to decide if his love for Ethel or his career is more important. The course of true love is assisted along the way by Philippe Fouquet, a womanizing French national in the US, he, penniless, who is trying to make his way back home to Paris. The film highlight (and the only dance between the two dancing stars) takes place in the ship kitchen with the song, "I'm Gonna Ring the Bell Tonight". Doris will also be remembered for the scene in which she sings a song along with a raft of French Poodles all dyed in different pastel colors of the rainbow.
1953 BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON
Finally, the sequel to MOONLIGHT BAY with the same cast (minus Jack Smith) and Doris’ last film with Gordon MacRae. Great turn of the century tunes in a soundtrack album that reached #3 in album sales, at the time cementing a title that Doris Day retains: Biggest Selling Female Album Artist of the 1950’s.
As a sequel, this film, too, is based on the "Penrod" stories by Booth Tarkington. Penrod himself (played by Billy Gray) takes a back seat to the main plot, concerning the hot-and-cold romance between Doris Day and Gordon MacRae.
Gordon will not marry Doris until he is financially able to do so, which results in several breakups and reunions before the final clinch at the local ice rink. A subplot involves Penrod's suspicions that an attractive French schoolteacher (Maria Palmer) is not only romancing his father (Leon Ames), but is also an enemy spy!
Set shortly after the end of World War I, Silvery Moon takes full advantage of that era's popular songs. If you don't blink, you will catch a glimpse of Merv Griffin in the final scene.
1953 CALAMITY JANE
UK Polls list this as their all time favorite musical film; it was popular in the US as well, costarring Howard Keel. This film gave Doris her first Oscar for best song with “Secret Love”. The soundtrack was one of the biggest sellers of the year. It is Doris’ favorite of all her films, along with “Pillow Talk”.
Deadwood, Dakota Territory, is largely the abode of men, where Indian scout Calamity Jane is as hard-riding, boastful, and handy with a gun as any; quite an overpowering personality. But the army lieutenant she favors doesn't really appreciate her finer qualities. One of Jane's boasts brings her to Chicago to recruit an actress for the Golden Garter stage.
Arrived, the lady in question appears (at first) to be a more feminine rival for the favors of Jane's male friends...including her friendly enemy Wild Bill Hickock. Calam's attempt to bring in Adelaid starts a series of events which make Calam examine her feminine side, and what it may take to get Danny to propose. But in doing so, Calam ultimately realizes that what she really wants in life has been there all along. Songs like "Deadwood Stage" and "Just Blew In From The Windy City" keep this lively comedy right in the groove and quickly explains why it has become one of Doris' most shown films on television.
1954 LUCKY ME
Not one of Doris’ most popular films, the chemistry between her and costar Robert Cummings was not discernible. The hit tune was “I Speak to the Stars”. No soundtrack album was released.
In Miami, superstitious, but very lucky showgirl Candy Williams (Doris) narrowly misses several catastrophes as she makes her way to the theater. There, after a performance of the show Parisian Pretties for an audience of thirteen, she and the other members of her troupe, manager Hap Snyder (Phil Silvers), comedian Duke McGee (Eddie Foy Jr.) and dancer Flo Neely (Nancy Walker), are thrown out.
Finding his troupe broke, stranded and hungry, the resourceful Hap tricks the show's only fan, policeman Barney Mahoney, into agreeing to make a phony arrest, after the troupe has had a chance to eat a big meal at the expensive restaurant, Anton's. However, Mahoney goes off duty while they are dining, and when a different policeman responds to Hap's pre-arranged signal, the troupe must work off the meal in the kitchen to avoid a real arrest.
While cleaning the hall floors of the adjoining hotel, Flo overhears Brad Carson (Robert Cummings), a successful Tin Pan Alley composer, talking to his agent, Tommy Arthur, about a musical show he is writing and wants produced. Brad is hoping that oil magnate Otis Thayer, the father of Lorraine, a possessive woman he has been seeing, will back the show after Brad presents some of his songs at Thayer's upcoming birthday party. Lorraine shows up, and although Brad tries to make it clear to her that he wants her father's backing to be a purely business deal and that his personal interest in her is limited, Lorraine persists in trying to buy his love.
Later, while trying to avoid black cats and sidewalk cracks, Candy causes Brad to crash his car. At the garage, the mechanic offers the loan of his car, an old clunker bearing the garage's business logo. After driving away, Brad narrowly escapes a second accident caused by Candy, but feels an instant attraction for her. He invites her on a date, and lets her believe that he is a mechanic, as the sign on the car indicates.
After seeing Candy and Brad leave for their date that night, Hap follows them to a beach restaurant and introduces himself, hoping to get work for the troupe in Brad's new musical. Candy gets angry and leaves when she realizes that Brad has deceived her about his identity, but Brad agrees with Hap to secretly watch the troupe practice in Anton's dining room after hours. At the rehearsal, Brad and Candy make up, and Brad offers her and her companions roles in his show.
However, later, after seeing Candy and Brad rehearsing, Lorraine jealously insists that Candy cannot be in the show if Brad wants Thayer's backing. Candy, presuming that Brad gave Lorraine reason to feel possessive of him, quarrels with Brad and distrusts his declaration of love for her. When Brad loses interest in his show and leaves for New York, Candy realizes he does love her and decides to help him.
Disguised as genteel English persons, Candy, wearing a black wig, and Duke crash Thayer's birthday party, and are soon joined by Flo and Hap, who impersonate wealthy Texans. Together they lure Lorraine into the pool. While Lorraine is out of the way drying off, Candy takes off her wig and sings Brad's songs for the guests. Having enjoyed Candy's performance, Thayer is ready to sign a check, but Lorraine interrupts, claiming misrepresentation.
Meanwhile, Brad has returned to Miami to face Thayer and tactfully tells him that he is not interested in romancing Lorraine for the money. However, Thayer is aware that Lorraine manipulates men with her wealth and is still interested in backing the show. To encourage Thayer to act immediately, Hap starts a bidding competition and almost causes Thayer to back out, but Candy announces that they will only accept Thayer's money.
For the second time, Thayer prepares to sign a check, but the deal is again in jeopardy when Candy, realizing the date is Friday the thirteenth, almost stops him. However, to the relief of her friends, Candy renounces her superstitions, finally realizing how lucky she is. Somewhat convoluted, but still a fun picture if you can stand Phil Silvers.
1954 YOUNG AT HEART
The only film ever to star Doris with Frank Sinatra. At the time, they were the world’s most popular singers, and they didn’t even sing any complete songs together! The soundtrack album only reached #15 because Sinatra had his own version (on a different label).
When song-writer Alex Burke (Gig Young) enters the lives of the musical Tuttle family, each of the three daughters falls for him. The family lives in the fictional town of Strafford, Connecticut. Alex's personality is a match for Laurie Tuttle (Doris Day), as both she and Alex are seemingly made for each other. Her two sisters although seeing other men are infatuated with him as well. Soon Laurie and Alex are engaged, but when a friend of Alex's, Barney Sloan (Frank Sinatra), comes to the Tuttle home to help with some musical arrangements, complications arise.
His bleak outlook on life couldn't be any more contradictory to that of Alex's, but Laurie is infatuated with him. That infatuation leads her to run off with Barney on what was supposed to be her wedding day to Alex.
Barney, with a black cloud perpetually hanging over his head, decides one evening to kill himself, feeling Laurie would be better off with Alex, as he would be a better provider. Barney drives into oncoming traffic during a snowstorm with his windshield wipers off. But lives, and with a new found affirmation of life, and he finally writes the song he had been working on, finding his self-esteem in the arms of Laurie.
The character of the self-destructive Barney Sloan was originally written to die at the end of the film when Sloan drives into on-coming traffic during a snow-storm. Sinatra, whose characters in his two previous films (From Here to Eternity (1953) and (Suddenly (1954), filmed before but released after Young at Heart perished at the end, thought Sloan should live and find happiness. Sinatra's growing influence in Hollywood was enough to have the ending re-written to accommodate his wishes thus creating a corny instead of a believable ending. Happy Endings triumph once again. One of our webmaster's favorite Doris films.
1955 LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME
This movie changed the usual Good Girl Doris Image and brought her the most popular film of her career to that time. She played the life story of 20’s star Ruth Etting, and her co-star was James Cagney, this time in a lead dramatic role. Even today, critics say Doris should have had an Oscar. The soundtrack was the biggest selling album of 1955. “I’ll Never Stop Loving You” was nominated for an Oscar.
In 1920's Chicago, Ruth Etting wants to be a renowned singer, which is a far step away from her current work as a taxi dancer. Upon walking into the dance hall and seeing her, Chicago gangster Marty Snyder immediately falls for Ruth, and works toward being her lover, which he believes he can achieve by opening up singing opportunities for her.
Ruth is initially wary of Marty, but makes it clear that she is not interested in him in a romantic sense. Regardless, he does help her professionally, and through his opportunities, which are achieved through intimidation and fear, Ruth quickly gains a name as a singer, which she is able to do because of her talent and despite Marty's intimidation tactics. However, the greater her success, the more reliant she becomes on him. This becomes an issue in their relationship as she believes he can take her only so far before he becomes a liability.
All well and good, but Marty will never let her go that easily. The one person who tries and tries to get Ruth away from her unhappy life with Marty is Johnny Alderman (Cameron Mitchell), the musical advisor Marty hires for Ruth at the first gig he got for her, and who also loves Ruth himself.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Doris co-starred in this thriller with James Stewart, another film for which Doris deserved an Oscar. The song, “Que Sera, Sera”, did win an Oscar for best song and has become the song most associated with Doris to this day.
Bernard offers to take the McKennas out to dinner that night but suddenly cancels when a sinister-looking man arrives at the door of the McKenna's hotel room claiming to be looking for another guest's room. Later, while dining at a local restaurant, the McKennas meet an English couple, the Draytons, who strike up a conversation with the McKennas, who are surprised to see Bernard arrive at the restaurant and sit at another table while apparently ignoring the group.
The next day, while exploring a busy outdoor marketplace in Marrakesh with the Draytons, the McKennas see a man in Arab clothing being chased by police. After being stabbed in the back, the man approaches Ben, who discovers the man is really Bernard in disguise. Before dying, Bernard whispers into Ben's ear that a foreign statesman will be murdered in London very soon, and that he must tell the authorities there about 'Ambrose Chappell'.
Mrs. Drayton offers to return Hank to the hotel while Dr. and Mrs. McKenna are questioned by the authorities. The interrogator reveals that Bernard was a French Intelligence agent on assignment in Morocco. While at the police station, Ben receives a phone call from a mysterious man who informs him that Hank has been kidnapped but will not be harmed if the McKennas say nothing to the police about Bernard's last words.
After arriving in London the McKennas are told by Scotland Yard Inspector Buchanan that Bernard was indeed a spy trying to uncover an assassination plot in Morocco, and that they should contact him if they hear from the kidnappers. Leaving friends in their hotel room, the McKennas follow a false lead resulting from their assumption that 'Ambrose Chappell' is a person, but finally track the kidnappers to a church named 'Ambrose Chapel', the kidnappers' base of operations where Mr. Drayton, posing as a minister, is leading a service.
While Jo calls police, Drayton ends the service early and Ben confronts him and is knocked out. The Draytons take Hank to a foreign embassy just before Jo arrives with the police at the seemingly deserted chapel. Jo learns Buchanan has gone to a concert at the Royal Albert Hall and goes there to get his help. There she sees the man who mistakenly came to her door in Morocco. When he threatens her son if she interferes, she realizes he is the assassin sent to kill the foreign Prime Minister (Alexis Bobrinskoy) now also at the concert hall.
Ben escapes the locked chapel and tracks Jo to the hall, where she points out the assassin to him. Ben frantically searches the balcony boxes for the killer, who is waiting for a cymbal crash to mask the gunshot. But when Jo sees the barrel of the assassin's gun appear from behind a curtain, she screams just as the cymbals crash, causing him to miss his mark and merely wound his target. Ben finds and struggles with the assassin, who falls to his death from the balcony. The grateful Prime Minister invites the McKennas to meet with him at his London embassy.
The McKennas learn that the Draytons have taken refuge in the Prime Minister's embassy, where Hank is being held, and where the ambassador has led the plot to kill his own Prime Minister. Hatching a plan to find their son, Ben and Jo arrive at the residence and are welcomed as heroes for having saved the Prime Minister's life.
Jo is asked to sing and she does so very loudly. The song? One her son Hank knows very well...so do we: Que Sera, Sera. the plan is that he will hear his mother's voice and hopefully respond to it. Mrs. Drayton, who is guarding Hank but is unwilling to harm him, tells him to whistle along with the song, which draws Ben to the room where he is being held. Mr. Drayton catches them and tries to escape with the two as hostages, but is struck by Ben and falls down the stairs and is killed when his gun fires accidentally.
The McKennas return to their now-sleeping friends in their hotel room, where Ben says, "I'm sorry we were gone so long, but we had to go over and pick up Hank."
Co-starred with Louis Jordan, Doris spends the film running from a deranged husband (Jordan) trying to kill her. The title song was nominated for an Oscar, beat out by Que Sera, Sera.
Living in Carmel, California, Julie (Doris) and Lyle Benton (Louis Jordan), a flight attendant and a concert pianist respectively, are having problems in their marriage because of Lyle's extreme jealousy. A recent incident of his jealousy resulted in a violent outrage followed by what to her seemed like a heartfelt apology and pleading to her to help him get over this jealous feeling.
This marriage is Julie's second, her first ending when Julie's then husband, Bob, committed suicide. When Bob's cousin, Cliff Henderson, suspects that Bob didn't commit suicide, Julie thinks that Lyle may have murdered him instead. Upon questioning by Julie, Lyle does admit to killing Bob, all in the name of his love for her. With only Cliff to help her, Julie, knowing that Lyle will kill her as well if she ever tries to leave him, has to come up with a plan to get away from Lyle for good.
When Julie is called in unexpectedly to work as stewardess on a flight, she might have gotten her opportunity to get away. But even if she can get away, she will have to convince others that Lyle is a murderer, with no direct evidence as such except her word against his.
The plot is further complicated in several ways. On the flight, she discovers her husband on board. When he realizes she is running into the flight compartment to evade him, he follows her in where he kills the pilot, wounds the co-pilot and then is killed himself, leaving Julie the only person to pilot the plane back to safety.
It is also notable as potentially the first film to feature the subplot of a stewardess piloting a plane to safety, later used in Airport 1975 (1975) and parodied in Airplane! (1980). It is further notable for being technically accurate. Much of the film is narrated by Doris as Julie.
1957 THE PAJAMA GAME
This was a film version of the popular Broadway Show and co-starred John Raitt and most of the original cast. Considered one of the best transfers of Broadway to film, the soundtrack album reached the Top Ten.
Employees of the Sleeptite Pajama Factory are looking for a whopping seven-and-a-half cent an hour increase and they won't take no for an answer. Babe Williams (Doris) is their feisty employee representative but she may have found her match in shop superintendent Sid Sorokin (John Raitt). When the two get together they wind up discussing a whole lot more than job actions!
Sid (John Raitt) has just been hired as superintendent of the Sleeptite Pajama Factory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He soon falls for Babe (Doris Day), a worker in the factory and member of the employee union's leadership. At the company picnic they become a couple, but Babe worries that their roles in management and labor will drive them apart. She is correct. The union is pushing for a raise of seven-and-one-half cents per hour to bring them in line with the industry standard, but the factory's manager is giving them a runaround. In retaliation, the workers pull a slow-down and deliberately foul up the pajamas, but when Babe actually sabotages some machinery, Sid fires her.
Meanwhile, Sid has been wondering what secrets the manager is hiding in his locked account book. To that end, he takes Gladys (Carol Haney), the boss' assistant, on a date to the local hot spot, "Hernando's Hideaway," despite her insanely jealous boyfriend 'Hine-sie' (Eddie Foy, Jr.). He gets Gladys drunk, and in this state, she lends him the key to the locked book. Returning to the factory, Sid discovers that the manager reported the raise as having been instituted months ago. He has been pocketing the difference himself. Sid threatens to send the book to the board of directors if the raise isn't paid immediately.
At the union meeting that evening, the manager agrees to the raise. When Babe realizes that it was Sid who engineered the raise and that he has only been attempting to avoid labor strife, she returns to him.
1958 TEACHER’S PET
This time Doris co-stars with Hollywood King, Clark Gable, in a great comedy which helped propel her to Queen of the Box Office Status. A very popular film, the title song was a top 40 hit.
James Gannon (Gable), the hard-boiled city editor of the New York Evening Chronicle , has little regard for higher education, having never attended high school himself. When Edna Kovac asks Jim to fire her son Barney, a copy boy at the newspaper, so that he will return to school, the gruff editor refuses, arguing that Barney will receive an education in his newsroom that is superior to what is offered by any university. Later, Lloyd Crowley, the managing editor of the Evening Chronicle , calls Jim into his office, upset that he has rebuffed an invitation to speak before a night journalism course being taught by Erica Stone (Doris).
Learning that Col. J. L. Ballentine, the paper's publisher, is on the board of trustees of the university, Jim reluctantly goes to the school that night to apologize. Before he can tell Erica who he is, however, she reads aloud Jim's insulting letter to her class, in which he refers to such courses as "a waste of time." In rebuttal, Erica tells her class that Jim is one of the "unpressed gentlemen of the press," a relic of bygone era of journalism.
Days later, Jim is still fuming over the experience and taking it out on everyone in his newsroom. He then decides to return to Erica's class, and, in order to show up the instructor, enrolls in the class under the alias "Jim Gallagher." Much to his chagrin, Erica immediately recognizes Jim's writing skills and praises his work to the class. Attracted to the beautiful teacher, Jim decides to continue his ruse after Erica refuses to speak to him when he calls her using his real name. Later, Erica asks him to stay after class, but an amorous Jim is disappointed to learn that it is merely to give him more challenging assignments. Hating the type of "think piece" Erica wants him to write, Jim dispenses his "home work" onto Harold Miller, a college graduate working the night shift at the Evening Chronicle .
Meanwhile, Jim begins his own investigative reporting on Dr. Hugo Pine (Gig Young), a professor of psychology and prolific author who is dating Erica. Disheartened to learn that Hugo is both brilliant and handsome, Jim decides to give up his quest for Erica's affection, though he takes her breath away with a goodbye kiss. By chance, Jim and his date, Peggy Defore (Mamie Van Doren), later run into Erica and Hugo at the Bongo Club, a nightclub where Peggy sings and dances in a scanty costume. Despite Jim's various attempts to show-up the professor, Hugo bests him at every turn, even out-drinking the newspaperman. Offering to help the inebriated Jim get into a taxi, Hugo then makes the mistake of taking a deep breath of fresh air and passes out.
After putting Hugo to bed, Jim and Erica share a cab, and a kiss, on the way to her place. There, Jim learns that Erica is the daughter of the late Joel Barlow Stone, the Pulitzer-Prize winning editor and publisher of The Eureka Bulletin . Suddenly feeling more ashamed than romantic, Jim leaves the apartment without saying a word. The next morning, Jim confesses all to the hung over Hugo, who advises him to tell Erica the truth before she learns it from someone else. Arriving at the newspaper, Jim is called into Ballentine's office, where Erica is waiting to meet with "James Gannon," in hopes she can convince the city editor to hire her student, "Jim Gallagher." Once she learns who he really is, she chastises him not for the emotional problems he has given her, but for the time she took away from her real students to work with him.
Later, Jim fires Barney, telling him that he does not want to condemn the young lad to a life like his, always excusing himself from rooms when the conversation enters a topic other than newspapers. Back at Hugo's apartment, the professor assures Jim that he is a highly educated man, having acquired his knowledge through experience, not formal education, and even grants the newspaperman an ad hoc degree in liberal arts. Erica then arrives and Hugo convinces her that Jim is a shattered man. Instead, Jim, who does not realize Erica is there, enters the room reborn, telling Hugo he now knows he is a good journalist after reading some copies of The Bulletin , as it is "one of the lousiest papers" he has ever read.
Seeing Erica, Jim apologizes, but tells her that he was simply being honest and challenges her to test her father's paper against the standards of modern journalism. That night, Erica edits her cherished father's work and realizes that Jim is right. The next morning, Jim is once again called into Ballentine's office, where Erica is waiting with the suggestion that she and the city editor co-teach her class. In turn, Ballentine tells Erica that Jim himself had just suggested that the paper do more "think pieces."
As the reunited couple heads off to lunch, Jim is thanked by Edna for helping Barney. In turn, he insists that her son report back to work the Monday after his graduation. While the newsroom watches in amazement as Jim and Erica go off together, someone questions what the two might have in common. Roy, Jim's assistant, responds: "If I know Jim, he'll find something."
1958 THE TUNNEL OF LOVE
After a hugely successful comedy with Gable, this one (co-starring Richard Widmark) did not match the popularity. Again, lack of screen chemistry between the co-stars was probably the reason. The title song did make it into the hits of the year.
Isolde and Augie Poole (Doris and Richard Widmark) have been trying to have a baby, their efforts so far without success. Isolde is a little uptight because of this lack of success, Augie a little uptight because that's his general nature. They aspire to the life of their best friends and next door neighbors, Alice and Dick Pepper (Gig Young and Elizabeth Frazer), who have three children already with another on the way.
But the one thing Augie doesn't aspire to is Dick's womanizing ways, despite Dick telling Augie that playing the field may make him less uptight, which Dick sees as one of the reasons why the Poole's haven't yet conceived. While the Pooles keep trying, they decide to apply to an adoption agency, Rock-a-bye, with the Peppers as their primary reference. When Estelle Novick (Gia Scala), Rock-a-bye's case investigator, comes for her first visit, Augie and Dick, initially unaware of who she is, make a worse than bad impression (Dick hits on her) , and she turns down the Poole's application right then and there.
Miss Novick does come back, deciding to give the Pooles a second chance. On Dick's advice, Augie decides to let loose with Miss Novick. The next afternoon, Augie awakens in a motel room unaware of what happened in the preceding 18 hours; he is under the impression that he and Miss Novick had a tryst. Three months later without having heard from Miss Novick or Rock-a-bye, Miss Novick does come by for her last visit as she is taking an extended leave from her job. Augie is under the impression that she is pregnant and is going away to have his baby, which she is going to give to the Pooles.
Nine months after Augie and Miss Novick's supposed tryst( during which time Augie has been more wound up than ever), Rock-a-bye calls the Pooles with news of a baby. Although Augie is nervous, he is also all consumed with the idea of adopting his biological child. The baby does bear a striking resemblance to Augie, a fact not lost on Isolde, who ultimately confronts Augie with her suspicions. Only Miss Novick can truly explain the situation.
Weeks afterward, as the physical similarity grows, Isolde becomes more suspicious. When Isolde has Augie's baby picture blown up and Alice mistakes it for the baby, Isolde furiously accuses Augie of infidelity and declares she is leaving him. As Isolde is packing, Miss MacCracken returns to make an inspection of the couples' first month with the baby. Realizing that the couple is breaking up, she declares she must make a report to the agency, but Augie pleads for a week and Miss MacCracken agrees. Desperate to stop Isolde from leaving, Augie then confesses the incident with Estelle. Just then, however, Estelle arrives to congratulate the Pooles and repay Augie the loan. She explains the money made it possible for her husband to continue his research in Australia while she had her baby girl.
With her husband's success at publishing a book on his work, she and the baby will join him in Australia. After showing the Pooles a picture of her baby girl and admiring how well the agency did placing the Pooles with their baby, Estelle departs. Isolde apologizes to Augie for her suspicions, then admits to feeling unusual. The Pooles then realize that Isolde is pregnant and retire to the house to celebrate.
1959 IT HAPPENED TO JANE
This film is still a puzzlement. Doris had great co-stars (Jack Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs), the chemistry was obvious, the story was good. It should have been a box office smash. It wasn’t. Maybe it needed the infusion of some songs better than “Be Prepared” (The Boy Scout Song) and the weak title tune.
In May 1959, in the town of Cape Anne, Maine, a foul-up by the Eastern & Portland Railroad (E&P) results in the death of 300 lobsters shipped by Jane Osgood (Day). She gets her lawyer and friend, George Denham (Lemmon), to go after the E&P to pay damages after her customer, the Marshall Town Country Club, refuses all future orders.
In the E&P office in New York City, Harry Foster Malone (Kovacs) learns about the Osgood lawsuit. Due to the budget cuts Malone instated, there was no station agent at Marshall Town to receive the lobsters. Malone sends employees Crawford Sloan (Walter Greaza) and Wilbur Peterson (Philip Coolidge) to Cape Anne to deal with the situation. The two attorneys offer $700, but Jane turns it down because the loss to her business reputation is more than that.
Jane wins in court, but E&P appeals the case to the state Supreme Court in Augusta, Maine. George files a writ of execution to force payment and take possession of the train, Old 97, in lieu of payment.
Jane is interviewed by local newspaper reporter Matilda Runyon, who then calls the Daily Mirror in New York. Top reporter Larry Hall (Steve Forrest) is sent to Cape Anne for the story. Television stations also want to interview Jane. Malone retaliates by charging Jane rent for the siding on which the train is sitting.
Jane appears on ABC, NBC, and CBS. Fearful of bad publicity, Malone finally gives in and cancels the rent, but gives Jane the train. Meanwhile, George becomes increasingly jealous when he sees Larry is attracted to Jane so he proposes marriage to her.
Back in Cape Anne, during a town meeting, Jane learns that Malone has ordered all his trains to bypass the town and has given Jane 48 hours to remove Old 97. Jane runs away and George scolds the townspeople for turning against her.
Realizing that Old 97 is just the way to deliver the lobsters, Jane and George persuade everybody to fill up the train's tender with coal from their homes. George recruits his uncle Otis, a retired E&P engineer, to engineer the train.
Old 97 sets off with Jane, her children, George, and the lobsters on board. Malone does everything possible to delay them. Jane becomes upset at the roundabout route Malone is forcing them to take. Eventually, the coal runs out, stopping Old 97 and blocking traffic.
Just then, Malone arrives by helicopter. Jane scolds him for his underhanded actions. Malone finally agrees to Jane's demands. Jane and George tell him to come along so he cannot cause any more trouble. He finally shows his good side by helping shovel coal. Larry and a photographer are in Marshall Town when the train arrives. George kisses Jane in front of Larry and she agrees to marry George.
After the wedding, as George is being sworn in as the new first selectman, a badly needed fire engine pulls into town, a present from Malone.
1959 PILLOW TALK
This one took Doris right to the top and kept her there. Co-Starring Rock Hudson and Tony Randall, everything worked, and Doris got her first Oscar nomination. A smart comedy even by today’s standards, the only thing missing was some better songs. The title tune was popular.
The fabulously successful Pillow Talk was essentially the model for romantic comedies of the late 50's and early 60's, and Day and Hudson became the most popular romantic duo on the big screen. Today, they are still recognized that way.
The story involves Playboy composer Brad Allen ( Rock Hudson) and interior-decorator Jan Morrow ( Doris Day) who are obliged to share a telephone party line. Naturally, their calls overlap at the least opportune times, and just as naturally, this leads to Hudson and Day despising each other without ever having met in person.
In a cute but convenient coincidence, Doris' boy friend is Jonathan Forbes (Tony Randall), who also happens to be Hudson's best pal. Once Hudson gets a glimpse of Day, it's lust/love at first sight. To avoid revealing that he's her telephone rival, Hudson poses as Rex, a wealthy Texan who turns the charm on Day. It works until she agrees to go away with him for a long weekend. While Rock is out getting firewood, Doris straightens his coat, and out drops a song sheet. As she plays the notes on a piano, she instantly recognizes the tune that she has heard hundreds of times crooned over the phone by Brad to his stable of girlfriends. When he returns, she confronts him, he apologizes, telling her he has fallen in love with her, she starts packing...wants nothing more to do with him. At that convenient moment, Jonathan (Tony) shows up just in time to take Doris as far away from Hudson as possible.
Problem: both have fallen in love. Rock wants her back; she hates him and will not see him. In a funny scene between Rock and Doris' maid (played by Thelma Ritter), she tells him the way to get her back: "she's a decorator. You have an apartment to be decorated." Doris accepts the job only if given carte blanche.
She gets even by decorating Hudson's apartment in an unbelievably hideous manner. But Hudson loves her all the same; he "kidnaps" her, carrying her through the streets in her nightgown in full view of everyone, including a laughing cop who refuses to intervene. When they arrive at the newly-decorated apartment, he tells her she can have it...that he was planning to propose to her once she had finished. As can be guessed, they make amends and end up together.
PillowTalk is still one of the best of the frothy Doris Day-Rock Hudson vehicles; it made a fortune at the box office and garnered five Oscar nominations, and was one of the Big Ten Films for 1959. It took both Rock and Doris to the top of all the movie star polls of that year, and they became the screen romantic couple of the 50's.
1960 PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISIES
This film was based on Jean Kerr’s popular best selling book and co-starred David Niven as a drama critic. The movie was actually fun. The popular song culled from it was called “Any Way The Wind Blows”.
Based on the popular book by Jean Kerr, PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISY is probably the best of Doris Day's 1960's comedies--and it finds her surprisingly paired with David Niven. While the two may seem an unlikely couple, they have extremely good on-screen chemistry, and the film neatly balances its story between the two stars so that neither overshadows the other.
Day plays Kate MacKay, mother of four hellions and the long suffering wife of esoteric drama critic Larry MacKay (Niven.) With her husband under siege by every actor, director, and producer in town, Kate decides to move the family to a home in the country--and in the process leaves her husband open to the temptations of Broadway star Deborah Vaughn (Janis Paige.) Before too long, Larry's swelling ego threatens their happy home.
Perhaps the best scene in the movie is the confrontation between Day and Niven when Niven learns that a friend has tricked Day into using one of his old college scripts for a church production. When Niven realizes what is happening, he explodes and refuses to allow his play to be produced. Day lays into Niven for his insensitive and self-centered attitude--the result of his new-found celebrity as a New York drama critic. The exchange between them in the school auditorium truly showcases the polished side of Day's dramatic talent. "Please Don't Eat The Daisies" is charming in a way films wouldn't dare be today. The dialogue is unnaturally whipsmart Neil-Simonesque, even when it's Day talking to one of her sons about the family pet. ("All he does is eat and sleep." "He's a dog. What d'ya want from him, blank verse?"). Many eccentric, wonderful, lovable, characters appear in and out of the story making this a must see movie for old movie fans.
1960 MIDNIGHT LACE
Another thriller by Doris which some say deserved her another Oscar nomination. This time her co-star is Rex Harrison who plays a husband planning to kill her for her money. Because the story was so harrowing for Doris, she never again appeared in a thriller. No discernible music came from this film.
Kit (Doris Day), a wealthy American married to London businessman Tony Preston (Rex Harrison) becomes the terrified victim of a mysterious stalker, whom she hears but can never see. She is threatened by the eerie, high-pitched voice as she walks in the thick London fog. She then begins receiving repeated threatening telephone calls. The now totally panicked Kit is nearly killed when someone pushes her in front of a bus.
Unfortunately for Kit, no one but she hears the voice or the telephone calls and neither Tony, Kit's visiting aunt Bea (Myrna Loy) or the investigators at Scotland Yard take any of this seriously.
The only one who seems to believe Kit is Brian Younger (John Gavin), a construction foreman, but Kit is not convinced that she can trust him. The tension builds to a thrilling climax as Kit flees for her life on a scaffolding outside her apartment building. To say any more about the plot would detract from the whodunit or who is doing it kind of ending. Suffice it to say that Midnight Lace is an exciting thriller, with many surprising plot twists and a sinister performance by Rex Harrison.
It has been said that Day's astounding performance recalled for her too many of the sad elements in her personal life and in previous marriages. Because of that, she chose to stick with comedy throughout the rest of her career in films.
1961 LOVER COME BACK
The sequel to PILLOW TALK, with Rock Hudson and Tony Randall back again, for another great comedy. Once again, the title tune was a hit. Some say this story was better than TALK.
Jerry Webster and Carol Templeton are both in the advertising business, but for different agencies. Annoyed by Jerry's methods of using alcohol and women to ensure contracts for his agency, Carol tries to get him thrown out of his profession. To avoid this Jerry bribes the girl who'd testify against him, by starring her in a TV commercial for a product named VIP that he's just made up.
By accident these commercials are released prematurely. In order to keep his job, Jerry has to come up with a real product named VIP. He enlists the aid of scientist Dr. Linus Tyler who has a brilliant idea: a candy that can produce a cheap drunk. One individual piece would be equivalent to a triple drink. The more you drink, the worse you get.
Carol decides to try to win the VIP account and goes to see Dr. Tyler. When she arrives, Jerry is there, and she mistakes him for the scientist. Of course, he takes advantage of this in every way imaginable. When Carol discovers there is no VIP as yet and thus it was falsely advertised, she reports Jerry Webster to the ad council for a second time. When he arrives with a box of candy, everyone takes more than just one piece remarking at how refreshing it is. What happens to each person is one of the funniest things about the film. What happens to Jerry and Carol is a one night stand that includes a marriage certificate.
Although not as well known as Pillow Talk , this romantic-comedy earned an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.
1962 That Touch of Mink
That Touch of Mink is very similar to the Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedies of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The big difference is that Cary Grant is filling in for Rock Hudson, whom rumor said was not available. A few of the supporting players have been changed as well. Gig Young is in the sidekick role and Audrey Meadows is the wisecracking loyal friend. It was released in 1962 and is the only movie Day and Grant made together.
When people refer to Doris Day as "the world's oldest professional virgin," they generally have this film in mind. It isn't that Cathy Timberlake (Day) is above a bit of hanky-panky; it's just that she wants such tangibles as a marriage license and wedding ring first.
Thus, when playboy businessman Philip Shayne (Cary Grant) begins actively pursuing Cathy (they met when Philip's limo splashed mud on her), she won't say "I will" until he says "I do." She is of the idealistic opinion that she can bring out the best intentions in him, even when he repeatedly tips off his worst intentions by inviting her to accompany him to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Bermuda.
After many complications and misunderstandings, Cathy finally finagles a proposal from Philip. The film is essentially much ado about nothing, but it is so well-acted and attractively photographed that the audiences are willing to go along for the ride. The high-powered supporting cast includes Gig Young as Roger, Philip's moralistic financial advisor; Audrey Meadows as Connie, Cathy's wise-cracking roommate; Alan Hewitt as Dr. Gruber, a confused psychiatrist; John Astin as Beasley, Cathy's slimy would-be beau; Dick Sargent as a neurotic honeymooner; and an unbilled Richard Deacon as an all-around letch. An excellent screenplay, beautiful art direction and a stunning fashion show add to the film's charm. Ironically, this is one of the few films where Day does not sing at all, even over the credits.
1962 BILLY ROSE’S JUMBO
The last of the great MGM musicals, this was a story of a failing circus looking for backers. Co-starring Steven Boyd, Jimmy Durante and Martha Raye, the musical has some great songs and two of Doris’ best: “Little Girl Blue” and “My Romance”. The soundtrack was a popular seller. The movie itself was released at a time when musicals were no longer in favor and ended up being Doris' last musical film; she was so good in this one, it should have led to many more.
Ralph McKnight on IMDB gave this film such a great review that we reproduce it here:
"In 1962, Doris Day was the top box office star (male or female) in the world. "Billy Rose's Jumbo" opened in New York at Radio City Music Hall during a newspaper strike and a snow storm which made the film suffer at the box office. It is a wonderful film with great music, good acting and some exciting circus acts. Steven Boyd was the latest actor/wanna-be star to utilize Miss Day as a stepping stone to fame. He was handsome and a good choice to play opposite Doris Day.
The story is secondary to the rest of the film. Simply, Doris' father, Jimmy Durante, owner of the Wonder Circus, was in deep financial trouble and about to lose his business. Boyd played the son of the owner of a rival circus who wants to take over the Durante organization including the main attraction, Jumbo, the wonder elephant.
Doris Day had some wonderful moments. She showed her mettle as a comedienne in a scene where she takes over a crap game from her father to win back the money he has lost. Her singing of "My Romance" was very beautiful, and her rendition of "Little Girl Blue" was both dramatic and poignant.
This picture is often dismissed as being a flop, the only film which failed during Miss Day's run of box office bonanzas.That's unfair because the New York Critics' reviews were not available to inform the public. Their words set the tone for the success or failure of a film. That was especially true in 1962."
(Note: This film grossed almost 6 million dollars in 1962 dollars...certainly not chump change. However, it followed "Mink" which grossed almost 15 million dollars at the same time and preceded "Thrill" which grossed over 11 million...so it was not up to "Doris par".)
1963 THE THRILL OF IT ALL
Co-Starring James Garner, this flick was a great parody of the world of tv advertising. No music; by now, Hollywood producers have forgotten that Doris was first a singer and then an actress. Following is a review written by Dan Pavlides, Rovi.
"This amusing romantic comedy concerns Dr. Gerald Boyer (James Garner), a very successful gynecologist with a wife and two children. Wife Beverly (Doris Day) focuses on maintaining the household and watching the kids.
One of Gerald's patients, Mrs. Fraleigh (Arlene Francis), overhears Beverly talking up a new product she's discovered called 'Happy Soap' - whose manufacturer just happens to be Mrs. Fraleigh's father-in-law, Old Tom Fraleigh (Reginald Owen). She introduces Beverly to him; the old man offers her $80,000 a year to pitch "Happy Soap."
Beverly's career takes her away from her family responsibilities and causes a series of comedic commotions for Gerald and the kids. He comes home from work one morning and accidentally drives his convertible into a freshly dug swimming pool ordered by Beverly without his knowledge. The furious physician throws a bevy of boxes of Happy Soap into the pool, causing the house to be engulfed in suds by morning (which the kids mistake for snow). The family maid Olivia (Zasu Pitts) is nearly driven crazy with the events and has many harried scenes of comedic frustration.
Directed by Norman Jewison, this thoroughly engaging comedy was written by Larry Gelbart and Carl Reiner. Reiner provides the screenplay for the feature which turned out to be the last film appearance of Zasu Pitts. Her passing marked the end of a long and successful career as a comedic and well respected actress that began in 1917. "
1963 MOVE OVER, DARLING
Another film co-starring James Garner (and Polly Bergen), this one was originally planned for Marilyn Monroe (as “Something’s Gotta Give”). It was re-tooled for Doris and became another of the great comedies of the late 50’s and early 60’s. The title tune co-written by Terry Melcher became one of Doris’ most controversial recordings and her last single hit.
A man makes the highly unexpected discovery that he has two wives in this romantic comedy. Widower Nick Arden (James Garner) has just set off on his honeymoon with his new wife Bianca (Polly Bergen) when his mother Grace (Thelma Ritter) receives a very unexpected guest -- Nick's late wife Ellen (Doris Day).
While Ellen was proclaimed legally dead five years after her plane disappeared in a flight over the Pacific Ocean, in truth her flight crash-landed on a desert island where she was stranded with Stephen Burkett (Chuck Connors) and only now has managed to return to civilization. When Grace informs Ellen that Nick has just left town with his new wife, Ellen heads out to the resort where the newlyweds are staying, and comic confusion ensues.
Day is as charming as ever and she and Arden fizzle as they fluctuate between enraptured lovers and warring children, while there are also some great turns from the supporting cast. It’s good old-fashioned ’60s farce at its best.
1964 SEND ME NO FLOWERS
Tony and Rock, back again, for the last time. Not as popular as the other two films with this trio, it was still a big hit, and the title tune was a minor hit, as well.
Light and laugh-filled, Send Me No Flowers is typical Rock Hudson and Doris Day fare. George (Hudson) is a hypochondriac married to Judy (Day) in this marital comedy. When George goes to visit the doctor, he overhears two doctors talking about a diagnosis of a terminally ill patient. George believes they are talking about him and that he is doomed to die.
He recruits his friend Arnold (Tony Randall) to find a new husband for Judy. Judy thinks George is covering up for an illicit affair and throws him out of the house. George locates Judy's old college flame Bert (Clint Walker), now a Texas oil millionaire.
Excellent performances by Edward Andrews as Dr. Morrissey and Paul Lynde as the aggressive cemetery-plot salesman help this feature along. Although not as solid as the Day/Hudson pairing in Pillow Talk or Lover Come Back, Send Me No Flowers is still a good romantic comedy.
1965 Do Not Disturb
This is the first of two films (supposedly set in London) which costar Doris with Rod Taylor (the follow-up, "Glass Bottom Boat", is a much better film to showcase this new romantic team).
Janet and Mike Harper (Doris and Rod Taylor) rent a house in the English countryside from Vanessa Courtwright after Mike, an American wool company executive, moves his office to London to stimulate foreign trade. Mike spends his time in downtown London keeping company with his assistant, Claire Hackett, and attending parties thrown by his boss, Mr. Langsdorf, parties to which wives were not invited. Meanwhile, neglected Janet is at home , with a bevy of animals and interior decorators.
Paul Bellari (Sergio Fantoni), a handsome antique dealer encourages her to fly to Paris with her to inspect an antique table she wants to purchase as a surprise for her husband.
While there, they visit a bistro where Janet becomes a one woman show and then passes out from drinking too much wine. Paul takes her back to his office, and they accidentally get locked in for the night. Mike hears of the trip and takes the next flight to Paris. When he finds them in the office, he fights with Paul and demands a divorce from Janet. Janet agrees, but several days later she overhears Claire Hackett discussing how much Mike loves his wife. So, she plans to surprise him at one of his boss' parties, and she shows up in a gold, form-fitting lame' dress. (She's gorgeous, and every male is after her, especially the boss!)
After some misunderstandings and plot complications, Mike and Janet reunite and all ends happily. On his behalf, Taylor does not have enough screen time in this film to really show how much screen chemistry there is between the two stars. He makes up for that in the next film to come.
1966 THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT
A spoof on spy films, this one has some great slapstick routines and a great cast including: Rod Taylor, Arthur Godfrey, Dom DeLuise and Paul Lynde. It is one of Doris most popular films from the mid 60’s.
Jennifer Nelson (Doris), a young widow working in the public relations office of a space laboratory, meets her new boss Bruce Templeton (Rod Taylor) when he accidentally catches his fishing line on a mermaid outfit she is wearing while entertaining tourists on her father's glass-bottom boat. Templeton, delighted to discover that the woman he "fished out" of Catalina Bay is working at his plant, assigns her to write a definitive biography of him while he is test-piloting a new rocket.
Jenny's habit of "exercising" her dog Vladimir by telephoning him at home (he runs around the house whenever the phone rings), arouses the suspicions of CIA men. When she overhears Templeton discussing the possibility that she is a foreign spy, she makes misleading phone calls at a party at Templeton's home. Unknown to her, a secret formula has been planted in her purse, and the real espionage agent pays her a visit when she arrives home. Jenny bolts out of a window and a mad chase follows. The real culprits are apprehended, and Jenny ends up in her boss's arms.
This fast and wild James Bond spoof is not the usual Doris Day bedroom comedy of the 60s. It's different in that it has a bevy of talented comic actors in supporting roles, who all have their moments to shine. One might think of Lucille Ball in this part, but Doris certainly held her own.
Paul Lynde in drag is sublime. He looks spectacular in a red bouffant wig and aquamarine satin gown, and is even more glamorous than Doris. They have a "powder room" scene that is hilarious slapstick.
Alice Pearce recreates her Gladys Kravitz-type character from Bewitched" and is wonderful as usual. It's her last movie role, unfortunately, as she died too young.
A young Dom DeLuise has a funny scene that he does in pantomime, as well as the scene with Doris (ala slapstick) when both have their feet trapped together in a bucket. Dick Martin shows up with some good reaction takes, and the great character actor Edward Andrews is also in fine blustering form.
For those of us who grew up with or watched the early years of TV, this movie holds something special in the appearances of Arthur Godfrey and Dick Martin, neither of whom appeared in any other film of any major consequence. Godfrey is excellent as Doris' father, and their duet on the title song is fun to watch, as is the short but funny rendering of "Que Sera, Sera". Martin's scenes are priceless. The extensive comedic cast, including the two early TV icons of entertainment, makes this a special film notewrothy for its historical value as well.
In this comedy-thriller, Doris is an industrial designer who gets herself into a whole heap of trouble when she sells a secret cosmetics formula to a rival company in Paris. Costars include Richard Harris and Ray Walston. There was a title song, which became one of Doris’ last single releases.
Pat Fowler (Doris) , an industrial spy employed by Sir Jason Fox(Edward Mulhare) of Femina Cosmetics, is arrested in Paris for attempting to sell the formula for a new deodorant to a rival firm owned by Matt Cutter(Jack Kruschen).
The arrest is actually a ruse concocted by Sir Jason to trick Cutter into hiring Pat. The scheme works, and Pat sets out to steal the secret formula for a spray that prevents hair from getting wet even when under water. The spray is the invention of the eccentric Dr. Stuart Clancy(Ray Walston), Cutter's top cosmetician.
Also involved in the espionage is Christopher White(Richard Harris), a double agent who lures Pat to his apartment, drugs her, and tape records all she knows about Sir Jason's enterprises. He also learns that Pat's father, an Interpol agent, was shot to death on a Swiss ski slope while on the trail of a narcotics ring. Upon discovering that all of Clancy's preparations are actually formulated in Switzerland by his mother-in-law, Madame Piasco (Lilia Skala), Pat flies there and steals a vial of the hair spray from the woman's cosmetics shop.
Afterwards, she goes skiing on the slope where her father was killed and is saved from a similar fate by Christopher, who comes to her rescue in a helicopter. Now certain that Clancy is her father's murderer, Pat confides in Christopher and learns that he is her father's Interpol replacement.
After uncovering evidence which proves that Sir Jason and Clancy are concealing narcotics in a brand of face powder which the innocent Cutter retails, Pat is trapped by a menacing scrubwoman--Clancy in disguise. Clancy meets his own death when he tries to kill Pat. But Pat is again trapped, this time by Sir Jason, who forces her into a waiting helicopter.
When it takes off, Christopher fires a shot and kills Sir Jason. His body falls from the open helicopter, and the terrified Pat is left alone in the cockpit. Miraculously she manages to fly to Paris and makes a 2-point landing on top of the Eiffel Tower. Scrambling out of the plane, she races into the arms of the waiting Christopher. (The second time Doris has to make a dramatic plane landing at the end of a movie...Julie was the first.)
"Caprice" was released by 20th Century Fox in the late spring of 1967. Spy films were at their peak. James Bond, Matt Helm, Flint and an assortment of other characters were running rampant on the big screen while "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and "Secret Agent" were television staples. Some say this was not Doris' best film, but as a spy spoof it holds up as well as any of the others, including the later Bond films. (She could have used Sean Connery as her lead!)
1967 THE BALLAD OF JOSIE
Doris plays a young woman who stirs things up in a western town by raising sheep instead of cattle, and organizing the local women to demonstrate for women's suffrage against ranchers Peter Graves and George Kennedy. A minor hit for Doris. When we read the review from Daisy74 on IMDB, we decided that she tells it like it is. So thanks to Miss Daisy, here ya go:
"What's not to love about this film? If you can reserve judgment until the end, you'll discover the humorous and heartwarming tale of a woman who is not afraid to stand her ground! Doris Day as Josie, opposite Peter Graves' Jason, is a tremendous force to be reckoned with. In true Doris-style she takes on "the men" of Wyoming, bucking convention (in a great pair of Levi's) and daring them to deny her her basic human rights. OK, so it only takes 2 glasses of brandy to knock Josie off her feet, but she comes right back swinging all the harder! And when the dust clears, she's there, triumphant to the end. Not only does she beat back an oppressive cattle baron, she also manages to fend for herself and her son, run a sheep-raising operation, endear herself to the women of Wyoming, and win the love and admiration of a pretty swell guy, in my opinion. So who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
1968 WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT
When the Great Northeast Blackout of 1965 hit, millions of people were left in the dark, including Waldo Zane played by Robert Morse, a New York executive in the process of stealing a fortune from his company, and two people whose paths he's destined to cross, Broadway actress Margaret Garrison and her husband, Peter, played by Doris and Patrick O’Neal. Doris considers this her worst film.
Here, Moonspinner 55 from California reviews this film (on IMDB), and we agree with his comments:
"Doris Day never lets a bad script get her down. Even in the most trying of strange circumstances, Day gives 100% and usually comes out unscathed. This comedy, perhaps inspired by a real-life New York City black-out in 1965 but actually adapted from a late-'50s French play by Claude Magnier, gives Doris little to do but spoof her own goody-goody image and, in the second-half, be comically sedated (which is amusing because of the spin Day gives to the situation). There are some funny lines here, yet the staginess of the material has obviously been carried over from the play...and instead of conjuring up some amusing incidents within the Big Apple, we get stuck in the suburbs. Doris' co-stars (Patrick O'Neal, Robert Morse, and Terry-Thomas) are not well-suited to her, and neither is the shapeless hairdo they've got her wearing. Still, it's not terrible, it features a few big laughs, and for Day-buffs it's a must-see."
1968 WITH SIX YOU GET EGGROLL
Doris plays Abby McClure, a widow with three sons, and Brian Keith plays Jake Iverson, a widower with a teen-age daughter. They start dating and decide to get married, but they are not prepared for the hostile reactions from their children. Instead of her last film, this should have been the beginning of a whole new career for Doris.
Widower Jake Iverson (Brian Keith) is invited to a dinner party given by widow Abby McClure (Doris). Tiring of the matchmaking of Maxine and Harry Scott (Pat Carroll and Herbert Voland), Abby's in-laws, Iverson leaves the party, but later encounters his hostess in an all-night store. Embarrassed by the widow's apology for her relatives' behavior, Iverson arranges to see Abby again.
Although the widow and widower eventually fall in love and marry, Abby's sons, Flip, Mitch, and Jason, fight continuously with Iverson's possessive daughter Stacey. Even the family dogs are incompatible. For privacy the newlyweds borrow a camper, which they use as a bedroom.
During a bedtime argument Abby drives off in the vehicle. Her husband falls from the camper, clad only in briefs and clutching a teddy bear. Abby, discovering her loss, speeds toward the site of Iverson's disappearance, escorted by a band of hippies. When the camper collides with a chicken truck, Abby and entourage are arrested.
Hearing of the accident, Iverson and the children rush to her rescue, en route colliding with the same chicken truck. The irate driver menaces Iverson, and the children and pets unite in his defense. At the station house parents and children are joyfully reconciled.
One of our favorite film reviewers is Paul Brogan, who helms one of the forums on our website. Below is his take on what amounted to Doris Day's last movie:
"With Six You get Eggroll" bowed in the nation's theatres in August of 1968. It quickly became a popular success at the box-office thanks, in large part, to the enduring popularity of the film's star, Doris Day. Although some critics compared it, unfairly, to another comedy success, "Yours Mine, and Ours", "Eggroll" can more than stand on its own merits.
The story about a widow with three children who falls in love with a widower with one daughter, is not new or original. However, thanks to a charming script, smooth direction by Howard Morris and the cast headed by Day and Brian Keith, who have a great onscreen chemistry, it's a delight. By the film's conclusion, audiences have shed a few tears and had more than a few laughs.
Doris Day plays the 40ish widow with charm, sex appeal, and a great deal of warmth. She is completely convincing and it's in her small touches that she especially proves her mettle as one of the most natural screen actresses ever. Keith is manly and real, and the supporting cast which includes Pat Carroll, Alice Ghostley, George Carlin, Barbara Hershey, Jamie Farr, and the popular rock group, The Grass Roots, lend credible support.
While the film, the first production of the CBS film wing, may betray its television roots, seeming at times like a pilot for a sitcom, it is ultimately a fine working of a winning formula. This was Day's cinema swan song, after two decades of enormous popularity, and it's a film that none of the participants need feel anything but pride in. "
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