Sunday, July 31, 2005

Que Sera, Sera

I would have a hard time deciding who my favorite movie star is, but there are several for whom I have a definite weakness. One of these is Doris Day. I happened across one of her romantic comedies on TCM this morning, one I had seen many, many times, and enjoyed it thoroughly none the less. There is something relaxing in watching a Doris Day film. It's all fluff and romance and you know exactly how it is going to end and you can enjoy the ride all the way. I already have my favorite two Doris movies on DVD and I think I'm going to start looking for more. What a fine way to chill out during a stressful month. I chilled out so much this morning that I decided I deserved an entire weekend off for a change and did not one lick of work for the rest of the day. Here, in no particular order, are movies that I will stop and watch for the umpteenth time and feel good afterwards.

Pillow Talk - the best of the lot. Doris and Rock were an unbeatable combination. Slick and sophisticated comedy for its time.
Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers. The other two Doris Day/Rock Hudson partnerships. I never really like Rock Hudson in anything else, but in his three movies with Doris Day, he was fabulous.
The Glass Bottom Boat. A spy spoof, co-starring Rod Taylor, Dick Martin, Paul Lynde, Dom DeLuise, Arthur Godfrey, and many more comedy actors. Lots of fun, if a totally ridiculous plot.
On Moonlight Bay and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. These are early Doris movies, co-starring Gordon McRae and based on stories by Booth Tarkington (of Penrod fame). These period pieces, set at the turn of the century, are a delight.
The Thrill of if All and Move Over, Darling. These two movies teamed Doris with James Garner. I love James Garner in anything and he is almost as good a teammate for Doris as Rock was. He does frustrated husband really well.
The Ballad of Josie. A western where Doris accidentally kills her abusive husband with a pool cue and then takes on the entire male population when she decides to raise sheep in the midst of cattle ranches. This movie never got much attention, but I enjoy it and I wish it would be released on DVD.
Calamity Jane. Doris at her scruffiest, playing the quintessential tomboy. Also the source of the song "Secret Love".
That Touch of Mink. I never quite bought the combination of Cary Grant and Doris, but it's fun anyway.
Teacher's Pet. Another odd combination, pairing Doris with Clark Gable. Gable is always nice to watch, but the 23 year difference in their ages made the romance a little hard to believe.

And, even though Doris was the queen of light comedy, she could turn in a stellar dramatic performance from time to time. In fact, many of her early films were dramas. I don't make it a point to catch her dramas, but I can say the following two are worth a watch.

The Man Who Knew Too Much. Hitchcock, James Stewart, and Doris Day. And she sings "Que Sera, Sera" for the first time in a film (it won the Oscar for best song that year). Enough said. Give it a watch.
Midnight Lace. A story akin to Gaslight. Is she crazy or is someone trying to kill her?

Hard to believe that Doris made her last movie in 1968. But then, again, the times were changing and people were losing their taste for fluffy romances. I'm sure she could have reinvented herself and maintained her popularity, but I admire her for refocusing her energies on behalf of animal rights. She turned 81 this year, but I'll always remember her as that trim little blonde who drove Rock Hudson crazy. The perpetual sweet, young thing.

After Doris Day, I guess the actor most likely to get me to sit through the 100th showing of a movie would be Audrey Hepburn. That's another list for another time.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love 'em all but "Send Me No Flowers" really hits my funny bone. Tony Randall spends the whole movie drunk. And nobody could say "Ooooh!" like Doris.