(director: Delbert Mann; screenwriters: Stanley Shapiro/Paul Henning; cinematographer: Arthur E. Arling; editor: Marjorie Fowler; music: Frank De Vol; cast: Rock Hudson (Jerry Webster), Doris Day (Carol Templeton), Tony Randall (Peter Ramsey), Edie Adams (Rebel Davis), Jack Oakie (J. Paxton Miller), Jack Kruschen (Dr. Linus Tyler), Joe Flynn (Hadley), Howard St. John (Brockett), Jack Albertson (Fred), Charles Watts (Charlie), Ann B. Davis (Millie); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Stanley Shapiro/Martin Melcher; Universal; 1961)
“Should be required viewing for film students studying why 1960s sitcom fare is so outdated.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

If you ever wanted to see what all the fuss was about in those Doris Day-Rock Hudson romantic comedies Lover Come Back, their second-time together and a follow-up to the better known Pillow Talk (1959), is as good example of the entertainment value found in any of those breezy films they made together (which is not saying much!). Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning were nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay but lost to writer William Inge for his screenplay of Splendor in the Grass. Delbert Mann draws his comedy from sight gags, a running gag about two envious male tourists fantasizing about what a stud the Rock character must be as they always see him with a beautiful gal in a risque pose, a slapstick ongoing dialogue for the Battle of the Sexes farce, and the playing up of a case of mistaken identity for all it’s worth. Should be required viewing for film students studying why 1960s sitcom fare is so outdated, dull, and helped in the culturally dumbing down of America. Most participants went on to enjoy future success in a variety of hit TV shows, that make me nauseous when I start to think of them.

Jerry Webster (Rock Hudson) is the playboy fast operator who runs the Madison Avenue advertising company for the insecure Peter Ramsey (Tony Randall), the idiot son who took over the firm recently from his competent father and needs to prove to himself that he can make decisions. Carol Templeton (Doris Day) is the prim new account executive at the rival firm of Brockett’s, who is irate that she lost the big Miller account through Webster’s unethical methods of plying his potential client with booze, babes, and southern charm. Carol files a grievance with the Ad Council and lines up Rebel Davis (Edie Adams), a disgruntled model on Webster’s payroll, to testify how Miller was tricked into signing with Webster. In order to stop Rebel from testifying, Webster makes Rebel the model for a new product that doesn’t exist called VIP. Carol believes it’s a real product and fights to take the account away from her rival. Ramsey, in the meantime, tried to make himself useful, and mistakenly ordered that VIP ads saturate the airwaves. Hiring a private detective Carol learns that Webster’s client is the reclusive genius chemist Dr. Linus Tyler (Jack Kruschen), and when she visits the lab she mistakes Webster for the chemist–which results in Carol wining and dining Webster posing as Linus. In the meantime, the real Linus works in his lab with orders to discover any new product as fast as he can. Webster has fun taking Carol for a ride, getting her guard down as he puts the idea into her head that he needs help building up his confidence of performing sexually and eventually succeeds into getting her into the sack after she samples the intoxicating product invented.

You don’t need a road map to find out where this film is heading in the romance department. It also lays on a mild satire at the expense of the advertising industry, with not enough bite to even hurt a fly.

Lover Come Back (1961)