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A Few Words About A few words about... Ms. Day...

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Even if one doesn't like musicals, films of the 1940s, '50s or into the '60s, it would be very difficult not to like Doris Day.

    With a career spanning two decades and 38 feature films, Doris Day's delightlfully talented and perky image moved through the era beginning with her years at Warner Brothers and then through the various studios, with a pleasant stop at Universal for a group of films with Rock Hudson.

    Although a few of her films have been released on DVD, the day of Day seems to have finally arrived. Recently Columbia has given us It Happend to Jane and Paramount the VistaVision Teacher's Pet, both worth adding to one's collections.

    Now from WB comes the Doris Day collection of Lullaby of Broadway in three-strip Technicolor from 1951, Love Me or Leave Me in the widest of the CinemaScope aspect ratios from 1955, Michael Curtiz' (we've been hearing a great deal about Mr. Curtiz recently) Young Man with a Horn co-starring with Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall, Billy Rose's Jumbo and The Glass Bottom Boat, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, packaged along in the boxed set with the previously issued Calamity Jane and Pajama Game.

    I've previewed to of the films, which I believe would be the most problematic.

    Love Me or Leave Me (1955), in the early (and problematic) CinemaScope system looks better than I've seen it look since I saw it in a theatre when I was a child. Sonically, it sounds as I've never heard it, in stereo, with (I"m told) orchestrations newly restored from original recordings.

    The film has been beautifully handled and is up to the quality we've come to expect from WB.

    Lullaby of Broadway, which I last saw on television eons ago, is a nice representation of early 1950s three-strip, toward the end of the process.

    I'll leave it to the reviewers to go through the entire boxed set, but from my perspective, the technical folks have done a superb job, and the set is a safe buy.

    As for Ms. Day, I'm told that she lives in northen California in the privacy which she so richly deserves. At the ripe old age of 39+, we wish her many more years of good health, and thank her for the pleasure that her work has given us over the years. We know that her work at both Warners and M-G-M are properly preserved and cared for.

    RAH
     
  2. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    What wonderful news, from our ever-amazing mentor and historian Mr. Harris....

    I'm dying for this set, and haven't been able to snag an early copy, even with my friends who review DVDs for a living.....

    These are all exceptionally good films, and they show just a bit of Ms. Day's incredible range of talents.

    Counting the days!
     
  3. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    Mr. Harris, thanks for taking the time to write about the quality of the 2 DVDs. I am especially looking forward to seeing (and hearing) Love Me or Leave Me now.

    And a big thank you for nodding the hat to one of my all-time favorite film stars, and certainly an actress that I feel is vastly underrated for never having had an acting lesson in her life. Even in the occasional mediocre vehicles (and all stars have them on their resume), she always gave 150% and made the material seem even better than it sometimes was. I think that many a lackluster filmmaker or writer was infinitely fortunate to have her cast in their film, because she brought a vivacity and dedication to her performance (not to mention a vast pre-sold audience) to some films that frankly may not have had too much else going for them except for being a "Doris Day film." Although, thankfully, this boxset seems to have mostly gems in it.

    Hopefully with the release of so many Day films on DVD, new generations may discover her without all the misconceptions about "virginity" and carping about Vaseline filters that have plagued many discussions of her career for the last 40 years.

    She really was a remarkable entertainer.
     
  4. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    As those who've seen my week-old thread on this box already know - I concur with Mr. Harris. I've watched almost all the films and they all look great. Young Man with a Horn is incredably sharp, with great contrast.
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    For those that haven't seen this film, you're in for a real treat if you buy this dvd. It's a very underrated film with some great performances by Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day and Juano Hernandez.
     
  6. ArthurMy

    ArthurMy Supporting Actor

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    Completely agree, a great film from Mr. Curtiz, who probably made more great films than anybody. As great as everyone is, for me the best performance in the film came from Juano Hernandez - he should have won an Academy Award for it.
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    As far as the old-time directors, he probably is the most overlooked. If you look at the list of his films and how many different genres he directed, his career becomes even more impressive.





    Crawdaddy
     
  8. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Young Man With A Horn is a wonderfully entertaining film. I first encountered this on Laserdisc about 5 or 6 years ago and have been a fan ever since. This will probably be the first title in the Day collection that I view. ( Also in complete agreement regarding the merits of Michael Curtiz. The scope, quality, and longevity of his directorial career is extremely impressive. )

    - Walter.
     
  9. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    Agree totally about Curtiz.

    In fact, I would have loved to have seen one of Doris' 3 other Curtiz films in the set instead of Lullaby of Broadway. Perhaps either Romance on the High Seas or I'll See You In My Dreams. But then I guess I'll have those to look forward to in the Signature Collection someday.
     
  10. Jon Hertzberg

    Jon Hertzberg Screenwriter

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    Bravo to Curtiz and producer Jerry Wald for providing good roles for Juano Hernandez in this and the same year's The Breaking Point. They were certainly ahead of the game on this count.
     
  11. Shawn Cornwell

    Shawn Cornwell Stunt Coordinator

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    I think Day possibly reached her peak as a vocalist in "Horn." She's in superb voice throughout, and her rendition of "With a Song in My Heart" is perfection. Looking forward to this set.
     
  12. Sergio A

    Sergio A Stunt Coordinator

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    ***
    Bravo to Curtiz and producer Jerry Wald for providing good roles for Juano Hernandez in this and the same year's The Breaking Point. They were certainly ahead of the game on this count.
    ***

    Couldn't agree more - BREAKING POINT is a sadly neglected film that is beautifully shot in Curtiz' smooth, extraordinarily controlled later style that just oozes panache.

    Am really looking forward to YOUNG MAN, which also has a brilliantly malevolent performance from Lauren Bacall. It's amazing that all three of the film's principal players are still around.
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I just watched the "Young Man with a Horn" dvd and the only thing I can say about it is that Warner did a superb job with this dvd. What a beautiful video presentation and the audio wasn't bad either with Doris Day's singing and Harry James playing his trumpet.[​IMG] I've seen this film many times, but my viewing of it today was like seeing it for first time.

    Also, I too think this is one of Lauren Bacall's best roles because it's counter casting to most roles she played. Juano Hernandez gave another brilliant performance. Also, Kirk Douglas performance wasn't chop liver.

    Next up, "Love Me or Leave Me".




    Crawdaddy
     
  14. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Kudos to Warner for the fine job they've done on "Love Me or Leave Me". Everytime I watch this film, I have more respect for Cagney's character than Day's Ruth Etting. Anyway, terrific performances by both actors.






    Crawdaddy
     
  15. HaigH

    HaigH Agent

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    This set was set to have a more substanstial extra feature set. It was meant to be something like the Errol Flynn set with each film having a making of featurette. But it did not materialize for the following reason:

    Warner Bros. asked USC film professor Drew Casper and friend of Ms. Day to go up to Carmel and run a series of interviews with Day, which would then be integrated into a featurette for each film in the set. But Ms. Day simply did not want to participate. Her one and only son had died the year before and she has completely shunned her film career since. Understandable but quite a shame simultaneously.
    My heart goes out to this wonderful woman and excellent entertainer. Doris was one of a kind indeed.
     
  16. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    Re YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN (1950): Lauren Bacall's performance is the first overt characteriation of a lesbian that I have ever seen in a major American motion picture and Ted McCord's photography (cited in VISIONS OF LIGHT) manages to surpass his work in THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. It is unfortunate that they tacked on an accelerated "happy" ending that deviated from the original novel. Douglas-- in films like CHAMPION, THE GLASS MENAGERIE, and the lamentably MIA DETECTIVE STORY and ACE IN THE HOLE--was America's first modern anti-hero.

    It would be nice to see a Michael Curtiz boxset with th notorious MISSION TO MOSCOW (1943), ROUGHLY SPEAKING, THE HELEN MORGAN STORY, STOLEN HOLIDAY, THE UNSUSPECTED, and non-pd prints of THIS IS THE ARMY and LIFE WITH FATHER (the latter two were Jack Warner's favorite films).
     
  17. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    Doris Day was the second movie star I'd ever met (the first was Roy Rogers). I'm pretty sure it was 1969 and I was just a kid visiting L.A. with my parents.

    My parents took us to the Farmer's Market and I was just walking around and someone elbowed me and said 'hey kid, do you know who that is?' ... saying it was Doris Day. She was on her way out of the market and I followed her outside and came up to her as she was getting her bike (a three-speed English style bike with a basket on it). She noticed that I was noticing her and said hello. I said something like 'nice bike' and she said 'thanks' and asked 'do you like riding bikes?' I said 'yes' and she said that she did too and that was the extent of it.

    I went back in and excitedly told my parents what had happened. A grocer heard me and told us that she rode her bike there regularly. I thought that was pretty cool.

    So, I think I'm a little unbiased when it comes to Ms. Day's performances and such. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Sergio A

    Sergio A Stunt Coordinator

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    LIFE WITH FATHER and THIS IS THE ARMY, being PD are certainly crying out for decent transfers.

    A Curtiz box set would be wonderful of course, although I guess he is still not enough of a draw - instead how about a horror box set to include the likes of DR X and THE WALKING DEAD or a JOHN GARFIELD box to include the likes of FOUR DAUGHTERS, DANGEROUS DAUGHTERS, BREAKING POINT and THE SEA WOLF?

    And I hope THE UNSUSPECTED finally makes it to DVD at some stage - one of the most extraordinary looking film noirs of the 40s.

    It's so pleasing that Curtiz is starting to get the recognition he deserves on DVD
     
  19. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    I certainly would buy THIS IS THE ARMY if a Warner sanctioned release were to be offered.

    Mr. Curtiz certainly had a wide and varying career. I just watched THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE last week on TCM (a mid 30s flick with Warren William) and didn't realize he was director until I saw his name on the credits.

    Steve
     

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