Monday, 19 September 2011

CMBA Guilty Pleasures Movie Blogathon: Lover Come Back (1961)

This was my guilty pleasures choice. This isn't my favourite Doris Day/Rock Hudson film, but the other two, Pillow Talk (1959) and Send Me No Flowers (1964) - in my opinion - are actually really fantastic films. This one... not so fantastic but great fun to watch and I do get that great, guilty, "I shouldn't be laughing at this.. But I am and I will," feeling. Love.

Now, Doris Day and Rock Hudson are two of my very favourites. You probably know, as I'm always protesting that Doris Day is just as good dramatically as she is comically and this film just seemed like a good idea. I came across it in the Doris Day collection that we have and it was the last of the Day/Hudson ones for us to watch. Lover Come Back was directed by Delbert Mann. If you don't know the plot, here is a brief summary.

Madison avenue advertising executives Jerry Webster and Carol Templeton have very different attitudes to their work. At least that's one way to put it. Jerry gains accounts by wining (and other slightly stronger spirits) and dining and partying with his guests so that they love him so much that they sign. Carol, on the other hand, likes to work the morally and intellectually correct way. She gains the clients by working hard.

But when Jerry steals one too many accounts from her firm, she decides to take drastic action. She takes a case accusing him of immoral conduct to the advertising council. Carol sends one of Jerry's "chorus girls" to the council to testify that he is a rat, but at the same time, he has just bribed her to tell them he is amazing by putting her in a commercial advertising 'VIP', a product that doesn't exist.

Everything seems to be going fine when suddenly - while on holiday in the mountains with his neurotic boss, Peter Ramsay - he finds out that Ramsay gave leave for the company to start showing the commercials. And suddenly everyone wants VIP! And of course it doesn't exist. So pooling their brian power (and funds...) they hire a genius chemist to create a miracle product to be VIP. But in the meantime, Carol Templeton has heard about the fact that they have the account of a product everyone wants, so she hires a private detective to find out what is afoot. She goes to the chemist's house/laboratory to find out what's going on. And having never seen Jerry Webster before, she mistakes him for the chemist, who happens to be out looking for something! She ends up taking the "innocent genius" under her wing and falling in love with him... What will happen when she finds out that he is Jerry Webster? And what will happen when they find out - after consuming many - that VIP is actually a sweet that turns into pure alcohol when it hits the bloodstream?

This is actually a crazy film. There aren't many other ways to describe it. It couldn't be called emotionally deep, or culturally significant or anything. And I love it. I think that the film is fantastic in its own little funky ways now and again. My personal favourite scene is the oner where Jerry and Pete go up to the mountains to stay in Pete's lodge and they go canoeing on a lake and Pete keeps blowing a horn which he says is, "the mating call of the moose!". He intends to attract the moose and then take its picture, but the plan goes a little awry when the moose starts stalking them across the lake...

Now my spin (hopefully the general spin taken...) to this blogathon was that we should blog not only about why the film is good or bad, but about why we in particular love the film ourselves.

I love this film for several reasons. One of them being its sheer velocity. It just keeps going at a fast pace that keeps the slightly strange plot seeming reasonable. This mainly being because you don't have time to question anything or go, "Wait... A moose just chased them through a lake... Why are they suddenly back on Madison Avenue with beards..."

It's pretty risque for the early sixties. I thought this insane kind of film only started being made during the mid-late sixties. The main scenes like this are one scene where Doris Day and Rock Hudson go to a strip club and another where Rock Hudson is trying to make her follow him into his room by stating his insecurities and making her comfort him. At one point during this scene he exclaims, "A kiss? What does that prove? It's like finding out you can light a stove. It doesn't make you a cook!" But throughout the film there are little remarks and comments which do make you think a little. The ending is also quite out there. After waking up in a motel room married, Rock Hudson and Doris Day have a big fight and she states that she is going to get an annulment. But 9 months later her secretary calls him to a hospital to re-marry her because she is about to give birth. As they and the vicar enter the maternity ward, a passing doctor says, "Now that's what I call close!"

Now, I will just have to dedicate a little section here to Tony Randall.

I don't think I've ever expressed it before on my blog, but I adore Tony Randall. I will watch anything with him in. And every time I watch Send Me No flowers a little piece of me dies inside because he is Rock Hudson's next door neighbour. Not mine. Life has never been so unfair. He is just spot on all the time. His timing is spot on. His facial expressions are also spot on (in this, his face actually becomes purple and blue). There is this bit where they are in the canoe rowing back to shore and Jerry tells him that there is no VIP and he just goes, "HNGAHH!" And it sounds like a moose call! LOL! Super amazing. I also love where he comes down atop the elevator after becoming highly intoxicated by mint candies and yells "I'M KING OF THE ELEVATOR!" A phrase that my sister and I seem to have strangely coined as a joint catchphrase... Don't ask. I don't know.

{Sorry for the bad GIF quality!}

And the chemistry between Rock Hudson and Doris Day is great as always. Plus, this time Rock Hudson has a beard and is generally pretty cool, until you realize his character is an idiot. But you know, it's Rock Hudson, so it's all good.

Just as a last note, Doris Day's outfits and entire wardrobe in Lover Come Back are pretty beautiful (and if you have seen this film. Yes. We are ignoring the tasseled cone beach hat).

There are some great 60s dresses and coats and things for her. This and Bewitched (obviously along with other films) are the main basis for the Mad Men costume designers, I swear. I actually haven't seen the series, but even if they weren't very good, at least they brought 50s styles back into fashion!  They were designed by "Irene". One of those costume design companies which has only a first name... No second... Like "Adrian". Who are these people?

Overall it is a very silly film. If you have a low nonsense tolerance don't put yourself through it. But if you love Doris Day and Rock Hudson and Tony Randall and will watch almost anything for these three actors (*Cough* My family *cough*. Who said that?) then definitely give it a try. It's a total laugh a minute flick!

This is my contribution to the Classic Movie Blog Association Guilty Pleasures Movie Blogathon. Head over to their site to read some of the other great reviews!



FlickChick said...

Hi Bette - I confess, I share your guilt. Anything with Doris and Rock is a home run in mt book. Even when they were not given the best material they made it shine like nobody's business. They were real stars and wonderful together. And as for Tony Randall - I've been a fan since - well, ever! The guy just elevated everything he was in by being present and he is greatly missed. Good choice and great post!

KimWilson said...

Bette, I enjoyed reading your review. I always think of Hudson/Day films as fluff...low on texture, extra sweet and too delicious. They are not making high-art or thought provoking movies--just entertaining films that make you laugh. Plus, the overall quality isn't bargain basement! Thanks for your cute review.

Caftan Woman said...

"Lover Come Back" may be my personal favourite of Doris and Rock's pairings. Taking on Madison Avenue never goes out of fashion and the script never lets go. You reminded me of all the things I adore about the movie - especially, Tony Randall.

Libby said...

I love this. We have it on video and we just donated our vcr but otherwise, I would be watching it. Also, all the graphics in the opening credits are so pretty. I really like the colours.

Anonymous said...

Admittedly, I am no fan of Doris Day or Rock Hudson, though I will watch some films they are in for other reasons than if one of them is in it. So any film they star in together for me is automatically a guilty pleasure. Of the three films, I always preferred SEND ME NO FLOWERS. Have not seen this one in many, many years but as I read your article it all came back to me.

I am on board with you as far as Tony Randall, he is always a treat and arguably the best thing in these films. THE ODD COUPLE TV show is classic and as good as Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau were in the movie version, I'll take Randall and Jack Klugman any day over them. Becky, your work here is as entertaining as always. Thanks!


Kevin Deany said...

This sounds like a real cute movie. I'll be on the look out for it. Like you, I'll watch anything with Tony Randall in it.

Thanks, Bette, for letting us know about this one.

The Lady Eve said...

Enjoyed your post and your movie choice. I love the Doris Day/Rock Hudson romcoms - THAT's how a romcom is done! A few years ago I saw a newer movie, "Down With Love," a spoof/homage to the Day/Hudson movies and though I thought the leads could've been better cast, I couldn't help but like it, it caught a bit of the spirit of Day/Hudson movies. And David Hyde Pierce as the Tony Randall sidekick was quite good. Fittingly, Tony Randall had a supporting role, one of his last film appearances, in it.

Page said...

You're not alone in your love for Tony Randall. His films with Rock and Doris are my favorite.

Seeing a screenshot of Rock in that beard put a smile on my face. He was one tall, hot drink of water.

This really is such a fun little film and I really did enjoy your thoughtful review of it. A great Blogathon choice.

Classicfilmboy said...

I love Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies, and this one follows the blueprint of "Pillow Talk." While the story seems more hit or miss than "Pillow Talk," it still makes me laugh out loud, and like you said, it just keeps moving quickly along so yo don't think too hard about the improbability of certain situations. Thanks for sharing.

Rick29 said...

Bette, I enjoyed your review--but must confess this is my favorite Doris Day film! I think it's hilarious and shows what a fine comedian Rock Hudson was. Tyhe best scene is when Rock is trying to seduce Doris, but she finds out what he's up and ends up stranding him at the beach.

Bette said...

Thanks so much all for the great comments! @twentyfourframes I adore the Jack Lemmon/Walter Matthou Odd Couple, it's one of my favourite films :-)


Grand Old Movies said...

I actually haven't seen this Day/Hudson film, but I LOVE Doris Day, and I agree with you, that she was a fine dramatic actress as well as an ace comic performer. Thanks for your wonderful post, which makes this film sound like so much fun (love that bit with the moose!) - I definitely will check it out!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I'm probably with John on my choice of favorite Day-Hudson romp; Send Me No Flowers is one fitfully funny comedy. But I like Lover Come Back, particularly since it was co-scripted by TV writer-producer Paul Henning, who was responsible for the Bucolic Trinity of Sitcoms, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.

I've seen Tony Randall in a lot of movies but I still think he was best in The Odd Couple, a sitcom that remains my favorite of his projects. His chemistry with co-star Jack Klugman is just superior to the movie teaming of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon (though the two men are sensational in The Fortune Cookie).

Java Bean Rush said...

I adore Tony Randall as well. Great choice.

Old Movie Fan said...

Three of Rock Hudson classics all starring Doris Day: Lover Come Back, Send Me No Flowers & Pillow Talk. Also including Tony Randall who together left us with some of the best comedies not only of the period but.....Period! Classics all the way.

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