Home » 1960s Films » 1960’s Comedy Films of Doris Day

1960’s Comedy Films of Doris Day

 This article is a brief look at the 1960s comedy films of Doris Day who finished out the decade of the 50s with her Oscar nominated role in the 1959 film, Pillow Talk, co starring Rock Hudson.This  film was a nice lead-in to the “bedroom” comedies of the 60’s that become some of her most popular and memorable films. These comedies were romantic in nature and seemed to be a little more adult compared to her roles in the past. She was paired with some of Hollywood’s most attractive actors like Rock Hudson, Rod Taylor, James Garner, and Cary Grant and most of them had her as a long suffering wife with husband and marital problems or as an independent single woman working hard to keep her sense of “self respect”. It was these kinds of roles that earned her the moniker of “the world’s oldest virgin” and movie audiences began to shy away from her films as their real life views about sex, love and marriage were changing.

Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1960)

Cast: Doris Day, David Niven, Patsy Kelly, Janis Paige, Richard Haydon, Jack Weston

Directed: Charles Walters

Produced: Joe Pasternak

Basic Plot: David Niven is college professor Lawrence Mackay and Doris is his wife Kate. When the couple decide to move to the country, they buy an old run down house and Kate takes to fixing it up. Meanwhile, Larry, has given up his work at the college to become an entertainment critic. Things are going fine with his new job until he is given the task of reviewing a good friend’s play, which turns out to be horrible. The leading actress, Deborah Vaughn (Janis Paige) decides to take revenge and gets great publicity when she is photographed slapping Larry’s face at a fancy restaurant. This gains Larry a following and soon he and Kate are the toast of the town getting invited to all the fancy parties and events which begins to change Larry’s personality much to Kate’s chagrin. She decides to spend her time living in the country fixing up the house while, Larry decides to spend more time living in the city, enjoying all of the perks his new fame brings, including the attention of sexy actress Deborah Vaughn. Will Larry come back to his senses?

Trivia:

  • Based on the book of the same name by Jean Kerr,who admitted to doing some of her writing in the family car which she parked several blocks from her home that was filled with kids, pets and other kinds of “chaos”.
  • In an argument with her husband, Kate makes the silly remark that she had a “rendezvous with Rock Hudson”, which was a alluding to the fact that Day’s previous film, Pillow Talk had co starred Rock Hudson.
  • The book inspired a sitcom that ran on NBC from 1965-67 starring Mark Miller and Patricia Crowley.

Lover Come Back (1961)

 

Film’s Tag Line: A riotous new twist in the art of gentle persuasion!

Cast: Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall, Edie Adams, Ann B. Davis, Joe Flynn, Jack Albertson, Donna Douglas

Directed: Delbert Mann

Produced: Robert Arthur, Martin Melcher, Stanley Shapiro

Basic Plot: In this comedy Day and Hudson play competing Madison Avenue advertising agents who have never met in person, but have an intense dislike for each other just the same. Carol Templeton (Day) is hard working and very professional woman and Jerry Webster (Hudson) is unscrupulous and would do just about anything to win and keep a client and isn’t above wining and dining them and even setting them up on dates. Carol reports him to the Ad Counsel and Jerry is able to charm them as well, especially when he brings in sexy Rebel Davis (Edie Adams) to seduce them. To buy Rebel’s silence, Jerry comes up with a fake product for her to hawk, problem is when her commercials get released as the real thing, Jerry has to come up with the product and then has to impersonate the chemist who invented the product and guess who decides to try to win him as a client for her ad agency, that’s right, Carol!

Trivia

  • Not as well known as their venture together in Pillow Talk from 1959, Rock Hudson and Doris are at it again.
  • Though not a musical, there are two Day songs, the title track, Pillow Talk and Possess Me (sometimes called Should I Surrender). Rock and Doris sing Roly Poly.
  • Tony Randall was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor.

That Touch of Mink (1962)

Film’s Tag Line: Two of Hollywood’s most beloved stars, Cary Grant and Doris Day, sparkle in a breezy, stylish comedy that’s rich with romantic delights.

Cast: Doris Day, Cary Grant, Gig Young, John Astin, Dick Sargent, Audrey Meadows

Directed: Delbert Mann

Produced: Robert Arthur, Martin Melcher, Stanley Shapiro

Basic Plot: The duo play Cathy Timberlake and Philip Shayne. Shayne is a wealthy man who meets Cathy when his car splashes her with mud while she is walking to a job interview. Philip is attracted to Cathy and being a rich sophisticated man, has no real desire to engage in a real relationship or get married. He enjoys his freedom and simply wants to have an affair. He invites Cathy to a trip to Bermuda for some fun in the sun, which she initially rejects, but then she decides that she will go. But, when together with Philip, she finds the idea of being intimate with him to be so scary she breaks out into a rash.

Trivia:

  • This was Cary Grant’s 69th film and his only one with Doris and it gave him a boost to his career as it was a box office hit. It also solidified Doris as a top box office earner. Clearly, she was the more popular star of this film.
  • The film won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Film of 1963.
  • Doris allowed Grant’s name to precede hers in the credits out of respect for his long and distinguished career.
  • Cary Grant hated the finished film.
  • Rock Hudson was to get the role of Philip, but director Delbert Mann wanted Grant, instead.
  • By this time, viewers and critics alike were getting tired of Day’s perpetual virgin roles. The idea of Day, at her age in this film, still being a virgin was laughable to some.

Billy Rose’s Jumbo (1962)

Film’s Tag Line: Jump for Joy! It’s Jumbo!

 Cast: Doris Day, Stephen Boyd, Jimmy Durante, Dean Jagger, Martha Raye

Directed: Charles Walters

Produced:Joe Pasternak, Martin Melcher

Basic Plot: It’s 1910 and The Wonder Circus comes to town and its main attraction is Jumbo the elephant. Run by Pop Wonder (Durante) and his daughter Kitty (Day) the circus is in deep financial straights as Pop has a bit of a gambling problem. When Kitty hires on Sam Rawlins (Boyd) who seems to be a man of many talents, she is unaware that he is the son of fellow circus competitor John Noble (Jagger) who wants to buy The Wonder Circus and who with his son’s help manages to get control of the circus. Kitty and Pop go off on their own to form a small traveling carnival but things just aren’t the same. Eventually, loves wins out when Sam’s conscience gets the best of him (and the fact that he has fallen in love with Kitty) splits from his father’s business and goes to join Kitty and her father in their new business.

Trivia:

  • Was to be made in 1947, but MGM felt that the script was not ready to be made into a film.
  • Was to originally star Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.
  • This was Day’s first musical role in five years.
  • The film featured seven songs by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers.
  • Designer Morton Haack created over 2,000 costumes for the movie.
  • The film was a Broadway play that also starred Durante.
  • Martha Raye returned to the silver screen after a 14 year absence.
  • It took the talents of three trained elephants, Sydney, Hattie and Anna May to create Jumbo.
  • Busby Berkeley choreographed the circus acts scenes.

The Thrill of It All (1963)

Film’s Tag Line: She’s hoping he’s ready. He wishing she’s willing.

Cast:Doris Day, James Garner, Arlene Francis, Edward Andrews

Directed: Norman Jewison

Produced: Ross Hunter, Martin Melcher

Basic Plot: Doris is housewife Beverly Boyer and James Garner is her husband, Gerald, a very successful obstetrician. When Beverly gets a chance to star in a commercial advertising Happy Soap, she is a big hit and gets a contract to make weekly commercials. Things go fine until her work begins to interfere with her marriage to Gerald who discovers that he sees more of his wife on television than in person.

Trivia:

  • Written by Larry Gelbart and Carl Reiner. Reiner had written the part of Beverly intending it to be a vehicle of Judy Holliday, who had to refuse the role because she was suffering from cancer. She would pass away at age 43 in 1965.
  • Reiner has a cameo in the film.
  • Bosley Crowther, who reviewed the movie for the New York Times called the film “good clean fun, that was filled with slapstick and sight gags.”

Move Over Darling (1963)

Films’ Tag Line:  She’s married to him, he’s married to her and it’s sheer bedlam from morning til night!

Cast: Doris Day, James Garner, Chuck Connors, Wally Cox, Don Knotts, Polly Bergan, Thelma Ritter, John Astin, Pat Harrington, Jr.

Directed: Michael Gordon

Produced: Martin Melcher, Aaron Rosenberg

Basic Plot: Day is Ellen Wagstaff Arden, a loving mother and wife who was lost at sea and presumed drowned. Five years pass, and her husband, Nick (James Garner) wants to have her declared legally dead so he can remarry. What Nick doesn’t know is that Ellen is very much alive having spent the five years on a deserted island with handsome Stephen Burkett (Chuck Connors) and the fun begins when she returns to civilization on the same day that Nick is to remarry!

Trivia:

  • This comedy film is a remake of the 1940 comedy My Favorite Wife starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunn.
  • It was to be remade in 1962 as a Marilyn Monroe vehicle co starring Dean Martin, under the title of Something’s Got to Give. Of course, it is common knowledge that Marilyn died before filming was completed. That movie was then shelved and eventually the idea was retooled as Move Over Darling starring Doris and James Garner.
  • A real submarine, the USS Blackfin was used in the scene that showed Ellen being rescued. Day toured the sub, lunched with the crew and was made an honorary crew member.
  • Garner had been wanted by producers to star in the Dean Martin role in the Monroe film, but he was busy working on The Great Escape.

Send Me No Flowers (1964)

Film’s Tag Line: Rock is ready to make love yesterday, tomorrow and especially to Day (Doris that is!)

 Cast: Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall, Clint Walker, Paul Lynde

Directed: Norman Jewison

Produced: Harry Keller

Basic Plot: George and Judy Kimball (Hudson and Day) are a happily married couple. George, though is a hypochondriac, always under the belief that he is ill. One day, he overhears his doctor talking about a patient that only has a short time to live. George mistakenly believes it’s him. He confides in his best friend, Arnold (Tony Randall) and together the two decide to search for a replacement husband for Judy. They don’t have to look far, when an old college boyfriend of Judy’s, Bert Power (Clint Walker) comes on the scene. Things get even more mixed up when Judy begins to suspect that George is having an affair with newly divorced Linda Bullard (Patricia Barry).

Trivia:

  • This is the third and final pairing of Doris with Rock Hudson.
  • Even though the topic is somewhat dark and depressing, the film is light and amusing and does offer up some good laughs.
  • Paul Lynde is wonderful as the undertaker who sells George his cemetery plot.
  • Clint Walker isn’t really used as much as I would have liked, he seems to just disappear from the movie at the end.
  • Theme song Send Me No Flowers performed by Doris (did you really expect anyone else?).

Do Not Disturb (1965)

Film’s Tag Line: A Gorgeous Day!…A Hilarious Day!…A Kissable Day!…A Glorious Day…And Night!

 Cast: Doris Day, Rod Taylor, Hermione Baddeley, Sergio Fantoni

Directed: Ralph Levy, George Marshall

Produced: Martin Melcher, Aaron Rosenberg

Basic Plot: Doris stars as Janet Harper and Rod Taylor as her husband Mike. When he is transferred to England for his job, Janet goes along. Soon she is upset because he is spending so much time at work and is getting jealous of his very attractive assistant Claire Hackett (Maura McGiveney). In order to make Mike jealous, Janet creates a mystery man of her own, only to find out he really exists in the form of a Paul Bellari (Sergio Fantoni) and he just might sweep her off her feet!

Trivia:

  • The first of two movies Doris made with Rod Taylor.
  • New York Time movie critic Bosley Crowther said, “Do Not Disturb,” is the most foolish piece of comic trivia she’s been caught in since her pre-Rock Hudson days. [1]
  • Doris stated in her 1975 autobiography that she didn’t want to do this film, but her then husband and manager Martin Melcher signed the contract without her knowledge.
  • Raquel Welch has a small part as a woman standing in the lobby.
  • Britt Ekland has a role as a party goer.

Sources:

[1] Crowther, Bosley. “Do Not Disturb: Doris Day Decorates Home in England.” Review. New York Times 25 Dec. 1965: n. pag. Web.

The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)

Film’s Tag Lines:  (1)  Is this the girl next door?  (2) The spy who came out of the water.

Cast: Doris Day, Rod Taylor, Paul Lynde, Arthur Godfrey, Dom DeLuise, Dick Martin, Edward Andrews, Eric Fleming

Directed: Frank Tashlin

Producer: Everett Freeman and Martin Melcher

Basic Plot: Jennifer Nelson (Day) sometimes works for her father, Axel Nordstrom (Arthur Godfrey) who runs a glass bottom boat tour business at Santa Catalina Island in California.  She wears a mermaid costume and swims beneath the boat for the amusement of his passengers. One day, Bruce Templeton (Rod Taylor) snags her suit with his fishing hook, tearing off the bottom of her costume.  She later learns that Templeton is a high placed executive at a NASA space center where she will soon be starting her new full time job in public relations.  When Templeton discovers she works there, he hires her for a new job, that of his biographer, wanting her to help him write his life’s story. But, he has other motives, he really wants to win her affection.   But, there is a problem, the company’s security offer, Homer Cripps (Paul Lynde) finds Jennifer’s actions highly suspicious when he hears her talking in “code” during a phone conversation.  He immediately begins to suspect she is a spy working for the Russians who want to get their hands on Templeton’s new invention the GISMO.  When she discovers that Templeton believes she isn’t smart enough to be a spy, she decides to have a little bit of fun by pretending to be one and turning the tables on both Cripps and Templeton.

Trivia:

  • This is Doris Day’s second appearance with handsome Rod Taylor and is a spoof on the popular spy genre that was started with the success of the James Bond series of films.
  • In some countries, such as Australia, the film was released under the title of The Spy in Lace Panties.
  • GISMO stands for Gravity Inertial Stabilization Man Observatory.
  • Robert Vaughn famous for his role in the TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. has a non speaking cameo part.
  • By the time this movie was filmed, Doris had lost her Number One standing (she had dropped to 8th place) at the box office, being replaced by Julie Andrews.

The Ballad of Josie (1967)

Film’s Tag Line: It’s Quick Draw Doris!

Cast: Doris Day, Peter Graves, George Kennedy, Andy Devine, William Talman, David Hartman

Directed: Andrew V. McLaglen

Produced: Norman MacDonnell and Martin Melcher

Basic Plot: Doris stars in the comedy western as Josie Minick, a young woman who accidentally kills her abusive husband. She is put on trial but is acquitted and decides to take up sheep ranching much to the dismay of her male neighbors who raise cattle. She then decides to get other women around the area involved and soon a suffragette movement is born with Josie determined to prove a woman is a good as a man when it comes to farming. Oh, and she also wins the heart of good guy cowboy Jason Meredith (Peter Graves) in the process and eventually comes to realize it’s never too good to be too independent. Hmm.

Trivia:

  • Vincent Canby who reviewed the film for the New York Times stated that the film was incredibly unimportant and felt that it was better suited as a television movie than feature film.
  • Not one of Day’s better received films. Some have called it mediocre. It was an attempt to cash in on the rising feminist movement.
  • Was the last film role for actor William Talman, who is probably better known for his work on the television series Perry Mason as District Attorney Hamilton Burger.
  • Original title for the film The Epic of Josie and it was originally to be a television movie until Doris and her husband got hold of the script and became interested in filming it.

Caprice (1967)

Film’s Tag Lines: (1)Where do you run when there’s no place to run? Where do you hide when there’s no place to hide? (2) The Suspense Is Incredible! (3) Doris Day Richard Harris play the game of excitement in the cliff-hanger of the year ! (4) Caprice is a zig zag pattern of suspense and excitement that leaves all other thrillers far behind!

 Cast: Doris Day, Richard Harris, Ray Walston, Edward Mulhare

Directed: Frank Tashlin

Produced: Aaron Rosenberg, Martin Melcher

Basic Plot: Patricia Foster (Doris) works for Femina Cosmetics and wants to sell a secret formula to rival cosmetic company May Fortune. When she is caught and fired, she is then hired by May Fortune, but she is still secretly working for Femina Cosmetics. Her assignment is to get her hands on the new super secret hairspray formula created by May Fortune’s head chemist Dr Stuart Clancy (Ray Walston). This hairspray will make all others obsolete! Patricia is wooed by Christopher White (Richard Harris) who works for May Fortune, he wants to learn all of the secrets she knows about Femina Cosmetics. It soon becomes clear that its is difficult to keep track of just which side Patricia and Christoper are on and if it’s really hairspray that is at the center of their attention!

Trivia

  • The last film that used CinemaScope.
  • An obvious attempt to jump on the secret agent/spy bandwagon.
  • Columnist Harold Cohn believed that the role set Day’s career back 10 years maybe even 20! [1]
  • New York Times movie review Bosley Crowther called the film a “cluttered chichi and comedy claptrap”. [2]
  • Day’s husband and manager Marty Melcher committed her to this film before she ever saw the script, she had no chance to turn it down.

References:

[1] Cohn, Harold V. “At Random.” Pittsburgh Post Gazette 26 July 1967: 13. Print.

[2] Crowther, Bosley. “Caprice: Doris Day Plays a Spy at Several Houses.” Review. The New York Times 8 June 1967:

Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? (1968)

Film’s Tag Lines: (1) Oh, the liberties that were taken the night New York flipped its fuse… and became “Fun City”!  (2) The story of 8 million New Yorkers who were lost in the dark… until they found each other.

 Cast: Doris Day, Patrick O’Neal, Robert Morse, Terry-Thomas, Lola Albright, Jim Backus

Directed:Hy Averback

Produced: Everett Freeman and Martin Melcher

Basic Plot: When Broadway actress Margaret Garrison’s (Doris) show is shut down for the night because of the city-wide blackout, she goes home early and finds hubby, Peter, (Patrick O’ Neal) being a little too friendly with reporter Roberta Lane (Lola Albright). In anger, she leaves the apartment and heads to their country home in Connecticut. While there, she mixes for herself a sleeping concoction, drinks some down and falls fast asleep. Corporate embezzler, Waldo Zane (Robert Morse) has escaped the city with an attache case full of cash and when his car breaks down near Margaret’s home, he takes refuge there, unaware she is there. When he mistakenly tries some of her sleeping concoction, he ends up in bed with Margaret fast asleep. When Peter arrives a few hours later and finds the two together, he assumes the worst and storms out and heads back to the city. Will this be the end of their marriage?r.

Trivia:

  • The Letterman sing the theme song.
  • Based on the play by Claude Magnier.
  • Morgan Freeman has an uncredited role as a commuter.
  • Cameo Roles: Steve Allen tries to read the news by candle light, Jim Backus is a glib car salesman, Ben Blue is a man trying to shave in the dark and Pat Paulsen is a subway bus conductor groping around in the dark.
  • The film was inspired by the Great Northeast Blackout of 1965.

With Six You Get Eggroll (1968)

Film’s Tag Line:  Does this look like a movie that could give you bad dreams?

Cast: Doris Day, Brian Keith, Barbara Hershey, George Carlin, Pat Carroll, Vic Tayback, Alice Ghostly

Directed by: Howard Morris

Produced by: Martin Melcher for the Cinema Center Films which was a subsidiary of Columbia Broadcasting System.

Basic Plot: Doris is Abby McClure, a widow with three sons who is running her late husband’s business. She is tricked by her match making sister, Maxine (Pat Carroll) into a dinner meeting with widower Jake Iverson (Brian Keith) and things don’t go so well. Eventually, the couple do manage to have a successful date and fall in love. The problem is, Abby’s sons and Jake’s daughter don’t get along and try their hardest to keep their parents apart. Will love win out?

Trivia:

  • George Carlin’s movie debut.
  • The last feature film for Day before she began work on her TV series, The Doris Day Show.
  • Very similar in plot line to the feature film, Yours, Mine, Ours which has been released four months earlier.
  • Was one of Day’s biggest money earners.
  • One movie critic found the film to be “clumsily written, ineptly directed, and artificially wholesome”. {1}

Sources:

[1] Stoneham, Gordon. “Movie-goers Won’t Lose Any Sleep over “Eggroll” Review. Ottawa Citizen 19 Sept. 1968: 35. Web.

© Copyright: Glory Miller/Graple’s Entertainment Archive 2014

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