Silver Screen Icons: Doris Day [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Please Don't Eat the Daisies
In this entertaining comedy by Charles Walters, everyone seems to get in on the act, even the dog and especially the four overactive kids in a wildly challenging family. David Niven co-stars with Doris Day as Lawrence and Kate Mackay, distinctive parents struggling with home, life, and family. Lawrence opts for leaving his job teaching at Columbia University in New York for a post as a drama critic for a Gotham newspaper, bringing new problems to the pile the family already owns. First, they are forced to move out -- far out -- to the countryside with their brood and canine. And next, while Kate handles home, hearth, and hellions, Lawrence proceeds to alienate one of his best friends with a shattering review. That unhappy beginning to his new career also brings in one of the actresses damaged by his cutting remarks (Janis Paige), who wreaks her own form of havoc on poor Lawrence. In the meantime, Day gets to sing some songs which add to the light-hearted attitude of it all. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

Romance on the High Seas
This cute film is Doris Day's film debut and in it she plays Georgia Garrett, a substitute traveller on an ocean cruise. Her friend Elvira Kent (Janis Paige) had scheduled the cruise but at the last minute cancels when she suspects that her husband is cheating on her and she decides to stay at home to check up on him. So she gets her friend Georgia to go on the cruise in her stead. Meanwhile the husband hires a detective to watch Elvira while on the cruise, because, he too, suspects cheating. Of course, the detective falls for the substitute Elvira (Doris Day), making a somewhat complicated scenario with many possibilities. This is a fun-filled spoof with lots of good tunes by Doris Day. ~ Phillip Erlewine, Rovi

Calamity Jane
Doris Day looks no more like the real Calamity Jane than you or I do, but this 1953 film is intended as a lighthearted musical, not a historical tract. As portrayed by the freckled Ms. Day, Jane is a rootin', tootin' shootin' hoyden in the western town of Deadwood. When she isn't tearing up the town, Jane spends her time cussing out Wild Bill Hickok (Howard Keel). The plot gets under way when Jane promises the citizens of Deadwood that she can persuade classy Chicago stage star Adelaide Adams (Gale Robbins) to perform at the local opry house. Through a case of mistaken identity, Jane brings Adelaide's maid Katie (Allyn Ann McLerie) back to town. Katie proves to be a success all the same, and out of gratitude promises to make a "lady" out of Jane, who is sweet on handsome Lt. Gilmartin (Philip Carey). When the lieutenant chooses Katie over Jane, our heroine is heartbroken--until she realizes that she has loved Wild Bill Hickok all along, and that the feeling is mutual so far as Hickok is concerned. The peppy musical score by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster includes the Oscar-winning Secret Love, which became a million-selling hit for Doris Day. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Love Me or Leave Me
One of the gutsiest movie musicals of the 1950s, Love Me or Leave Me is the true story of 1930s torch-singer Ruth Etting, here played by Doris Day. While working in a dime-a-dance joint, Ruth is discovered by Chicago racketeer Martin "The Gimp" Snyder (fascinatingly played with nary a redeeming quality by James Cagney). The smitten Snyder exerts pressure on his show-biz connections, and before long Ruth is a star of nightclubs, stage and films. Ruth continues to string Snyder along to get ahead, but she can't help falling in love with musician Johnny Alderman (Cameron Mitchell). After sinking his fortune into a nightclub for Ruth's benefit, Snyder is rather understandably put out when he finds her in the arms of Alderman. Snyder shoots the musician (but not fatally) and is carted away to prison. Upon his release, Snyder finds that Ruth is still in love with Alderman; he is mollified by her act of largesse in keeping her promise to perform in his nightclub at a fraction of her normal salary. No one comes off particularly nobly in Love Me or Leave Me, even though the still-living Ruth Etting, Martin Snyder and Johnny Alderman were offered full script approval. The fact that we are seeing flesh-and-blood opportunists rather than the usual sugary-sweet MGM musical stick figures naturally makes for a more powerful film. In his autobiography, James Cagney had nothing but praise for his co-star Doris Day, and bemoaned the fact that she would soon turn her back on dramatic roles to star in a series of fluffy domestic comedies. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Doris Day
    Doris Day - Kate Mackay
  • David Niven
    David Niven - Larry Mackay
  • Janis Paige
    Janis Paige - Deborah Vaughn
  • Spring Byington
    Spring Byington - Suzie Robinson
  • Richard Haydn
    Richard Haydn - Alfred North
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