A few words about…™ The Glass Bottom Boat – in Blu-ray

A pity, as the new release is A quality. 4 Stars

As is usually the case, Warner Archive’s new Blu-ray of the 1966 M-G-M film, The Glass Bottom Boat, is a stunner.

What it has going for it, is some beautifully photographed scenery around Catalina Island.

Other than that, the Frank Tashlin “comedy,” really isn’t much of one. The gags never seem to work.

While I’ve always been a fan of Rod Taylor and Doris Day, this one is for their most stalwart fans only. As for Arthur Godfrey – never like the man, and he can’t act.

A pity, as the new release is A quality.

One of the questions I ask myself at times like this, is “does the film simply not stand the test of time, or was it not terribly good upon initial release?”

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

58 Comments

  1. Robert Harris


    One of the questions I ask myself at times like this, is "does the film simply not stand the test of time, or was it not terribly good upon initial release?"

    It can be both! 😀

    "GBB" is fascinating as a document of bad combovers. The Blu-ray makes it clearer than ever that poor Rod Taylor was battling baldness in 1966, and he wasn't alone among the castmembers!

  2. I lapped this one up like it was honey! But I'll be upfront, I adore Doris Day even in drek but I do think Glass Bottom Boat is cute. Hell, I'm even a big fan of Caprice which many consider one of DD's worst. Actually, the only DD film that pains me to watch is The Ballad Of Josie but other than that dud, if Doris is in it, it goes to the head of the class.

  3. Thomas T

    I lapped this one up like it was honey! But I'll be upfront, I adore Doris Day even in drek but I do think Glass Bottom Boat is cute. Hell, I'm even a big fan of Caprice which many consider one of DD's worst. Actually, the only DD film that pains me to watch is The Ballad Of Josie but other than that dud, if Doris is in it, it goes to the head of the class.

    I’ll go with Calamity Jane

  4. trajan007

    I read somewhere that she was considered for SOUTH PACIFIC, but somehow ruined her chance to be in it.

    She ruined her chance to be Nellie when she was asked to sing at a party that Josh Logan attended and she declined. At least, that's what I've always heard.

  5. Matt Hough

    She ruined her chance to be Nellie when she was asked to sing at a party that Josh Logan attended and she declined. At least, that's what I've always heard.

    So then perhaps what you’re really saying is that Joshua Logan & Co loused up the chance to have the incomparable Doris Day grace South Pacific.

  6. RMajidi

    So then perhaps what you’re really saying is that Joshua Logan & Co loused up the chance to have the incomparable Doris Day grace South Pacific.

    They did indeed. Mitzi was fine but Doris could have been deeply moving, funny, and, of course, magnificently mellow on those numbers.

  7. notmicro

    Day in 3-strip Technicolor – but only "Calamity Jane" is available on Blu :angry:

    Romance on the High Seas (1948)

    My Dream Is Yours (1949)

    It's a Great Feeling (1949)

    Tea for Two (1950)

    Lullaby of Broadway (1951)

    On Moonlight Bay (1951)

    April in Paris (1952)

    By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953)

    Calamity Jane (1953)

    Well, I'm one of the oddballs here, but I actually like Calamity Jane, and consider it one of my favorite Doris Day movies. But I'd certainly be in for any of the others in this list, too! That's the biggest reason I actually wanted to get The Glass Bottom Boat right away, is that I want more Doris Day, since it's been nearly 2.5 years since the last WAC Doris Day release. Otherwise, I'd probably be waiting for a sale to grab this one. I just wish Amazon would get some copies in and start shipping, instead of this long waiting period.

  8. I saw it at a sneak preview, where it bombed completely, not a laugh to be heard. I've never liked it, frankly, but will get the Blu-ray for the quality and to see the Tashlin work, which even all these years later I recall not really being in evidence. I much prefer Bachelor Flat for his 60s work. Let's have THAT on Blu-ray.

  9. I still have yet to watch Storm Warning, The West Point Story, Billy Rose's Jumbo, and The Pajama Game (I'm sort of ashamed as a Doris Day fan to realize that, but happy at the same time that there's so much more to see, which I suppose is why I've dragged my feet for so long to wrap up first time viewings of her entire filmography).

    But of those I've seen, my least favorites easily are Love Me or Leave Me and Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?. Don't really envision myself ever rewatching either one, where as I could sit through Calamity Jane again someday and be mildly amused.

    I enjoy her musicals from her Warner years, especially Tea for Two. But like many Doris Day fans, it's really 1959 onward that I love. Starting with the criminally underrated It Happened to Jane, and then of course all the romantic comedies and her final drama with Midnight Lace.

    The Glass Bottom Boat isn't an A tier Doris Day picture for me, but I do think it's at the top of my list for 2nd tier Doris Day films.

  10. Ack! Love Me or Leave Me is among my top five FAVORITE Doris Day films. Getting the Blu-ray for that was a dream come true, and I have watched it many times since acquiring it. Different strokes, for sure!

  11. Matt Hough

    Ack! Love Me or Leave Me is among my top five FAVORITE Doris Day films. Getting the Blu-ray for that was a dream come true, and I have watched it many times since acquiring it. Different strokes, for sure!

    Yeah, I don't think my opinion would be the popular one. It was well liked back at its original release (Including an Academy Award) and still receives a lot of respect from classic film fans. If I'm not mistaken, i believe Doris Day has even said it's her favorite.

    I wish I'd of enjoyed it similarly.

  12. Since I mentioned it, my top five favorite Doris Day films (in order of release):

    Calamity Jane
    Love Me or Leave Me
    The Pajama Game
    Pillow Talk
    The Thrill of It All

    Midnight Lace, Send Me No Flowers, and That Touch of Mink vie to inch into the group at various times.

  13. Besides Calamity Jane, I also like Love Me Or Leave Me, Tea For Two, On Moonlight Bay and By The Light Of The Silvery Moon. I'll admit, though, that I haven't seen all of her early musicals, and, amongst her movies, they are the ones I want the most. Like I said, if it weren't for the long time between releases of her films from WAC, I would otherwise wait for a sale on Glass Bottom Boat, as I'm not so fond of her sixties films. But, I want WAC to see that there is demand for more of her films (hopefully coming more frequently), so I'll live with buying this one full price.

  14. atcolomb

    I did like watching It Happened to Jane with Jack Lemmon & Ernie Kovacs which shows up on TCM once in awhile.

    It was on Amazon Prime free for members some time ago. It may still be there. I like it a lot.

  15. Matt Hough

    It was on Amazon Prime free for members some time ago. It may still be there. I like it a lot.

    In addition to Doris, it’s another delightful Richard Quine/Jack Lemmon/Ernie Kovacs film from Sony that I was hoping Twilight Time might put out on blu-ray after Bell, Book and Candle.

  16. JohnMor

    I enjoy the film for the most part. Great supporting cast (including the Kravitzes. :lol:) And it is MILES ahead of the awful Day-Taylor film, Do Not Disturb.

    Yes, it's a pleasure to see Gladys and Abner in panavision and colour! Alice Pearce and George Tobias are basically playing the precise same married couple here that they played in Bewitched. (Sadly, Alice died before Bewitched switched over to colour.)

  17. "I read somewhere that she was considered for SOUTH PACIFIC, but somehow ruined her chance to be in it."

    Another part of the reason Doris didn't get South Pacific, from what I've heard, is that R&H absolutely despised Martin Melcher, Doris' husband/manager. He inserted himself into every project on which Doris was involved, and they refused to work with him.

  18. "So then perhaps what you’re really saying is that Joshua Logan & Co loused up the chance to have the incomparable Doris Day grace South Pacific."

    That isn't all that Joshua Logan loused up, in regards to South Pacific—ha!

  19. The Glass Bottom Boat is far from my favourite Day picture, but I've seen it a few times and do get a mild laugh out of it, so I'll probably purchase the blu-ray, though I'll wait for a sale. This isn't a great picture, but it is better than the worst of her late-1960s offerings, which in my opinion include:
    Do Not Disturb
    Caprice
    The Ballad of Josie
    Where Were You When the Lights Went Out

    Doris herself didn't care for most of the films she made between 1965 and 1968 (With Six You Get Egg Roll, her final film, was an exception; she liked that one). According to her autobiography, her husband signed her on to most of these films against her wishes, or without her even knowing about it.

    This string of bad pictures, from 1965-1968, is part of what killed Doris' film career; after many years of her being at the top of her game and much loved by audiences, her popularity plummeted in the mid-to-late 1960s. But that wasn't the only reason. She had by that time reached her mid-forties, and just about every female star of that age was having trouble finding starring roles. Plus, in the mid-to-late 1960s audience tastes, and the types of films that were made, changed DRASTICALLY. Doris wasn't interested in being a part of the tough new gritty Hollywood, and was happy enough to bow out to go and work on television. Her subsequent television series was a popular success (at least, it did well enough in the ratings) and ran for five years.

  20. octobercountry

    and was happy enough to bow out to go and work on television. Her subsequent television series was a popular success (at least, it did well enough in the ratings) and ran for five years.

    Well, she might have been happy to bow out from the "new" Hollywood but she wasn't happy working on TV. Her husband signed her up for the TV series without her knowledge and though she didn't want to do the show, she honored her contract.

  21. octobercountry

    Yes, it's a pleasure to see Gladys and Abner in panavision and colour! Alice Pearce and George Tobias are basically playing the precise same married couple here that they played in Bewitched. (Sadly, Alice died before Bewitched switched over to colour.)

    3 "Bewitched" cast members appear in "GBB" – all 3 are dead now. Curse?

  22. Thomas T

    Well, she might have been happy to bow out from the "new" Hollywood but she wasn't happy working on TV. Her husband signed her up for the TV series without her knowledge and though she didn't want to do the show, she honored her contract.

    Yeah, I was under the impression that Day bailed on movies because she was stuck doing that TV show.

    Really does seem abrupt, though – she made 80 skillion movies until 1968 and then never again!

  23. Thomas T

    Well, she might have been happy to bow out from the "new" Hollywood but she wasn't happy working on TV. Her husband signed her up for the TV series without her knowledge and though she didn't want to do the show, she honored her contract.

    As well as two specials including The Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff Special – :rock:of which I have fond memories – which is apparently on DVD under the Doris Day Special …

  24. Colin Jacobson

    Yeah, I was under the impression that Day bailed on movies because she was stuck doing that TV show.

    Really does seem abrupt, though – she made 80 skillion movies until 1968 and then never again!

    Even with a full season pick up there would have been time to make films on hiatus …
    The type films she was making (the girl who won't) weren't being made anymore (it was now the girl who did everything … sometimes for free .. but always with a heart of gold;) )
    Imagine
    "Doris Day in Klute!" 😮
    I was told as well that a lot of the film producers didn't like to use "TV stars" in films – "People won't pay money to see people they can see for free" – That has changed now, with many top billed stars starting in TV …

  25. B-ROLL

    Even with a full season pick up there would have been time to make films on hiatus …

    Sure, but she may not have wanted to work that much at that stage of her career.

    I do agree that she became "passe" and audiences in the 70s might not have liked to see her as they did in the 50s/60s.

    She probably could've found a home with live-action family films, though! Stuff like Disney pumped out in the 70s…

  26. "Well, she might have been happy to bow out from the "new" Hollywood but she wasn't happy working on TV. Her husband signed her up for the TV series without her knowledge and though she didn't want to do the show, she honored her contract."

    That's true enough—she was kind of blindsided by this television series. But, in her autobiography, she said that in the end it was the best thing that could have happened to her at that point in her life. Her husband had unexpectedly died, and she found that he had squandered her entire fortune—she was broke and had to work.

    In complete shock, she began shooting the series, but as the weeks went on the very routine nine-to-five regular work of a television series kept her focused and on track while she sorted out her finances and the personal turmoil she was going through as she processed just what a rat her husband had been.

    That first year she just did as she was told, but as the series went on she became more and more interested and started exerting a greater amount of creative control. Which is why the format of the show kept changing—basically, every year it was a new set-up!

  27. Could Doris have found work in the "new" Hollywood of the late 60s and early 70s? She continuously reinvented herself throughout her career, and I think that—even given the fact that she had reached that age where it's difficult to find good roles—she could have continued working. A discussion about her taking the role of Mrs Robinson HERE ; there are several variations to the story, but she undoubtedly could have been a serious contender.

  28. "She probably could've found a home with live-action family films, though! Stuff like Disney pumped out in the 70s…"

    Yes, even if Doris didn't want to make the grittier films that were popular in that era, she almost certainly could have gone the Disney route and continued to make goofy family comedies on both the large and small screens for another twenty years.

    But by the time her series was over, she was simply ready to retire. She was never obsessed with her career and never thrilled about living in LA. And once she had her television money, plus the funds she was able to recover through a lawsuit against her husband's business partner, she was financially secure enough to just leave it all behind and live a quiet life, focusing on her animal charity work.

    And it's amazing that she's still with us—just think, 97 years old!

  29. As I recall, when Day left Hollywood after doing her TV series, she didn't consider herself retired from acting and still read scripts and considered offers that came her way. But she didn't like the stuff she was being offered. She said it wasn't until she met with Albert Brooks and read his script of Mother which she really liked that she realized the script she had been waiting for had arrived but she had lost all interest in acting. So that chapter in her life was closed once and for all. Debbie Reynolds ended up playing the part.

  30. Mother is a delightful film as is, but wouldn't it have been a treat to see her again after all those years with such a delightful role to play! Reynolds earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, and Doris might have won and even gone on to score another Oscar nomination (there was serious talk about Reynolds earning an Oscar bid and was one of the major entries in the snub news the day after nominations were announced).

  31. Watched the blu-ray last night. Gorgeous transfer, but a lot of teal.

    Just kidding. 😀 There *is* teal, but in the delightful production design and the costumes by Ray Aghayan. I never noticed how many dresses in the big party sequence are shades of teal and that Ellen Corby’s teal dress actually matches the teal highlights in the kitchen. So Doris’ entrance in her bright yellow coat makes quite a splash. The entire party sequence is really marvelous.

    And Doris looks great in her bright colors and her deep tan.

    Equally gorgeous though is the HD transfer of The Dot and the Line. It really shines on this disc.

  32. One note about Day in "GBB": she looked pretty damned good!

    To modern eyes, most 40-somethings in the 60s look like they're 10-15 years older. Rod Taylor was only 36 but he easily looks like a guy 20 years older than that.

    Day seems younger than 44, though – a real accomplishment for that era!

  33. octobercountry

    Another part of the reason Doris didn't get South Pacific, from what I've heard, is that R&H absolutely despised Martin Melcher, Doris' husband/manager. He inserted himself into every project on which Doris was involved, and they refused to work with him.

    To hear Doris tell it, this may have been part of the reason. Jonathan Schwartz recently played an interview he did with Doris in 2010 in which he asked about South Pacific. She said she was offered the part, met with Rodgers & Hammerstein about it, that the meeting went well, and then her began "wheeling and dealing" with them. It's unclear whether Melcher asked for too much, wanted too much control, or if they weren't willing to pay Doris' established rate for a film. She indicates she had no interest or involvement in the business side of things and let her husband handle all that, though she did comment that she'd heard Mitzi Gaynor did the film for a very low price.

    The interview is archived on Schwartz' site:
    http://thejonathanstation.com/archive/

    Scroll down to the "Saturday Show 04-06-2019". The interview with Doris begins 30 minutes into the show, with the South Pacific story starting around the 1:08.30 mark.

    The full interview runs over an hour and is delightful. Doris Day fans who haven't heard it should check it out.

  34. "The interview with Doris begins 30 minutes into the show, with the South Pacific story starting around the 1:08.30 mark."

    Thanks so much for the link—fascinating stuff! Quite apart from the fact that he stole all her money, I think Doris' husband Marty probably did her career more harm than good, overall. (Particularly at at the end when he seemed to be getting more desperate and signed her up for all those awful pictures one after the other.) Nobody seems to have a good word to say about Martin Melcher; everything I've read about him has been negative.

  35. octobercountry

    "The interview with Doris begins 30 minutes into the show, with the South Pacific story starting around the 1:08.30 mark."

    Thanks so much for the link—fascinating stuff! Quite apart from the fact that he stole all her money, I think Doris' husband Marty probably did her career harm numerous times over the years. (Particularly at the end when he seemed to be getting more desperate and signed her up for all those awful pictures one after the other.) Nobody seems to have a good word to say about Martin Melcher; everything I've read about him has been negative.

    Doris Day in a television interview about thirty years ago said that she had always got on very well with Frank Sinatra but that when they worked together on Young At Heart, Sinatra really did not like Marty Melcher.

  36. Robin9

    Doris Day in a television interview about thirty years ago said that she had always got on very well with Frank Sinatra but that when they worked together on Young At Heart, Sinatra really did not like Marty Melcher.

    At one point in the production, Sinatra actually had Melcher barred from the lot. I don’t know why that tickles me so much.

  37. JohnMor

    At one point in the production, Sinatra actually had Melcher barred from the lot. I don’t know why that tickles me so much.

    If I remember correctly, Doris mentioned that in the same interview. I wish I still had it. I recorded it onto VHS but I don't have it any more.

  38. LeoA

    Surprised to hear that The Glass Bottom Boat isn't well liked. It's one of my favorites.

    Same here.. It's an enjoyable, not-too demanding time-killer and, well, there are far worse ways to kill 1.5+/- hrs. Atleast here on HTF it may not be held in the highest esteem. Dunno abt the general, somewhat-more tolerant population (I don't really trust the review-aggregator sites). Anyway, I, for one, love the film.

  39. ^^^

    In 1993 when I saw the musical SUNSET BLVD. a few times, I thought Doris Day would be great in that if they made a movie version of it. She'd been out of the public eye awhile and would fit the role in ways that Gloria Swanson did when the film first appeared.

    If I mentioned it back then everyone would say, maybe, but she's too old. She's 70. Cut to this year when it's planned to become a movie with Glenn Close. Who's now 72.
    _______

    In 1989 I recall that Doris Day was in talks to do a movie version of West Side Waltz. I saw the Ernest Thomson (On Golden Pond) play with Katharine Hepburn. Also that year she had agreed to appear on the Oscar telecast, but it was reported that she had cut her foot working in her garden and wouldn't be able to attend. Since there was always talk of her being reclusive, I wondered if that was true or an excuse. In any event, she didn't do West Side Waltz (it was done in 1995 as a TV film, with Shirley MacLaine) and she didn't appear on the Oscars.

  40. octobercountry

    And it's amazing that she's still with us—just think, 97 years old!

    And still no honorary Oscar.

    (And please don't respond to this sentiment saying AMPAS won't give her one because she doesn't want one or wouldn't go to accept it. There is no rule requirement beforehand that you show up or even want the award to be afforded the honor.)

  41. B-ROLL

    As well as two specials including The Doris Mary Anne Kappelhoff Special – of which I have fond memories – which is apparently on DVD under the Doris Day Special …

    Both of the specials were released on DVD.

    octobercountry

    She was never obsessed with her career and never thrilled about living in LA.

    I wonder what your source is for this statement. Because she retired to Carmel doesn't necessarily equate to "never thrilled about living in L.A." Doris is one person who has never bashed "Hollywood" or her time spent there, as some people are wont to do. I saw an interview with her where she said she absolutely loved being there and talked about how excited she was every morning to go to the studio and work on her films.

  42. I enjoy this movie despite its silliness, possibly because of one scene, where Doris sings the title song with her movie Dad Arthur Godfrey. There's a natural interplay between the two of them that seems improvised even if it wasn't; in any case it's my favorite part of the film.

  43. mark-edk

    I enjoy this movie despite its silliness, possibly because of one scene, where Doris sings the title song with her movie Dad Arthur Godfrey. There's a natural interplay between the two of them that seems improvised even if it wasn't; in any case it's my favorite part of the film.

    Terrific scene. Definitely a highlight.

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