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Warner Home Video presents
"I am not a spy! Don't you say that any more. I don't know how that got in my purse."
DVD ReviewDoris Day had already been a major box office draw for years in 1966, about the time that the series of spy spoofs peaked. The two collide with memorable results in this surprisingly entertaining farce with a heavy-duty supporting cast.
Widow Jennifer Nelson (Day) has gotten a job with an aerospace company important to the space race effort. After meeting cute with the head of the company, Bruce Templeton (Rod Taylor), things go from bad to worse as Jennifer falls in love but has a knack for causing things to go wrong. That happens in a serious way when she places a telephone call to her dog Vladimir, causing security guard Homer Cripps (Paul Lynde) to conclude that she's a Russian spy. Soon the entire government is about to come down on their romance, but Jenny isn't about to go out quietly.
Day is quite entertaining, have some fun with her virginal image in both the opening sequence with implied nudity and a fantasy sequence as a semi-clad Mata Hari (which can be seen on the striking DVD cover image). She has an excellent chemistry with Taylor, and they play off one another nicely throughout. Arthur Godfrey plays her father, operator of the title watercraft, and their warmth together is strikingly natural. In the background is a first-rate assemblage of comic actors, including John McGiver, Edward Andrews and Dom De Luise (who is funnier here than in anything else I've ever seen him in), as well as Dick Martin, who plays Taylor's sleazy business partner.
The energy of the script is helped along by director Frank Tashlin, a veteran of Looney Tunes and several Jerry Lewis vehicles as well as writer of The Paleface. That comedy experience is finely honed in this picture. The physical comedy is a particular strong suit, with numerous sequences that hold up extremely well, even when they're part of a hoary old routine such as the foot-stuck-in-a-bucket. The timing is exquisite and makes even the most antique routine hilarious. The combination of old gags and space age technology works exceedingly well here.
The spy spoof angle is of course rather dated now that James Bond is a parody of himself, but for fans of the genre there's a lot to like here. Particularly noteworthy are the quotes of music from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (under a brief cameo by Robert Vaughn) and a frequently John Barryesque score that provides the proper frame of reference. Though this is not strictly a musical, Day does sing a couple songs, including her signature tune, Que Será, Será. The main weakness of the picture is the recurring title theme song, a variation on the folk song Mockingbird that quickly wears out its welcome. But if you can stand that, the rest of the movie is hilarious and one of Day's best.
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-
Image Transfer Review: The widescreen anamorphic picture is generally attractive, though Warner appears to have tried to overcompensate for softness by adding edge enhancement, which is frequently distracting. Colors and black levels look fine, however. There are quite a few fine patterns on the screen that are very well rendered.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: The 1.0 English and French mono tracks sound quite good, with little hiss or noise to detract from the listening experience. The range on the music is quite acceptable for the period.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 32 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Layers Switch: 01h:16m:37s
Extras Grade: A+
Final CommentsAnother Doris Day classic with good rewatch value, which is marred only by a little too much edge enhancement, but it has some interesting period extras.
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