Thursday, April 3, 2008

Day Day

Today is the 84th birthday of actress Doris Day, and in her honor, I'd like to mention one of her movies that deserves to be released on DVD, and that TCM did not show as part of their birthday tribute to her: Julie.

In this rare straight-up dramatic role, Day plays Julie Benton, a stewardess whose first husband has died and has retired from her job after remarrying, this time to Louis Jourdan. Unfortunately, she discovers that he's insanely jealous -- and she slowly has good reason to believe that he's jealous enough to try to kill her! Now, I could understand wanting to kill Doris Day because she's too goddam perky all the time, but not for this!

So, she decides to leave him and go back to her job as a stewardess. Unfortunately for her, he finds out where she is, and you can guess what happens next. He ends up on one of her flights, and when she goes into the cockpit, he follows her in there eventualy shooting the pilot in the ensuing scuffle, which forces her to land the plane! Never let it be said that Hollywood can't come up with a doozy of a plot!

The interesting thing, however, is that despite the half-baked nature of the plot, Day shows that she could have a broader range if the movie called for it. And as such, it's too bad that she spent most of her acting career singing and playing in light romantic comedies. Louis Jourdan isn't that bad, either, despite being the one forced to play the worse (in the sense of the way he's exploited by the plot) role. The "insanely jealous" spouse movie seems to produce a lot of melodrama and overwrought characters, with it being difficult to pull off the role of the jealous spouse well. Even a normally excellent actress like Joan Crawford wasn't quite up to the task in 1950's Harriet Craig.

As I mentioned, Julie is not yet available on DVD, and that's a shame, since more people ought to see that Doris Day was better than being stuck in "light" entertainment.

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