Doris Day Has Personality Video
My tribute to Hollywood's Golden Girl (literally, as Doris Day was the #1 Box Office star for four years in the early 1960's, and didn't do too much worse a lot of other years) is up over here at YouTube (choose the "Watch in High Quality" option for best results).
Spending the last couple of weeks piecing together my video salute to the talented and lovely Ms. Day allowed me the opportunity to review a lot of this versatile performer's work. Some musings:
Day was a true pro. Watching the woeful 1954 outing Lucky Me, damned if Doris doesn’t seem intent on doing her best, regardless of the sub-standard material. She comes across as cheerful and skillful doing material most performers could be forgiven for looking depressed trying to put over. However, Day keeps strutting her stuff as if she's the lead in South Pacific (as she should have been, but that’s another story), putting her musical numbers over with verve and providing the film with its sole grace note.
Day’s abilities as an actress often come under fire, especially in the lightweight sex comedies that eventually killed off much of the reputation she’d built as a solid screen performer during the first ten years of her movie career. However, I often find her occasional mugging in comic roles appealing and amusing- her wit’s fairly quick most of the time, and she knows how to gets her laughs. In her best (non-sex) comedies (Teacher’s Pet, It Happened to Jane, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies and The Thrill of it All come to mind) the mugging’s at a minimum, and Day’s just about perfect.
Day’s singing brooks no criticism. Listening to her (backed by Harry James) in Young Man With A Horn singing “With a Song in My Heart” would make those angels we have heard on high jealous. In this area of her career Day rarely, if ever, hit a false note.
Day and Rock Hudson had at least as much fun working together as any other great screen team- looking for upbeat clips to use in the video, nearly every scene I watched featuring Day and Hudson found them glowing and laughing at each other to a fare-thee-well. Even when Day and Hudson’s characters are bickering away, the chemistry’s still there, making an audience believe Day could somehow end up happily ever after with the charming, womanizing cads Hudson plays in Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back.
At her best, Day makes George Michael’s claim that anyone could make the sun shine brighter than her seem sacrilegious. She’s still going strong at 84 and has received a Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Golden Globes and, more recently, a richly deserved Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, but the Academy Awards and the Kennedy Center have neglected to bestow similar honors on Day. Get with it, people.