Caftan Woman

Caftan Woman

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Happy Birthday, Doris Day

"I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that's all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy."
- Doris Day

Animal activist, multi-talented performer, fashion icon and beautiful soul Doris Day turns 90 on this date.  I wish for her the joy of sweet companions because that is what she will always be to her adoring fans.



My introduction to Doris Day was as a singer and the above album, commandeered from my parent's collection, was an early favourite, especially the track Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.  A little later I discovered Doris Day the movie star, and her popular movie songs.  I thought it would be fun, as I did previously with Bing, to look at Doris' track record with Oscar nominated and winning tunes. 

Click on the song title links for YouTube performances from the films where available.


Jack Carson, Doris Day

1948:  Romance on the High Seas

In Doris' first film she was directed by Michael Curtiz and she introduced what would become a standard, Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn's It's Magic.  A beautiful girl singing a beautiful song in a gorgeous Technicolor comedy-romance.  The film has mistaken identities, a cruise ship and an appealing cast led by Janis Paige and Doris Day with Jack Carson and Don DeFore.  Oscar Levant and S.Z. Sakall keep the quips and double-takes coming.  Along with Doris, there's great music from the Page Cavanagh Trio and Sir Lancelot.  It wasn't magic for the composition that year at the Oscars as the trophy went to Jay Livingston and Ray Evans' Buttons and Bows from The Paleface. 


Jack Carson, Doris Day, Dennis Morgan

1949:  It's a Great Feeling

The next year Doris was featured as an aspiring actress whose career is taken under the incompetent wings of Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson.  In their comedic efforts to boost their star, the trio run into many bona fide stars on the Warner's lot and it's a pleasantly diverting Sunday afternoon sort of movie.  Doris sang the title song, It's a Great Feeling, again by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn and again they were shut out at the Oscars as Frank Loesser took home the hardware for Baby, It's Cold Outside from Neptune's Daughter. 


Doris Day, Howard Keel

1953:  Calamity Jane

And we have a winner!  In every way Calamity Jane, directed by David Butler, director of It's a Great Feeling, is a winner.  Doris Day is right at home as tomboy Jane who falls hard for Howard Keel's Wild Bill Hickcock, after being sidetracked by Phil Carey's cavalry lieutenant and turning the life of Allyn Anne McLerie's faux entertainer inside out.  Sammy Fain and Paul Frances Webster filled the movie with charming songs and won the Oscar for Secret Love.


Doris Day, James Cagney

1955:  Love Me or Leave Me

The dramatic musical biography of popular singer Ruth Etting, Love Me or Leave Me is filled with popular song hits of the 1920s and 1930s.  However an original song was written for Doris to perform as Ruth, and Nicholas Brodszky and Sammy Cahn's I'll Never Stop Loving You was nominated for an Oscar.  Sammy Fain and Paul Frances Webster won the award that year for the title song for Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.  Daniel Fuchs and Isobel Lennart wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Love Me or Leave Me and Doris' co-star James Cagney was nominated for Best Actor.  Doris' nomination must have been lost in the mail.

Louis Jourdan, Doris Day

1956:  Julie

Released in 1956, Julie is a thriller directed by Andrew Stone (The Last Voyage).  Doris stars as flight attendant Julie whose second husband, concert pianist Louis Jourdan, is a tad on the possessive psychotic side, and the relationship has become frighteningly dangerous.  Julie fearfully comes to suspect that her first husband was murdered by her second, but convincing others and escaping Jourdan's mania is no easy task, especially on an airplane.  The theme Julie by Leith Stevens and Tom Adair was nominated for the Oscar as was Andrew Stone's original screenplay.

Daniel Gelin, Christopher Olsen, Doris Day, James Stewart

1956:  The Man Who Knew Too Much

Alfred Hitchcock revamped his 1934 film of the same name keeping the premise of a couple  and their desperate search for their kidnapped child after they unwittingly become involved in international intrigue.  Our mystified yet resourceful American tourists are played by Doris Day and James Stewart.  The film is opened up to include Marakesh locations and a song.  Not just any song.  THE song that is so inextricably associated with Doris Day that it followed her from movie to movie (Please Don't Eat the Daisies, The Glass Bottom Boat) to television (The Doris Day Show).  Jay Livingston and Ray Evans won the Oscar for Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera).  ASCAP also designated the song as one of the "Most Performed Feature Film Standards".


Happy Birthday, Doris Day.  

25 comments:

  1. I like this angle of the singer as actress. And this: "Doris' nomination must have been lost in the mail."

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    1. Doris is right up there with Jo Stafford, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee as one of the great vocalists. Perfect pitch, clear enunciation and those supremely subtle acting skills combine to give us a great interpreter of song.

      So glad you spent part of "Doris Day Day" here.

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  2. I discovered Doris as a singer first, too. I bought a cassette tape of her songs with my allowance money when I was little -- not sure why, I think I just liked the picture on the cover! But a great love was born, and I've spent all the years since loving her music and movies. She's a wonderful singer -- as you said, one of the great interpreters of songs. Thanks for a great read on Doris Day Day. :-)

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    1. Whatever fate drew you to that tape is a gift. Sometimes we outgrow the things we loved as children, but some things have real staying power, like Doris Day.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

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  3. My mother LOVES 'Que Sera Sera' but somehow I doubt she's actually seen 'The Man Who Knew Too Much.' It's not her kinda movie.

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    1. It feels like "Que Sera Sera" has always been around. Some songs are like that. There are tunes I didn't even know came from movies and when I hear them in that context it is quite a jolt.

      I'm more a fan of the earlier version of the movie. It gets to the point more quickly and has a droll sense of humour about it. But I can see why Hitch would want to work with the material again and give it a contemporary American slant.

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  4. Thanks for the info C.W.......Doris Day records are regularly requested on my local radio station, Angel Radio. One of its late departed presenters Tony Power had his own interview with her on one of her visits to London duringI the 50's. I have most of her 50's & 60's recordings via the Bear Family boxed album sets and have also posted my own humble offering on this her birthday.
    (PS found you via Google search)
    Regards, Bob

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    1. Enjoyed your post From the Vault, Bob. We don't need her birthday to enjoy Doris Day, but it makes the day a happy one indeed.

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  5. This is such an interesting blog. You are very knowledgeable about this subject. Please check out my site.
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  6. Happy Belated Birthday, Doris Day! She could do it all, couldn't she? She was terrific in comedies or drama. (I love her in Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much".) And just never mind that fabulous voice!

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    1. I wonder if Doris' legacy will be her music, her movies or her work with animals.

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  7. I love this woman! Talk about underrated! There was practically nothing Doris could not do - and do effortlessly. She is one of my faves. A wonderful tribute, CW. From what I read, she had a swell birthday. I hope she has many more.

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    1. Doris is from an era where entertainers worked to cover up how hard they were working. It's such a pleasure to watch her.

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  8. It was, indeed, a fun post, like Bing's! I love Doris with Rock Hudson, especially in Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back. The one I'm looking for to watch now is Thee Tunnel of Love.
    Kisses!

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    1. Hi. "Lover Come Back" is one of my favourites as well. Great script. So funny.

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  9. I can never decide whether I enjoy Doris Day's movies more than her music or vice versa...or perhaps they are something that just shouldn't be compared separately. Doris never could make a bad film, or a rotten record. Even when she'd do a flub - on the Doris Day Show - she was delightful. I hope she had a very happy birthday indeed. She's such a trooper. Last night we watched What's My Line? ( with Doris Day as the mystery guest ) just to get a little Day into our day. Great post, CW!

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    1. Glad you liked the post. Doris Day's talent and personality comes through in all her work, and we're certainly lucky to have her.

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  10. "Romance on the High Seas" is very entertaining and Doris is great in it. I can think of few screen debuts that were as charming, effortless and camera-friendly as Doris Day is in her first movie. It's a testament to her talent how natural she is.

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    1. A charming cast and breezy entertainment. Everything you say about Doris and her debut is so true. They say timing is everything and she was certainly in the right place at the right time.

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  11. This is a wonderful post! I recently re-watched The Man Who Knew Too Much and had been thinking about how underrated Doris Day is. For me, that's part of her charm - she's not an obvious star but her roles are always spot on and it's always a treat to be reminded of how many facets there were to her talent. I've certainly been singing Que Sera Sera quite a bit over the last week, although perhaps not as well ;)

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    1. Thank you.

      That song is a real pepper-upper, isn't it? Doris seems to approach a script as she does a song, giving it everything she has - not too much and not too little.

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  12. "Love Me or Leave Me" is just filled with goodies -- a great introduction to Day's singing talents on screen. Btw, I love the quote you chose to open this post!

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    1. Yes indeed! All those fabulous songs, and Doris at the very top of her game.

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  13. Growing up in the late 50s early 60s I knew Doris Day, mainly, from the films she did with Rock Hudson that were shown on TV, ad nauseam, it seems to me now. Also, The Man Who Knew Too Much. What a revelation Love Me or Leave Me was/is. To see her stand toe to toe with Cagney is entertaining as hell! She gets to sing and act! What a pair of genuine greats!

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