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Warner Home Video presents
"Just once in my life I'd like to get dressed without an audience."
DVD ReviewMy wife and daughter are both quick to remind me that I didn't just recently become a geek (as I sometimes like to think), but that I've probably been one my entire life.
I'm beginning to think they're right, because when I look back I realize that when I was a kid in the 1960s, while other boys were busying themselves watching Combat!, I had a secret thing for Doris Day. I had the expected warm fuzzies for the likes of Grace Kelly, but she always seemed like a Hollywood-created vision of both beauty and unreality that was dizzying to look at, but far removed from any sort of reality I could ever be involved in. And let's not even talk about my Julie Newmar-as-Catwoman fetish right now.
But Doris Day always seemed like the perfect woman to me, a mature beauty with perky spunk that could do no wrong in my prepubescent eyes. And I always found some undefinable comfort with this particular film of hers; it's something I can't quite put my finger on, but it's there, regardless.
Please Don't Eat the Daisies was the 1960 adaptation of Jean Kerr's bestselling book, with Day playing Kate, the faithful but harangued wife of theater critic Larry Mackay, and mother to a quartet of pain-in-the-ass kids, including an 18-month-old lock picker whose only words are "Cokie Cola". The Mackay's marriage takes a turn for the worst when Larry gets an important critic job in New York City, and he finds that playing mean gets him more attention than it used to. His new persona, fueled by a book deal, puts stress on his relationship with Kate, and when a sexy starlet (Janis Paige) tries to shimmy her way into his life, it only makes matters worse.
The subplot about the Mackay's new country home, which doesn't even enter the story until about an hour in, is underused by director Charles Walters, relying more on the back-and-forth between Niven and Day, and to a lesser extent Paige, as the derriere-wiggling threat. The kids crop up periodically for implied comedic relief, but they're painfully shrill and irritating, and it is difficult to imagine a suave chap like Niven having lasted more than week in that frantic household.
Despite the near-romantic subplot between Niven and Paige—and this story does drag on a bit long—this is Day's film, and she owns it handily. She is radiant and well-coiffed, a Manhattan-drinking/steak-eating beauty, but never too above it all to get cocky ("Go ahead honey, tell her what to do with her third act!"), wallpaper a room, or actually tell one of her kids to shut up without making it seem horribly mean. She has the ability to seem out of place at a cocktail party, but look stunning at Sardi's, and while maybe not an Oscar-caliber actress, I always found her performances to be warm and natural.
I'm smart enough to know my Day infatuation hopelessly colors my perception of a film like Please Don't Eat the Daisies, but I'll bet there are others out there exactly like me.
Geeks who never got over their childhood sweethearts.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-
Image Transfer Review: Kudos to Warner Bros. on issuing these assorted Doris Day titles in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the print here looks like it may have gone through a moderate cleanup process. Detail goes a little soft, but colors are bright, in that processed Metrocolor veneer of the era, and unfortunately there is quite a bit of flicker, even more so just before scene changes.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: The original mono track is provided here, a solid, hiss-free transfer that delivers dialogue cleanly and clearly. Not much in the frills department, but a fine job for a 45-year-old film.
A French language mono dub is also included.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 31 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: The only extra here is the original theatrical trailer, and nary a mention of the other Doris Day titles. The disc is cut into a healthy 31 chapters, with optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsThis is the movie equivalent of comfort food for me, even as an overly long film that could have been trimmed by a good twenty minutes without losing anything. What can I say? I have a thing for Doris Day.
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