Release year: 1959
Director: Michael Gordon
Screenwriter: Stanley Shapiro, Maurice Richlin, Russell Rouse, Clarence Green
Starring: Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall, Thelma Ritter, Nick Adams, Julia Meade, Allen Jenkins, Marcel Dalio, Hayden Rorke
Ratings: 1 Oscar: Best Original Screenplay, 4 Oscar nominations: Best Actress (Doris Day), Best Supporting Actress (Thelma Ritter), Best Art Direction, Best Music
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #3, week 26 2014
Interior decorater Jane Morrow (Doris Day) shares a party line with playboy and composer Brad Allen (Rock Hudson). Unable to ever use her phone, as Brad is always on the phone wooing women, Jane is furious with the unknwon man on the other end of the line, trying desperately to convince the phone company she needs to get her own line, while trying desperately to make ground rules with Brad to make the situation bearable. Meanwhile she is pursued by a rich client, Jonathan Forbes (Tony Randall), who also happens to be Brad’s best friend. But as Brad encounters the lady he assumed were a boring dry spinster and discovers she is a pretty blond woman, he is intrigued and decides to pretend to be innocent Texan tourist Rex to win her over.
Doris Day and Rock Hudson makes a great match, oozing charm, and it is no wonder that they were matched two more times, in Lover Come Back (1961) and Send no Flowers (1964) all of them starring Tony Randall as well. There is something about the fact that both Day and Hudson has that healthy, warm hearted, and genuine appearance that make them such a terrific match for each other. Day is bubly and charming, with her bright white smile and her piercing blue heart. She is equally convincing as the businnes woman mad at Brad’s playboy as she is as a woman madly in love with Brad’s Rex. Day, also known for her terrific singing voice, manages to belt out a tune in a charming scene in which Jane and Brad (as Rex) sit in a bar singing Roly Poly. A scene that later uses the tune You Lied in a excellent way! Hudson delivers a quiet performance, relying on his charm and managing. His playboy seems bored with his life, women no real challenge to his looks, and it sets a spark in him when he meets the challenge in Jane, added by the fact that he can have fun with her as himself on the phone, being the only one who knows the truth. Over conversations with an annoyed Jane he manage to manipulate and confuse her to much amusement for himself and us. However, the funniest moments in the movie are those in which Randall is present. His lovestruck millionaire Jonathan is the comic relief, as he is manipulated by his friend and as he tries to save Jane from Brad’s playboy hands and winning her for himself. To help him with the comedic stroke of the story is the brilliant and scene stealing Thelma Ritter as Jane’s constantly hungover housekeeper Alma, a small woman who can drink a grown man under the table. She also achieved a deserved Oscar nomination for the part; as did Doris Day for her potrayal of Jane.
The Oscar the movie did win, was deservedly for it excellent witty screenplay. Filled with charm, good dialogue and lots of small peculiar jokes spreaded all over the story, it will win over most hearts who enjoy a romantic comedy. There is a bittersweet moment where Brad makes Jane conspicious to Rex being homosexual. One can only guess how that played with Hudson, who kept his homosexuality a secret throughout his carreer. Day has announced after he died of AIDS in 1985, that despite sworking together on three occasions, she never new about his sexual preferences. It is no doubt that with his smouldering good looks, dark hair, deep voice, towering height and strong build, Hudson was someone more linked with a typical leading-man, where those looks came in handy, making him convincing as a man who could steal any womans heart as well as stealing a lot of the audiences heart as well.
This movie is as much worth watching for its charming and terrific cast as it is for the brilliance of its screenplay, in other Words: it is highly recommended.
Rock Hudson turned down the part three times before accepting it, believing the script to be too risqué.
Picture copyright: Universal Pictures