R.I.P. Doris Day

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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Greg » Wed May 15, 2019 5:57 pm

Mister Tee wrote:She did do a successful TV show in the early 70s, but, back then, TV series were what film stars did when their movie careers died. (Which by itself underlines how long ago this was.)


Although, often the number of people who saw their TV shows greatly exceeded the number of people who saw their movies.

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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Big Magilla » Wed May 15, 2019 10:43 am

Speaking of The Pajama Game, Janis Paige, who originated Day's role on Broadway, will be 97 herself in September.

Paige was billed over Day in Day's debut film, Romance on the High Seas. She was never a big star in Hollywood but in her own words was too busy to be jealous of Day or anybody else.

The year of The Pajama Game, she played a major supporting role in Silk Stockings. Two years later, she supported Day in Please Don't Eat the Daisies.

Here's an interview with her from 2016:

https://www.miamiherald.com/entertainme ... 29647.html
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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Uri » Wed May 15, 2019 6:53 am

Doris Day has always fascinated me, since, when it comes to the preforming arts, I’m a big sucker for confidence. Not arrogance, but confidence. And Day was an extremely confident performer. She had it all – the voice, the musicality, the movement, the face, the body (hers was maybe the greatest athletic body of any major female star), stage intelligence and a natural, fine acting ability. Yet, once Day became a Hollywood star, this awesome performance apparatus was confined, thanks - most probably - to that despicable hack Marty Melcher, to many variations of sentimental schlock.

For some reason, she did have a run of better films from ’55 to ’57. She was fun in The Pajama Games – not surprisingly the material was not written especially for her. (Was it the only film adaptation of a Broadway musical she ever did? The fact she was not cast in South Pacific is a huge loss). The Man Who Knew Too Much is usually considered her best film (at least her most prestigious one), and she is good in it, but it’s more about smart casting than great acting (and Que Será, Será is the kind of schmaltzy song Day was famous for nicely put on its head in the context of the film).

And then there’s Love Me or Leave Me. This is the one film which suggests what her career might have been like had she been allowed to truly explore her talent. Acting wise, she matched the very fine formed Cagney step by step. And musically she had a field day stepping outside of the Guy-is-a-Guy to Everybody-Loves-a-Lover puddle she was usually cutesying in. Again – the material was not written for her to match that carefully manufacture persona. And allowed to sing not as “Doris Day” but in character, as (a rather fictional, but still tough) Ruth Etting, she killed it.

Speaking of confidence, Shaking the Blues Away is a glorious showcase number the way Garland’s Get Happy is. She is great singing quite a few other songs, but I’d mention the scene in which she sings Sam The Old Accordion Man. A corny, old fashioned song, but watch her juggling so many balls in this short clip – she makes it perfectly believable she’s singing live the pre-recorded song, her experience as a big band singer is evident in the way she effortlessly communicates with the backup singers and the accordion player and all while acting the deep distress her character is in in the way she interacts with Cameron Mitchel, and still managing to be totally natural in the way she improvisingly setting an unruled string of pearls. Confidence.

So, in retrospect, my take on her is a frustrated one. With all the unequal success she had, I see her career a case of an unfortunate missed opportunity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c93j_6oExoE

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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Precious Doll » Wed May 15, 2019 12:17 am

I first became aware of Doris Day through The Doris Day Show. The first film I ever saw her in was Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and I'll never forget that screening. It was shown at the 1984 Sydney Film Festival as part of the Hitchcock re-releases at the time (Vertigo, Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, Rope & The Man Who Knew Too Much) which I believe had been out of public circulation for a time.

Anyway, during the film Doris Day burst into song singing Que Sera, Sera and the audience (of about two thousand people) started laughing. I did too because I was familiar with the song from her TV series. Anyone one viewer became very irate and started screaming at the top of their voice for everyone to stop laughing which only made people either laugh more or yell abuse back at him. It was the highlight of one of Hitchcock's rather ordinary films for me.

During the 1980s I almost only saw older films at reparatory cinema and they never showed anything with Doris Day, though in the 1990s Calamity Jane was shown. Once I started renting DVDs, taping films from TV and cable TV in the very early 1990s I got to see many of her films. My favourites were two with Rock Hudson - Lover Come Back & Pillow Talk as well as Julie (1956) but for all the wrong reasons - it was so bad that it was good.

I never became a 'Doris Day' fan, though one of my former managers at work was a huge Doris Day fan and named one of his many cats after her (appropriately a white cat).

Her passing has received lots of press coverage in Australia and I understand that the day of her passing she was the lead story on the national news on the radio and thats saying something when we are only a couple of days away from a Federal Election.
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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Big Magilla » Tue May 14, 2019 9:32 pm

Norma Shearer is probably the last person I would think of in connection with Day.

Carol Channing is the one I immediately thought of.

Both stars died this year at 97. Both had troubled lives and bad marriages, although Channing at long last found happiness in a third marriage whereas Day's late life happiness came in her love for animals.

Channing was a great star on Broadway where no one under 40 is likely to have seen her. Day had a much bigger audience.

I was never a fan of her professional virgin movies, although there are fleeting moments in Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back and The Thrill of It All that bring a smile to my lips. The last OK movie she made was 1966's The Glass Bottom Boat which was amusing at best.

The Day films that I am truly fond of are Calamity Jane, Love Me or Leave Me and The Man Who Knew Too Much, all of which she made before she became a virgin in the movies at 37. My favorite of her comedies was Teacher's Pet made the year before Pillow Talk. I also liked her performance in 1960's Midnight Lace although the film itself is disappointing with its obvious villain. But her singing was heavenly. I could listen to her sing anything anytime.

I doubt there's anyone here who isn't familiar with her films in retrospect, but if there is, mark June 9th on your calendar. That's the day TCM has scheduled an all-day tribute to her.
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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Mister Tee » Tue May 14, 2019 7:09 pm

So, I've been pondering what to write about Doris Day, and -- hear me out on this -- I thought about Norma Shearer.

When Shearer died, in 1983, I knew who she was (because, Oscars), but most of my friends, even regular filmgoers, had never heard of her. Shearer, whatever Thalberg jokes we make about her, had been an enormous star for about 15 years, but her last film had been in 1942, and, by the time of her death, she was largely forgotten.

When I was a kid, Doris Day was a truly enormous star -- number one at the box-office for several years. I remember an episode of a forgotten sitcom called I'm Dickens-He's Fenster, where one of them announced they were getting Day to headline their company talent show, and the joke was that, of course that couldn't be true, because there was no one bigger. Think Sandra Bullock/Jennifer Lawrence at their peaks, combined.

But Day's last movie, With Six You Get Eggroll, was released in 1968. Meaning her last credit was further in the past than Shearer's was at her death. She did do a successful TV show in the early 70s, but, back then, TV series were what film stars did when their movie careers died. (Which by itself underlines how long ago this was.)

Around here, we remember Day, because we're old, and some of us are quite familiar with her films. But I wonder how many people under 40 have much awareness off her. Apart from The Man Who Knew Too Much, she doesn't have any movies that Film Studies programs are likely to screen. (Unless maybe Love Me or Leave Me, largely for the Cagney performance.) Her late-50s/early-60s comedies, if they're watched at all today, are seen through a "this is what was popular then/can you believe it?" lens -- the way, say, Abbott and Costello's hit comedies were viewed when I was young. Day was, in all honesty, seen as passe even before she retired; it's not like she left a niche anyone else needed to fill.

None of this is meant to knock someone who was apparently a lovely lady, who did wonderful things for animals over the decades, and was a fine singer, even if a merely competent actress. Hey, I even liked her movies when I was a kid: saw The Thrill of It All and Please Don't Eat the Daisies multiple times (I still say "Coke-ie Co-la" all the time, a la Daisies). I just find it strange to eulogize someone whose renown in my youth has so faded, and whose achievements seem rather slim stacked next to the level of that renown.

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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Precious Doll » Tue May 14, 2019 7:25 am

Thanks for posting that Magilla.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Big Magilla » Tue May 14, 2019 6:28 am

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” - Voltaire

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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Precious Doll » Tue May 14, 2019 2:00 am

Are we sure Doris Day wasn't offered an Honorary Oscar but declined?

Has the Academy ever publicly outed someone for declining an Honorary Oscar?
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Reza » Mon May 13, 2019 11:37 am

Very sad news.

She should have been given that honorary Oscar. Too late now.

89-year old Max von Sydow is still around. Hope they don't forget him. They have a chance to give it to him this year. The icing on the cake would be to give it to 81-year old Liv Ullman too this year.

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Re: R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Big Magilla » Mon May 13, 2019 9:31 am

Been away from the news all morning. Had the feeling somebody big died, no idea it was Day.

As we all knew she would, she goes to her grave without the honorary Oscar they denied her year after year.

Day was born the same year as Judy Garland - Garland died 12 days after her 47th birthday. Day lived another 50 years, dying 32 days after her 97th. Que sera sera.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” - Voltaire

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R.I.P. Doris Day

Postby Precious Doll » Mon May 13, 2019 8:17 am

A legend that needs to introduction:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/m ... dies-at-97
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One


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