Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Doris Day (honest)

Ed here: Cinema Retro links to an interesting interview with Tom Santopietro author the book Considering Doris Day. A portion of his conjecture applies to Teresa Wright, too, a fine (and to me lovely) actress who went abruptly out of fashion after the war was over and America tired of "good girls." As he piiunts out Day was a different kind of good girl--robust and optimistic. I grew up watching Doris Day movies. I liked them well enough even though they were invariably corny love stories. Santapietro makes some solid points about perception versus reality and how success is often defined by the time in which a given person appears on the scene.

"Tom Santopietro: Doris was the biggest movie star in the world because she was equally appealing to men and women. Men found her sexy but also wanted to marry her, and women wanted to be like her, especially in the late '50s and early '60s. In those pre-feminist days, she played career women with great jobs in New York City. Doris Day had the rare ability to be equally believable as a career woman (Pillow Talk) and as a mother with children (The Thrill of It All). She was forthright, independent, aggressive yet utterly feminine. She was a symbol of the post-World War II optimistic and idealized America that was to be the world's "good guy." What I say in the book is that her like will never be seen again.
Laurie: Are there stars who have a similar appeal today?"

Tom Santopietro: I think the closest to Doris Day today is probably Renee Zellweger, who also has a wide range, from musicals like Chicago to dramas like Cold Mountain. Interestingly Renee and Ewan McGregor made Down with Love, in 2004, which was a direct homage to Doris and Rock but it didn't work; it was too self-conscious. They were too self-conscious, and we've changed too much as a country. We view everything through the lens of irony now.
Laurie: How does she compare with other successful actresses of her time?
Tom Santopietro: Doris was one of a kind. She wasn't the voluptuous beauty that Elizabeth Taylor was, nor did she possess the sylph-like elegance of Audrey Hepburn. She was, however, the biggest all-around talent of them all. She really was the idealized girl next door - idealized because no girl next door is that great a singer and such a terrific actress (not to mention being sexy in an understated way)."
for the rest go here:


pattinase (abbott) said...

She disappeared far too early. Shame on Hollywood.

Peter L. Winkler said...

For me, sexy is Kim Novack in Strangers When We Meet. Not Doris Day. Ever. She appeared in a few films that have arguable merits, but most of her films range from trivial fluff to gawd awful, including the Day-Hudson series, sexless sex farces.

I really don't get the effort to try to take her work so seriously now. It's some kind of critical revisionism.

David Cranmer said...

I watched THAT TOUCH OF MINK, just recently, and thought it had some very funny moments.

studio girl said...

Doris Day can do it all....she can sing, act both in comedy and dramatic roles and has been very under rated....and above all, a wonderful, caring lady....

Just wanted to alert ALL Doris Day fans to the following:

The 3 hour BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION first aired on on Doris's birthday will be rebroadcast this Sunday at 3:00PM (EST) - just go to:

Celebrity friends including Betty White, Tony Bennett, Wayne Newton, Vicki Lawrence, Debbie Reynolds, and many others, plus fans from all over the world paid tribute and left personal messages to America's Sweetheart. Mike DeVIta, host for the show, and host of their weekly DORIS DAY & FRIENDS show does a great job with her music and back stories...check out
They play THE BEST music of the 40s, 50s and 60s....

Discover Doris Day again with FredNetRadio! They play at least 4 of her songs an hour!

Mary Anne Barothy

MP said...

I can't recall now what moved me to do it, but a few months ago I got all three of the Day/Hudson/Randall comedies ("Pillow Talk", "Lover, Come Back", and "Send Me No Flowers") from Netflix. All three are absolutely delightful. I always liked Day, and found Hudson to be a much better actor than I'd remembered. Of course, Tony Randall steals every scene he's in from his more famous co-stars.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I agree that the Day-Hudson movies are incredibly good in expressing the times. Maybe you can't see it today, but there was something magical, lyrical about them. Randall is fabulous. Those who only know him from THE ODD COUPLE are missing a treat. And for anyone who hasn't heard Day sing before her voice was governed by her husband, try those early records.
Try to take yourself out of today's films and settle into 1960's world.