The first movie I ever saw in a theater was one with Doris Day. It was a double feature with a Pat Boone musical. My memory is a bit fuzzy after 60 years, but I think it was Teacher's Pet. (Or it could have been The Tunnel of Love. Both Day films came out in 1958 but I'd like to think it was Teacher's Pet as that film revolves around journalism.)
At 5 years old, I fell in love with Doris Day.
And the feelings I have for her have never wavered.
I have seen all her films and a few stand out as her best. My favorite is It Happened to Jane, which I saw in 1959. It is the story of a single mother trying to run a lobster business in Maine. She goes up against a railroad tycoon (played by Ernie Kovacs, who chews the scenery a la Donald Trump). She and co-star Jack Lemmon take on the railroad and eventually win -- of course. This is a Doris Day film, after all.
She has said Calamity Jane was her favorite musical and I agree. Nobody sings "Secret Love" better than Doris. I also like Young at Heart with Frank Sinatra, Love Me or Leave Me with James Cagney, The Pajama Game with John Raitt and Jumbo with Jimmy ("What elephant?!") Durante.
Her family films are also worth mentioning: Please Don't Eat the Daisies with David Niven, The Thrill of It All and Move Over, Darling, both with James Garner.
And, of course her, three films with her good friend Rock Hudson: Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers. They also starred Tony Randall, who could easily steal any scene he was in.
An odd film for her to make was the noirish Storm Warning, which was not the usual light and airy vehicle. She plays Ginger Rogers' sister in a small Southern town, which just happens to be run by the Ku Klux Klan! Ginger witnesses Doris' husband (Steve Cochran) kill a man and thereby sets off a series of dramatic events involving Ronald Reagan as a crusading prosecutor. No music or dancing in this one, which defies logic with two of the best musical comedy stars in the business.
And she scared the bejesus out of 7-year-old me in 1960's Midnight Lace.
Day got to work with some of the best directors at the time, including Alfred Hitchcock in The Man Who Knew Too Much. That film even had an Oscar-winning song that Doris made famous: "Que Sera, Sera." In fact, it became her theme song and I think it summarized her real life. She married and divorced four men, three of whom were likely abusers: physically, emotionally and financially. And, somehow, she survived. It is no wonder that she spent a good part of her life dedicated to the welfare of animals.
Some people will say that she was not in the same league as Judy Garland, another phenomenal talent, but I say Doris far exceeded Judy because she overcame her demons and survived. She was 97 when she died.
She has left a legacy of films for all to enjoy. And she lived her life as an example of what one can achieve, even through so much adversity and hardship. She survived.
I love you, Doris.
MovieStyle on 05/17/2019
Print Headline: Like a flower loves the rain