Monday, August 13, 2012

The "Midnight" Howler

Even I have been surprised at how much Warner Brothers product I have featured in The Underworld over the past couple of years, for I always thought of myself as a dyed-in-the-wool Universal Studios type of guy. I eat up all those colorful 1950s and '60s movies produced by Ross Hunter, with everything glossily appointed and featuring beautifully shellacked stars.

 When it comes to these, it's tough to outdo today's featured flick, a thriller which occasionally veers into high comedy. Even the title screams “Diaphanous Danger!” I refer to Midnight Lace. (Incidentally, it took everything in me not to title this post "Which One of You Bitches is Trying to Kill Me?," a perhaps too obscure reference to the camp-classic miniseries Lace, in which Phoebe Cates asked a trio of women, "Which one of you bitches is my mother?")

Released in 1960, Lace concerns an attractive, blonde newlywed (played by Doris Day – hey, at least she's not playing a virgin, so far as we can tell!) whose businessman husband (Rex Harrison) is based in London. It is here amid the heavy fog that Day first encounters the disembodied and eerie voice of a man who threatens to kill her. The credits haven't even rolled yet and Day has already careened around a park, thrashing and gasping in fear!

She makes it to the front of her flat and heads upstairs to Harrison who manages to allay her fears by telling her that it's nothing but a prank and that similar things are likely going on all around them. Sure enough, the following day she notes that a statue of Lord Horation Nelson has been painted pink! Having been tantalized by the notion of a honeymoon in Venice, she darts off to do some shopping and picks up the title number, a black satin and lace set of lounging pajamas which she shows to Harrison during a break from his board meeting.
He cancels their scheduled lunch date, so she heads back home, but just before entering is nearly felled by a rogue steel girder that falls from the sky during construction directly next to her apartment building! She is saved by the tall, dark and handsome foreman John Gavin. Do you think that since there are no less that three signs that say "DANGER," she might have chosen a different path or crossed the street later??
We're then introduced to her curvy neighbor Natasha Parry, who is awaiting the return of her husband from an extended trip, and her housekeeper Doris Lloyd, who is fighting a cold. Lloyd's son is also on hand in the form of Roddy McDowall and reveals himself to be a bit of a money-grubbing louse.
Then the phone calls begin. The same cretinous voice aurally assaults her with threats and “filth,” causing her all sorts of anxiety. Once he sees how upset Day is and after Parry encourages the idea as well, Harrison takes his distraught wife to Scotland Yard. There, she explains what has been happening to her and chief inspector John Williams hooks her up to recordings from the gallery of perverts they have caught in the act over the years. Williams and Harrison continue conversing while Day sits there ostensibly listening to any number of obscene remarks!
Soon, Day's aunt Myrna Loy pops in for a visit. The glamorous, well-connected woman is a source of comfort and support to Day, yet even she can never fully be certain that the caller even exists. He seems to catch Day alone and won't allow anyone else to hear his voice. Or is Day a lonely, desperate wife trying to win back her husband's attention? That seems to be the opinion of Williams and of one of Loy's male companions and Harrison's coworkers, Herbert Marshall.
Things get even more harrowing for Day when she is trapped in her building's old-fashioned elevator and approached by a shadowy figure. Turns out it is only Gavin, conveniently nearby to warn her about how his construction crew has blown the power. They go for a soothing drink only to have him tell her that he has what would today be called post traumatic stress disorder from his WWII service and sometimes suffers lengthy blackouts.
She then finds out that the trip to Venice, Italy is off. Later, at the ballet, Day is confronted by a needy McDowall who wants her to lend him money. When she refuses to see his viewpoint, he starts to imply that she might regret her decision. As Day's ordeal wears on, she starts to focus on a creepy-looking man she's spotted hanging around her apartment.

He even enters the place once, sending her soaring off the deep end and screaming for help. Things go from bad to worse when Day is standing on a street corner and suddenly finds herself flying off the curb and out into the path of an oncoming bus! (Or shall we say Doris' ungainly stunt double takes the plunge.) Now shaken to the core, she turns to Parry for solace, but since Harrison still isn't sure she's really going through all these things, she asks Parry to claim that she has heard the caller, too.
Harrison disproves this, which pushes Day into a further state of anxiety. Loy comes over to offer her support, but when she answers the ever-ringing phone, thinking it's the obscene caller, she claims that he told her he's been put up to it all along by Day herself! She starts to believe that Day is making it all up. This last nugget puts Day into complete hysterics and, with desperation that her husband and aunt believe her, she collapses completely on the stairs.
Harrison takes her to a doctor who wonders if Day might have a split personality. Knowing that nothing cures schizophrenia like a trip to Venice, Harrison promises to take her there after all and while she's packing her luxurious selection of Irene get-ups and negligees, the dreaded phone rings again! This time, Harrison hears the voice on the other end and swiftly decides to ensnare the fiend by pretending to leave the house, with Day (in her midnight lace ensemble) left as bait!
What follows is a scuffle, followed by a gunshot and then further circumstances which force Day out onto the girders of the construction site next door! I won't tell you here which of the many red herrings of the plot line turns out to be the real deal, but I must also say that it isn't particularly surprising for anyone who's ever seen one of these types of movies.

The sometimes-gimmicky story and the “mystery” of the threatening caller aren't really the draw here anyway. The primary assets of the movie are the plush, colorful settings and gorgeous costumes, the selection of notable names hired to tell the tale and the slick, glossy handling of the material. Then, there's the general appeal of Miss Doris Day, who always gave 100% to whatever she was doing, even if the property wasn't worth it.

As to this property, it was based on a play by British author Janet Green called “Matilda Shouted Fire” (which does make it sound a bit like it takes place in The Australian Outback!) Written in 1959, the title actually refers to an old nursery rhyme about a girl named Matilda who told tall tales. The woman in the play had been known to do the same as a young girl. One of Green's prior plays, “Murder Mistaken,” was turned into the 1955 Dirk Bogarde thriller Cast a Dark Shadow and after Lace, she wrote the screenplay for 1961's Victim, also starring Bogarde as a homosexual attorney fighting blackmailers.

The play appears to have been very little-produced, especially in recent years (though the title has since been changed to the not-much-better “Murder, My Sweet Matilda”), and when performed tends to get mixed to negative reviews. Midnight Lace changes the characters around somewhat. For example, Harrison's character in the play is a professional bookie, Day's, as mentioned above, has a history of lying fancifully as a child, Loy's aunt is more critical and disbelieving, McDowall's character is Loy's son, not the maid's and Gavin's character is more of a hulking, brick-laying lug. There are other male suspects as well.

As I said, Day was known for her professionalism and dedication, but, as an untrained actress, she called upon her own feelings and experiences in order to perform her roles. It was the ultimate “Method.” So, when her character is distraught, she actually dredged up some seriously unpleasant experiences from her life (a time when her first husband hurled her, while pregnant, against a wall) in order to convey the hysteria. For the weeks that this film spent shooting, she LIVED this scenario. Day actually has a true and real breakdown on camera at one point and production was halted for three days as a result.
She'd made the serious 1951 Storm Warning, albeit in a supporting part, then went dramatic twice in 1956. Once was the hysterical and now-campy Julie and the other time was Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, in which she was excellent. Her depiction of desperation and fatigue in the latter was real and raw for movies of that time. Still, the sure hand of Hitchcock was involved there while Lace was directed by David Miller, who could sometimes let his stars jump without a net.

He'd directed Joan Crawford to a Best Actress nomination with 1952's Sudden Fear, but there were also Lana Turner's Diane (1956), The Women remake, The Opposite Sex (1956), and Back Street (1961.) Not that I don't love them all, but they lean more towards the campy rather than the well-respected. See at left, June Allyson giving Joan Collins a hand in Sex. Still, Miller lends Lace a nice faux-Hitchcockian look with good use of shadows throughout and a certain degree of suspense.

Day tries her best, but it's hard sometimes to identify with her. Does she HAVE to answer the phone? Maybe in our call-screening, straight-to-voicemail times, we don't understand why she doesn't just take it off the hook. Not that this would aid her when being shoved bodily out into the street, though... At least she looks incredible throughout, thanks to Irene. Some foreign release posters cut right to the chase and featured an array of clothes rather than any scenes from the movie! This could be a musical or a comedy from this angle, fer cryin' out loud!

This was a co-production between my favorite gloss-meister Ross Hunter and Day's husband/manager Marty Melcher. (Melcher is on the left, Hunter on the right.) Hunter had been responsible for unearthing the heretofore under-emphasized body of Miss Day and having her dressed in neatly tailored clothes that showed off her impressive figure. The result was a major resurgence in her career and a long string of popular films.

There's a little tribute to Doris Day here. For many years, she's lived a quiet life in Carmel, California (as quiet as a home full of dogs can be!) and is now eighty-eight. Her fans, of which I am one, remain devoted to her and many still hold out hope that somehow she'll be presented with an Honorary Oscar due to her sizeable body of effervescent, captivating film work. Just before this film, she'd scored a major hit with Pillow Talk and was nominated as Best Actress for it (Simone Signoret won for Room at the Top that year.) So fond was she of the dress she wore to the ceremony, it was featured in Midnight Lace. She was nominated for a Best Actress-Drama Golden Globe for Lace, but lost to Greer Garson in Sunrise at Campobello.

Harrison was in a bit of a funk at the time of shooting because he'd just lost his beloved thirty-two year-old wife Kay Kendall to leukemia. He and Day got on well enough, but he did have a little snit with McDowall. You see, he and Roddy had just done a Broadway play together called “The Fighting Cock” and McDowall picked up a Tony as Best Featured Actor, while Harrison was snubbed. Harrison, in a pique of jealously, reportedly told McDowall what he could do with his statuette! (Harrison already had two Tonys by then, so who knows why he was so miffed.) Incidentally, Natasha Parry (the pretty neighbor of Lace) was also in the same play with these men, which is likely how she wound up in this film.

Harrison, who'd been working in films since the 1930s, enjoyed a career resurgence in the '60s with films like Cleopatra (1963), My Fair Lady (1964), The Agony and the Ecstacy (1965) and Doctor Dolittle (1967.) He was Oscar-nominated for Cleopatra (losing to Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field) and won Best Actor for My Fair Lady. He died in 1990 at the age of eighty-two from pancreatic cancer.

Gavin is another performer who's been featured here in The Underworld. So handsome, but undeniably limited in range, he puts forth a positively ghastly attempt at an accent here. Still, if one is going to be rescued from a perilous construction site, it's not so bad for the hero to be Gavin! He was in the midst of a career high at this point, having costarred in the gargantuan 1959 hit Imitation of Life and doing the same in the iconic, game-changing Hitchcock thriller Psycho the same year as this movie. He's currently eighty-one.

Ms. Loy was a captivating actress who'd been working since the 1920s. Best known for The Thin Man and its sequels, as well as for 1946's The Best Years of Our Lives, she was in her mid-fifties now and no longer a leading lady. The same year as Lace, she played Paul Newman's alcoholic mother in From the Terrace, but then disappeared from screens for almost a decade. There were some TV guest appearances, the 1969 film The April Fools and then the hooty Airport 1975 (1974.) Having retired in 1982, she received an Honorary Oscar in 1991 for her staggering body of work. (Interestingly, she was not present for the ceremony, a condition that the Academy now seems to require even though they frequently choose not to televise the special Oscars any more!) Her wry, naturalistic performances have stood the test of time, giving her a new fan base of movie lovers. She died during surgery in 1993 at age eighty-eight.
McDowall's role is considerably small here, consisting of just a couple of scenes. A child actor since the late-'30s, he successfully transitioned into adult roles, though rarely in a leading capacity. Close pal to many Hollywood stars - most notably Elizabeth Taylor - he was chums with Rock Hudson, too, though this was his only time working with Day. Due to a clerical error, he lost out on what might have been his shot at an Oscar with 1963's Cleopatra, for his name was submitted in the Best Actor category instead of Best Supporting Actor. He did take home an Emmy the year after Lace for a TV program (Sunday Showcase) he'd worked on the year before. As a cast member of 1972's The Poseidon Adventure, he has a special place in The Underworld. When he died in 1998 at the age of seventy (from lung cancer), he left a voluminous wealth of photos and insider gossip contained within his personal papers that he decreed could not be unsealed and presented to the public for one-hundred years! So, it looks like, unless I have my head frozen, I'm going to miss out on all those juicy details...

Marshall had been a 1930s leading man and a solid supporting actor from the '40s on, but was by now suffering from ill health. (He'd already lost one leg during WWI, but successfully obscured this during his career.) Some of his more enduring films include Trouble in Paradise (1932), The Painted Veil (1934) and The Letter (1940.) He continued to play authority figures until 1966 when he died of a heart attack at age seventy-five.

Parry had, in addition to a stage career, entered films as a teen in the late-'40s. She eventually began doing more television than movies, but worked rather steadily until the early-'80s. In 2002, she came back to play Gertrude in a TV re-imagining of one of Shakespeare's classics called The Tragedy of Hamlet. Still alive today, she is currently eighty-one.

Making two brief appearances as a chummy barmaid is Hermione Baddeley, who is probably best known in the U.S. for her three-season stint on Maude as housekeeper Mrs. Naugatuck (1974-1977), a part that landed her an Emmy in 1976. She also had roles in The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Mary Poppins (both 1964) and her teensy role (under three minutes of screen time!) in Room at the Top (1959) netted her an Oscar nomination. Shelley Winters won that year for The Diary of Anne Frank. After a nearly sixty-year career in films and television, Baddeley passed away in 1986 at the age of seventy-nine from a stroke.

Stalwart John Williams portrayed the chief inspector here, something he was was already quite familiar with thanks to having played a similar role on Broadway (which brought him a Tony) as well as the 1954 film adaptation of Dial M for Murder, a property that is not dissimilar from Midnight Lace. He even played that part again in a 1958 TV version of Murder starring Maurice Evans and Rosemary Harris. He retired in 1979 and was taken in 1983 by an aneurysm at age eighty.

Craggy Anthony Dawson was also in all three renditions of Dial M for Murder with Williams, playing the man blackmailed into trying to kill the leading lady. That connection is exploited here as he is seen skulking about Day's apartment, eventually entering it uninvited. After a fifty-year career in films, he died of cancer in 1992 at the age of seventy-five.

As with most Ross Hunter films, the supporting cast is made up of some sort of name down to even the smallest roles. For example, one of Harrison and Marshall's business associates is played by Richard Ney, best known for his role as Greer Garson's son in Mrs. Miniver (1942.) Surprising everyone, he then married her, though the union ultimately couldn't survive their age difference and separation during WWII. His career, while it did still limp along, also didn't survive WWII. Eventually, he became a successful financial advisor and author. In a WTF? sort of family tree line, he was the father of Rick Dufay, who played guitar for Aerosmith during the early-'80s, and, through Dufay, was the grandfather of actress Minka Kelly, who recently starred in the failed Charlie's Angels TV redux! Ney died in 2004 at the age of eighty-seven from heart problems.

Lloyd, who briefly plays Day's maid and McDowall's mother had played his mother twice before in Molly and Me (1945) and Holiday in Mexico (1946.) Her screen career of close to half a century most often had her playing the extremes of either a maid or a wealthy dowager. (She pops up briefly in 1965's The Sound of Music as Baroness Elberfeld, who compliments Captain Von Trapp on his children's voices.) Lloyd died of a heart ailment in 1968 at the age of seventy-one.

I Dream of Jeannie fans will recognize Hayden Rorke as the doctor who examines the dejected Day after her almost complete breakdown. He'd also had roles in her previous films Starlift (1951), Lucky Me (1954), Pillow Talk (1959) and would also pop up in 1963's The Thrill of It All. Rorke was a longtime pal of producer Hunter and worked in more than a dozen of his projects. He died in 1987 at the age of seventy-six from multiple myeloma.

Midnight Lace is glossy, plush and sparkling, and often unintentionally funny despite its efforts to be taken seriously as a thriller. There were two songs written for the film,”Midnight Lace” and “What Does a Woman Do?,” but they are presented instrumentally rather than have Day sing one of them as was the usual modus opperandi. Speaking of the music, the score comes courtesy of Frank Skinner, who provided the deliciously melodramatic strains for Written on the Wind (1956), Imitation of Life (1959), Portrait in Black (1960), Back Street (1961) and Madame X (1966), making him, in The Underworld at least, one of the industry's most neglected masters, though he did amass five unsuccessful Oscar noms over his lengthy career.

Lace marked the return to films (after a decade-long absence) of designer Irene, who had left the business allegedly due to the downbeat direction that films were heading (in the 1950s??) She'd been running her own fashion house when Day requested her services in order to provide the necessary seventeen costumes for the movie. She reunited with Day for Lover Come Back (1961) and then did the costumes for A Gathering of Eagles (1963), which starred Rock Hudson, but was dead before its release. In November of '62, she rented a room at the Knickerbocker Hotel, wrote a suicide note, slashed her wrists and then, when that didn't immediately result in her death, hurled herself out of the window, landing on the roof of the lobby below. A struggle with alcohol and an obsession with Gary Cooper (who'd died not long before) contributed to her suicidal condition. She was sixty-one. Her clothes in Lace were nominated for an Oscar (the film's sole nomination), but the costumes from Spartacus won that year.

Like most of Ross Hunter's Universal output, Midnight Lace was a hit with audiences.  His formula for beautiful ladies, done up to the nines and suffering (or, in some cases, providing laughs), paired with exquisite settings and heart-stirring music, stood him in good stead for quite a few years.  It was, however, the last time Day attempted anything significantly serious.  She would stick to comedies and music until her premature retirement from acting in 1973.
A hilarious epilogue involves the 1981 television remake of Midnight Lace, still called Midnight Lace even though by then the story had been augmented tremendously. In this version, the heroine is a TV reporter played by Mary Crosby who is stalked on the phone ad in the fog by a crazed maniac. Gary Frank plays her husband and supporting parts are essayed by Celeste Holm (as Crosby's mother), Carolyn Jones (as a psychic), Susan Tyrell and Shecky Greene (as the police lieutenant!)

Crosby (daughter of Bing, of course) was hot at the time for having been the one “who shot J.R.” on Dallas and this was her first leading role. Timothy Bottoms was to be her husband, but for some reason took a hike, leaving Frank the role. The original film might be campy, but in The Underworld campy trumps crappy any time! This was just one of many (inferior) TV-remakes which cast a bit of blight on their superior originals.


A said...

What a great post! I'm a big Doris Day fan - Regarding her "premature retirement from acting in 1973", I heard a fairly recent interview with her and she told the interviewer that she never retired, that "they just quit calling".

Also, I had never heard the tale of Irene. Love your site!

John Going Gently said...

Hermione Baddeley
she with a face like uncooked pastry!

joel65913 said...

Marvelous as always! I love, love, love Midnight Lace for all its wretched excess and Doris suffering in all her vaseline lensed glory! Myrna is also wonderfully chic here except in that one unfortunate scene where she appears to be wearing a flower basket turned upside down on her head.
John Gavin never disappoints, always stunningly handsome and woodenly awful.
The one puzzler of the film is that with that cast and director coming from Universal, a studio that is very good about getting their catalogue out to the public, why this has never been released on DVD. I have an old tape from American Movie Classics, back when they were a real movie station not the mess they are today, that I fear is starting to wear so hopefully it will become available at least as an on demand title at some point.
I don't buy that they stopped calling line from Miss Day, Albert Brooks approached her for Mother before casting Debbie Reynolds for one thing. But if that's the line she wants to go with that's her privilege. I think she was wise to leave everyone wanting more.

Scooter said...

Love the post - always interesting insight and details. Have to admit, though, I am going hone in on one of your incidental mentions. I LOVE LACE, the schlocky mim-series from the 80's. My absoute favorite and I bought it on dvd! "Which one of you bitches is my mother?" has to be among the all-time classic lines!

Poseidon3 said...

Hey there, y'all. Thanks for your remarks. I'm glad to see some Doris and some Midnight Lace love.

When it comes to her "retirement," I feel like a lot of factors are involved. You have a HUGE box office star who was forced into some substandard movies followed by a TV-series that went through several permutations to where it was probably a case of fatigue combined with oversaturation. A break was definitely deserved and perhaps the producers were fine with that, too, as tastes were changing so much. Then, when they turned around and realized that a) the world still could use some Doris Day in it and b) that she had plenty left to give, SHE had gotten used to a comfortable, pleasant life outside the circus of Hollywood filmmaking. This, paired with her commitment to animals, led her to turn down offers. I still recall that time she accepted a Golden Globe (looking great by the way) and said that she felt ready to come back, but either no good offers came her way or else she must not have liked the material offered her. I mean, Claudette Colbert, Loretta Young and Maureen O'Hara were all coming back for one last hurrah, but we couldn't get Doris out of Carmel for almost anything! I respect her choices, but wish she'd have done one or two more things because of what she'd have brought to them.

Michael O'Sullivan said...

Loved Midnight Lace, great reading about it again. Whats hilarious for me is that it is set in London - but obviously filmed on the Universal backlot, with some establishing shots in London and the scene with the London bus... hilariously done. Its almost as good as Portrait in Black !

Poseidon3 said...

Yes, Michael! I think that's why Doris has some of those hats on... to help disguise the stand-in. Oh, and Joel, YES Myrna's one hat is just dreadful. Otherwise, she looks chic, but my God that awful upturned thing on her head is just hideous. IIFC, she'd just come from the hair salon, too!! Why go have your hair set and then plant a fugly hat right on top of it??

Labuanbajo said...

Doris, what's this with the fur muff? We thought you were an animal rights activist!

Colonel Potterby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colonel Potterby said...

Thank you for this excellent post about "Midnight Lace." Near the beginning when you made a "virgin" crack, I thought, "Uh, Oh. Here we go again." But as I read on I learned that you are a major Doris fan and that the comment was obviously lighthearted. I recall in Doris' autobiography her listing all the husbands and children she had in her various movies, and yet the virgin tag persists. I suppose it is because her biggest hits played on that. Actually, it was mainly "That Touch of Mink." In "Pillow Talk" it was more about her not being interested in men who just wanted that one thing! As a friend of mine put it, "She certainly wasn't hesitant about going to Connecticut with him."

But I digress. As far as "Midnight Lace," it is somewhat entertaining. The problem I always had with it was that Doris' character started out in extreme distress from the very first scene. There seemed to be nowhere to build from there. It seems to me that it would have been more effective if at first she was just a bit spooked or even perplexed or annoyed, and then when it did not stop she would begin unraveling. Then I realized that by making her seem so high strung from the beginning that it was easier to make the case that she was someone who had some mental problems. I do not recall if they ever touched upon her telling tales when she was younger, as in the play. But I do not think they did.

It certainly has a gorgeous look, and must have been great to see on a huge screen in a movie palace of the day. I think this was about the only time in Doris' career (or maybe in her life) where her hair was done in a flip. It was very flattering, and the costumes were beautiful. A previous posted mentioned the fur muff. Doris has said that when she looks back she cannot believe how she wore fur all those years ago.

Doris also remarked about how her dramatic films that were done with her husband producing had her playing a woman who is threatened by her husband, and how that was kind of odd. What I wish they had made instead of this movie is a lush Ross Hunter romance/soap opera with Doris in the lead. That would have been interesting, as she never did a love story of that type. She did lots of comic love stories, of course, but nothing serious. You could say that "Young at Heart" had a serious aspect to the love story, and it did. And there was "Love Me or Leave Me," which could fall into the serious love story category. But I am talking about a real old-fashioned "women's picture."

Here is a link to a photo I came across just the other day. It is Doris and Tony Curtis on the set of this movie. I wonder if there were ever discussions of a movie starring the two of them.

As always, you do a great job with this blog. I always look forward to your new posts.

Poseidon3 said...

Dcolp, thanks so much for your insightful comments and information. I would indeed have loved to have seen Doris in a plush '60s soaper on the big screen. Along those lines, When Doris showed up at the Globes to receive her honorary award and said she was ready to come back, I was really hoping that somehow she would be cast on Dynasty as Krystle's supposedly deceased (but we were never given details) mother Iris. I could almost believe that sunshiny Doris had raised the sensitive and altruistic Krystle and it would have been neat to see her glammed up and going head to head with Alexis and others (though at that point, one really couldn't have trusted the writers to handle her - or much of anything - very well.)

I feel a special kinship for Doris because she was born and raised just 2 miles from where I live (and Vera-Ellen only blocks from me!) But even so, she's just one of those unique stars who brought so much joy and brightness to things and, even though her life wasn't always easy, tended to avoid scandal and squalor.

Colonel Potterby said...

Your "Dynasty" idea for Doris is very interesting. I can see that. I know for years there were comments in the papers or magazines that Doris was going to do this or that TV movie or whatever, but nothing ever happened, as we know.

I am from Dayton, although I have not lived there for years. I do get back there occasionally. My mother's voice did not sound like Doris', but her accent and the cadence of her speech and inflections were very similar. My mother was born in Columbus and her family moved to Dayton when she was nine, so of course she and Doris grew up in the same region as far as accents. In "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," when Doris says, "That salesman unnerved me" regarding that bowl with the apple in it, I always can hear my mother saying that. It is something about how she says it as well as how she pronounces "unnerved." Now and then in her other movies I have experienced that also.

Poseidon3 said...

Thanks, dcolp, that regional accent/manner may help explain why I feel added affection or association with Day beyond the fact that her early years were spent nearby. Sadly for me, too many of my own mother's inflections bring back memories of Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest! LOLOL Seriously!

Ken Anderson said...

This movie is a real favorite of mine. I've seen it more times than i can name, yet ( no disrespect to those who love it, seriously)I seem to find something new to laugh at every time I revisit it. Everything is so false and stagey in that Ross Hunter way and Rex Harrison always looks like he'd rather be anywhere else. For all the laughs I get at the terrible fashions and over-familiar dialog, I have to say that no one does a breakdown better than Day. She's Oscar-worthy in that elevator scene. Loved reading about all the other cast members though, and i especially enjoy your common sense observations (those DANGER signs, her not needing to pick up the phone - really...what important call would she be missing if she left it off the hook?).
As always a fu, fun read...I've been away too long!