Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Fun with Doris & Irene + Rock, Cary, Randolph, Clint

I had not seen SEND ME NO FLOWERS since its release in 1964 when I was a teenager, but it remained a pleasant memory, particularly of daffy Doris accidentally locked out of her house in her nightie and fluffy slippers, as oblivious husband Rock Hudson showers with earplugs in .... I thought LOVER COME BACK in 1961 was the best of their comedies, particularly when Edie Adams was around (more on her soon, in LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER), but SEND ME NO FLOWERS, Rock and Doris's third and final comedy, is blissfully funny, well scripted by Julius Epstein (from a play) and directed by Doris regular Norman Jewison. Its conjures up a perfect suburban world of lawns and country clubs, sexy paper boys and gossiping milkmen, as our married couple (no kids to spoil the scenario...) have misunderstandings and fall out with all the cliches perfectly in place.
Rock is a hypochondriac forever taking pills and potions, he overhears his doctor (splendid Edward Andrews) talking about another patient who has not long to live and Rock thinks doc is talking about him .... amusement follows as he and neighbour Tony Randall (whose family are conveniently away) plan his funeral and good old Rock wants to find another suitable husband for Doris, so we get amusing scenes of the 2 men eyeing up other suitable men, and sleeping in the same bed - and then they discover Clint Walker, even more perfect than Rock. Clint has some fun here away from his usual western surroundings. Doris meanwhile thinks Rock is having an affair ...
Paul Lynde is bliss as usual as the unctious undertaker where Rock wants to buy 3 plots, for himself, Doris and her new husband ... Doris of course misunderstands and all the usual complications follow until the blissful ending. Poignant moments too as Rock has lines like she will be sorry when he is in his bed of pain at some future date ....

 I did a piece on Doris last December (Day label) as the London BFI was doing a tribute to her, but only 12 of her films (back in 1980 they showed 30 of hers!) - they only showed PILLOW TALK of her later comedies. The early to mid 60s was Doris's great period and she was a top box office attraction, with these with Hudson, the 2 with James Garner, Cary Grant etc.
(I love THE THRILL OF IT ALL but never want to see MOVE OVER DARLING, that re-heated remake of Marilyn's aborted SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE from 1962 which itself was a reheated version of Irene Dunne's 1940 MY FAVOURITE WIFE ..... with Cary and Randolph Scott. (Doris's 2 with Rod Taylor were not quite in the same league, and I shall be seeing CAPRICE with, er, Richard Harris in 1966 before too long - it is though a Frank Tashlin comedy). 
As fate would have it MY FAVOURITE WIFE is being screened again tomorrow morning, so I can catch it again then, and needn't dig out the dvd. I simply adored Dunne when I discovered her a few years ago, THE AWFUL TRUTH remains sublime, up there with the best of the 30s Screwballs, and MY FAVOURITE WIFE is more of the same. (Above, how do those swim trunks conceal any sign of male bulge?)
Irene is blissfully funny and glamorous here, its the one where the wife comes back after years missing and pronouced dead only to find her husband has just re-married. 
Garson Kanin handles the material perfectly and Cary Grant and Randolph are ideal as the husband and the man Irene was shipwrecked with for all those years .... Cary and Randy were of course still buddies, if not housemates, in 1940 and they all play perfectly together. Gail Patrick has a few moments as the latest wife... An ideal double bill then - it would have been interesting to have seen what Marilyn and Cukor would have made of it (fantasy poster, right) but the the 1962 fragments that remain are spell-binding.  Instead, Michael Gordon helmed MOVE OVER DARLING

1 comment:

  1. Randolph was probably wearing something tight fitting under those short trunks.