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Three Doris Day Films from Fox

Caprice (February 6/07)

A bomb of magnificent proportions, Caprice strikes all the wrong notes from the get-go - with the end result a seriously underwhelming piece of work that has little to offer even the most patient film buff. Doris Day stars as Patricia Foster, an industrial spy whose latest assignment - involving a spray that keeps hair dry even when soaked in water - pairs her with a shady yet charismatic figure named Christopher White (Richard Harris). Director Frank Tashlin's various efforts at eliciting laughs fall completely flat, and there's simply no overlooking the incredibly dated vibe that's been hard-wired into the proceedings by the filmmaker (virtually all of the elements within the movie, from the grating score to the outlandish sets, are dripping with '60s excess). It goes without saying that both Day and Harris - through no fault of their own - are unable to make any kind of a positive impact, as screenwriters Tashlin and Jay Jayson force the actors into increasingly absurd situations (ie the painfully misguided sequence in which Day's character, to avoid being heard by a hidden microphone, masks her speech with a series of piercing noises). Caprice generally comes off as a total misfire on every level, and it's not difficult to see why Harris ultimately disowned the film.

out of

Do Not Disturb (February 16/07)

Lightweight almost to the point of distraction, Do Not Disturb casts Doris Day as Janet Harper - a homemaker who becomes convinced that her husband (Rod Taylor's Mike) is having an affair with his comely assistant. Janet subsequently hatches a plan to make Mike jealous by essentially inventing a suitor for herself, though things go awry after a real-life admirer (Sergio Fantoni) enters the picture. Director Ralph Levy initially infuses Do Not Disturb with a breezy, almost egregiously silly vibe that certainly doesn't belie his experience within the world of sitcoms, as the movie generally possesses all the authenticity and depth of a garden-variety television show. The distinctly plotless vibe is exacerbated by the emphasis on pointless digressions - ie there's a long sequence in which Janet flies off to Paris and essentially frolics for an entire reel - with the end result a film that's as forgettable and flat-out needless as one could possibly imagine.

out of

Move Over, Darling (February 18/07)

A remake of the 1940 Cary Grant/Irene Dunne screwball comedy My Favorite Wife, Move Over, Darling follows James Garner's Nicholas Arden as he finds himself confronted with the return of his long-though-dead wife (Doris Day's Ellen) on the very same day that he's finally gotten remarried to his girlfriend (Polly Bergen's Bianca). Despite the uniformly charismatic performances and inclusion of several genuinely funny interludes, Move Over, Darling ultimately reveals itself to be as ineffective as its predecessor - something that's due in no small part to its overlong running time and inherently flawed premise. In terms of the latter, screenwriters Hal Kanter and Jack Sher spend an unreasonable amount of time keeping Nicholas and Ellen apart; though such shenanigans are par for the course with films of this sort, their separation seems particularly false and contrived here (that Day's character is forced to act irrationally throughout to compensate doesn't help matters). That being said, Move Over, Darling is certainly no worse than its predecessor; Garner effortlessly steps into Cary Grant's shoes and emerges with a performance that's much wackier than one might've expected from the actor (cameo appearances from Don Knotts and John Astin are likewise quite amusing).

out of

About the DVDs: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has gone all out with these releases, offering up flawless widescreen transfers and a ridiculous amount of supplemental materials (Move Over, Darling proves to be the most intriguing, as the DVD comes with some footage from the Marilyn Monroe/Dean Martin version that was never finished).
© David Nusair