"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
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.