DORIS DAY: 1922-2019

The announcement of Doris Day’s death at the age of 97 made headline news all round the world. Sad news indeed.

Doris was happy in  retirement for nearly half her life, leaving the entertainment industry in the mid 1970s, moving to Carmel in California and devoting herself to animal welfare.

 

A young Doris who had an enormous hit with ‘Sentimental Journey’ in 1945 when she was with Les Brown’s  band.

 

The first band that Doris sang with , the  Barney Rapp Band In 1939.

 

With the Bob Crosby band.

 

Doris’s first film in 1948 in which she had a another massive hit, ‘It’s Magic’. With no acting experience, she proved to be a natural ,making 17 films for Warner Brothers in 7 years.

 

With Gene Nelson

 

As a young  girl, Doris wanted to be a dancer but a car accident at the age of 12 meant she could not continue training. In a long recovery period (she had a serious leg injury), Doris started singing and her mother Alma arranged voice lessons, leading to work with a local band in Cincinnati.

Fortunately Doris was able to resume her dancing in many of her Warners musicals, showing how good she was.

With her mother, Alma.

 

 

Terrific  as Calamity Jane (my favourite of all her films), Doris left Warners at the end of her contract after YOUNG AT HEART.

 

Doris continued with success after success, marvellous in LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME and starring opposite James  Stewart in THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH.

Love Me Or Leave Me

 

 

On the set of The Man Who Knew Too Much.

 

Then THE PAJAMA GAME and TEACHER’S PET  before teaming with Rock Hudson in PILLOW TALK, another huge hit.

With John Raitt

 

Pillow Talk

 

 

With Rex Harrison. “MIDNIGHT LACE.”

 

With Cary Grant in THAT TOUCH OF MINK.

 

My favourite Day films are from the 50s – YOUNG AT HEART, LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME, CALAMITY JANE , TEACHER’S PET and THE PAJAMA GAME.

 

Doris had two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd, one for movies and one for recording, both given in 1960.

Along with Judy Garland (who was born the same year as Doris), she was the only major female  recording artist to also have a substantial film career. She recorded around 800 songs.

 

With her son, Terry who predeased  her. Terry was responsible,for one of Doris’s  last record hits, “Move Over Darling” which I love.

 

Doris’s private life was turbulent but on screen and on record , she conveyed a warmth  which appealed to so many of us. The film industry recognised her talent . These are some of her awards:

Oscars for Best Songs, “Secret Love” and “Que Sera, Sera”.

Two Golden Globes.

Cecil B. DeMille award for outstanding achievement (1989).

Photoplay Gold Medal For LULLABY OF BROADWAY in 1951.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doris, we’ll miss you but won’t forget you.

 

 

 

 

FOREIGN POSTERS. 23

As usual, foreign translations of Hollywood titles  can be – unusual!

WITHOUT LOVE.    (Too Smart For Love)

NIGHT PASSAGE

 

M

DESIRE

 

M

CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS…  (Intrepid Captains)

 

 

M

GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL.    (Clash of the Titans)

 

 

M

PAY THE DEVIL. (The Devil’ s Salary)

 

 

M

DOWN TO EARTH.        (Beauties in the Sky)

 

 

M

TOO HOT TO HANDLE.      (It Happened in China)

 

DAY OF THE BADMAN.          (The Day of the Violent)

 

THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL.        (Captives of Evil)

MARIE DRESSLER : Scrublady to Dowager

She will forever be remembered for her exchange with Jean Harlow in DINNER AT EIGHT. ( more of that later).

MARIE DRESSLER (1869-1934) became an unlikely star and Oscar winner in her sixties ,  but sadly she died just  4 years after winning her Oscar  for MIN AND BILL in 1930.

With  Charlie Chaplin in TILLIE’S PUNCTURED ROMANCE in 1914, her film debut ,based on her Broadway success of the ‘Tillie’ character and made by  Mack Sennett.

 

Marie (born Leila Marie Koerber) was in show business from a young age, she sang in light opera, she wrote and performed her own material in vaudeville.and even became a producer.

In one sketch on stage, the curtain goes up and Marie is standing on her head. After a while she drops down and stretches, saying, “Best rest I’ve had in weeks.”

The stage  was her home for most of her life.

Merry Marie! “Herself, not pictures!”

 

Marie was a champion of women’s suffrage. In 1919 she took part in the stage actors strike, along with Ethel Barrymore.

 

Marie was with the elite of Hollywood, doing bond selling tours during the First World War.  She is seen kneeling next to Charlie Chaplin, with Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford behind her – and Franklin Roosevelt on the left!

 

 

Despite making several shorts, Marie’s film career didn’t take off and she wasn’t on screen again till a writer friend Frances Marion wrote THE CALLAHANS AND THE MURPHYS for her in 1927. Marie was out of work at the time.

Marie adapted well to talkies and made 19 films between 1929 and 1934. Audiences loved her down to earth,honest characters, though she was equally at home playing dowagers.

She could chew the scenery if not held back, but her stage and vaudeville experience gave her a powerful presence on screen.

 

I love Marie’s rendition of “For I’m the Queen’ in HOLLYWOOD REVUE. And in that wonderful finale, when all the stars line up and warble ‘Singin’ In The Rain’, Marie pops up a tiny umbrella as she smiles at the camera.

Sorry, poor screen grab.

 

 

With Garbo In ANNA CHRISTIE(1930), Marie only had a few scenes but was totally convincing as the waterfront drunk ,’Marthy’, who shares Garbo’s first talkie conversation.

 

Anna Christie.

 

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As Marion Davies’ mother in THE PATSY.

 

Marie and fellow comedian Polly Moran made a series of films , only   one of which I have seen – POLITICS. They usually argued -loudly- with one another and I  cant say their broad comedy appealed.

With Polly Moran

 

 

The cast of TUGBOAT ANNIE with Wallace Beery and Mervyn LeRoy on either side of Marie. Cinematographer Gregg Toland is behind Marie and writer Norman Reilly Raine is next to Mervyn LeRoy.

 

Love this shot of Marie with Mervyn LeRoy and Wallace  Beery between takes of “Tugboat Annie”. Putting their feet  up!

 

With Wallace Beery and Robert Young (playing her son) in “Tugboat Annie).

The tugboat used in the film is preserved in Seattle where many scenes were filmed.

 

Marie had another Oscar nomination for her role as a housekeeper who marries her employer in  EMMA which also starred Myrna Loy.

“Emma” is one of several Dressler films I would  love to see – ONE ROMANTIC NIGHT (1930) in which she plays a princess and Lillian Gish’s mother!   – CHASING RAINBOWS (1930) in which she sings ‘Pure  but Honest’ – THE LATE CHRISTOPHER BEAN ( her last film ).

 

 

On the cover of Time magazine in 1933.

 

Marie’s is a Cinderella story, working and struggling all her life , experiencing both success and failure, only to find fame in her 60s and winning an Oscar. She had known early success but had a long period out of the limelight. By some  twist of fate, her talent became recognised as talkies took the place of silent films  and the public adored her.

 

With Wallace Beery in MIN AND BILL.

Despite being a heavy built lady, Marie always exuded energy on screen. In ”MIn And Bill”, she and Wallace Beery have a knock-down, no holds barred fight  which is very funny.

 

A rare shot of a serious Marie at the end of “Min And Bill”, reminiscent of “Stella Dallas” when she sees , for the last time, the girl she has raised as a daughter go off to a better life.

 

Some quotes from Marie:

”Fate cast me to play the role of an ugly duckling with no promise of swanning.”

On success at the age of 60:

”At sixty, nobody envies you. Instead everybody rejoices generously in your good fortune.”

 

 

The famous exchange at the end of DINNER AT EIGHT.

Marie, as faded stage star Carlotta Vance is walking alongside Kitty (Jean Harlow) into the dining room of their hosts, Lionel Barrymore and Billie Burke.

This is how the conversation goes:

Kitty: “I was reading a book the other day.”

Carlotta stops in her tracks: “Reading a book?”

(Marie does the perfect double take!)

Kitty: “Yes, it’s all about civilisation or something. A nutty kind of book. Do you know that the guy said that machinery is going to take the place of Every profession?”

 

That’s when Marie , with perfect timing, delivers the  iconic line after looking Kitty up and down:

“Oh my dear, THAT’S something you need never worry about!”

Dinner At Eight was a 1932 Broadway play by George Kaufman and Edna Ferber, but they didn’t have this scene in the play.

The film’s script was by France Marion and Herman J. Mankiewicz, so one of them must take the credit for that dialogue.

(Constance Collier played Carlotta in the stage production.’)

 

 

With Lionel Barrymore who won for A FREE SOUL.

Amazingly Marie was the third  Canadian in a row to win the Best Actress Oscar –  Mary Pickford had won for COQUETTE and Norma Shearer for THE DIVORCEE.

 

With Wallace Beery  making their mark at Graumans Chinese Theatre in 1931.

 

M

 

With  Clark Gable.

MGM gave a lavish birthday party for Marie in 1933.

 

 

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Nice to know that Marie is remembered in her hometown of Cobourg, Ontario.

In 1992  a vintage film festival was started there to showcase Marie’s films and those of her contemporaries.

The 2018 festival  celebrated the 150th anniversary of Marie’s birth and featured ANNA CHRISTIE, POLITICS, THE PATSY.

More details at http://www.mariedressler.ca

 

 

Amazingly, Marie’s 1924 memoir has been reprinted and is an interesting read, concentrating on her career up to that date.There have been two biographies which I hope  to read soon.

Little did she know what the future held for her.

 

 

STAR CASUAL 4

Rosalind Russell wearing a highly decorated suit. The sun’s blazing but the gloves are on.

 

 

 

Fresh faced Ann Sheridan.

 

It’s a quizzical Jimmy Stewart.

 

Studiously casual, Miss Norma Shearer.

 

Was that a fan taking this photo of Dennis O’Keefe. Love the bow tie.

 

Well, maybe not so casual. Carmen Miranda out for the evening in a dazzling outfit.

 

A very young Judy Garland with her frequent costar Mickey Rooney.

 

Jean Harlow, casual in slacks.

 

Caught in the wind, Betty Grable.

 

Relaxing by the pool,  Mr and Mrs Glenn Ford (Eleanor Powell).

 

The always dapper George Raft.

 

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956)

There is so much of interest in the extras on the blu-Ray of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, a classic sci-fi of the 50s.

The story was based on a 3 part serial by Jack Finney, “The Body Snatchers”, in Colliers magazine in 1954. Finney  subsequently novelised it.

A story of aliens taking over humans whilst retaining all the memories of the people they replace. The film is told in flashback as Dr Miles Bennell (Kevin  McCarthy) relives the last few days when he returned to his home town of Santa Mira.

 

 

Richard Deacon, Kevin McCarthy, Whit Bissell.

At the end of the long flashback, the two doctors don’t believe Miles’ fantastic tale until a truck driver is brought into the Emergency room, saying he was in an accident and was found under a load of giant seed pods.

Dr Hill (Whit Bissell) reacts:  “ Get on your radios and sound an all points alarm. block all highways, stop all traffic and call every law enforement agency  in the state..”

Dr. Hill picks up the phone: “Operator, get me the FBI. Yes, it’s an emergency.”

The end. Not nearly as dramatic as Don Seigel’s  original ending.

 

Dana Wynter as Beckie and  Kevin McCarthy as Miles.

 

 

“INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS” Kevin McCarthy, Larry Gates, King Donovan.

Jack (King Donovan) finds a ‘blank’ body taking on his appearance!

Jack: “It’s like the first impression that’s stamped on a coin – it isnt finished.”

Later when Jack and Dr. Kauffman (Larry Gates) have been duplicated, they tell him that an extra-terrestrial life form is responsible for the invasion, but the film never really explains why they have come to earth. Kauffman says:

 “Seeds drifting through space took root in a farmer’s field. From the seeds came pods which had the power to reproduce themselves in the exact likeness of any form of life.”

In the original Jack Finney serial, the seeds move on to other worlds after leaving a dead planet.

 

 

Virginia Christine as ‘Wilma’ shares her concerns with Miles  about the strange behaviour of her Uncle Ira. Miles calms her fears but as time goes on he realises something sinister is happening in Santa Mira. Family members seems the same but  act strangely.

 

 

The fictional town of Santa Mira was in fact Sierra Madre, an L.A. Suburb. In the above scenes,  the pods are being collected by those folk already replicated.

 

 

In case you’re  wondering if there are two of everybody wandering about, apparently the original bodies disintegrate into dust once duplication is complete.

The pod people are never overtly violent but, boy, are they frightening. It’s the complete lack of emotion , zombie-like and relentless . Once taken over, they tell Miles and Becky it’s so much better – no pain.

 

The Bronson Caves ( a section of Griffith Park in Los Angeles) was the setting  for this scene.

 

The indoor set for the cave. Miles and Beckie hide . Director Don Siegel checks their position.

 

”I went to sleep, Miles, and it happened.” 

Becky had fallen asleep and is now one of “them”. She calls out to those tracking Miles, “He’s In here. Get him!”

Miles runs away, alone and desperately tired. He sees a farm where seed pods are being grown by the hundreds.

“They’re here already!  You’re next!”

Director Don Seigel’s first cut ended with McCarthy’s character ‘Miles’  seeing a truck loaded with pods heading for San Francisco. He runs onto the highway, shouting and screaming , trying to flag down cars, but no one stops.

The film was to end with a huge close-up of ‘Miles’  screaming ,”You’re  next”.  And what a breath-stopping ending that would have been. But the studio, Allied Artists, insisted on adding a prologue and epilogue, to give a more optimistic outcome – test screenings didn’t like the bleak ending.

Don Siegel didn’t walk away. It was still his film. So 6 months after finishing his role in the film, Kevin McCarthy was in South Africa and was called back to Hollywood to film further scenes.

The newly filmed prologue has Miles telling Dr Hill (Whit Bissell) of fantastical happenings when he came back to his home town of Santa Mira. There is then the long flashback.

Working titles for the film included the original Finney title,The Body Snatchers, They Came From Another World (too similar to The Thing From Another World) and Sleep No More ( suggested by Kevin McCarthy).

Finney’s original title was considered too similar to the 1945 film,”The Body Snatcher.”

 

 

Kevin McCarthy, Larry Gates on set.

Examining the pod.

 

Made on a budget of $380,000 and shot in  19 days, Don Siegel’s film has become a science fiction classic. The build up of suspense is worthy of Hitchcock!

Walter Wanger was the producer and Daniel Mainwairing provided the screenplay.

Among the blu-Ray extras was a very good talk by Walter Wanger’ s biographer, Matthew Bernstein and a wonderful reading of excerpts of Don Siegel’s  autobiography by his son, actor Kristopher Tabori.

 

Fritz Feld and Virginia Christine. They married in 1940.