(director: Michael Gordon; screenwriters: Stanley Shapiro/Maurice Richlin/story by Russell Rouse & Clarence Greene; cinematographer: Arthur E. Arling; editor: Milton Carruth; music: Frank de Vol; cast: Doris Day(Jan Morrow), Rock Hudson (Brad Allen), Tony Randall (Jonathan Forbes), Thelma Ritter (Alma), Julia Meade (Marie), Lee Patrick (Mrs. Walters), Karen Norris (Miss Dickenson), Marcel Dalio (Pierot, antique store owner), Allen Jenkins (Harry), Nick Adams (Tony Walters), Mary McCarty (Nurse Resnick), Alex Gerry (Dr. Maxwell, obstetrician), Hayden Rorke (Mr. Conrad, phone company executive); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Ross Hunter/Martin Melcher: Universal International Pictures; 1959)
“I can’t say I liked it, but I also can’t say I didn’t like it.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The first of many Rock Hudson and Doris Days mainstream romcoms. In this one Rock is a bachelor playboy songwriter and Doris is a single, chaste, successful and independent interior designer. The popular but shallow film was a big commercial hit. It’s competently directed in the lighthearted TV sitcom mode by Michael Gordon (“The Web”/”The Lady Gambles”) and written as fluff by Stanley Shapiro and Maurice Richlin, who base it on a story by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene.
Workaholic interior decorator Jan Morrow (Doris Day) is upset that playboy songwriter Brad Allen (Rock Hudson) hogs the party line with frivolous chatter from all his fawning girlfriends while she needs the phone for her business, and thereby turns him in to the NYC phone company. They can’t promise a private line until at least a month from now, but send a female inspector (Karen Norris) over to investigate. The hunky Brad predictably seduces her and the complaint goes nowhere. But Brad contacts Jan and they make a deal on their own when each can use the phone.
Brad’s best friend since college is the spoiled jerky millionaire Jonathan Forbes (Tony Randall), who finances his songwriting. The thrice married Jonathan has a crush on his interior decorator, who just happens to be Jan, and wants to marry her, even if she doesn’t love him. His girl Jan is the same one from the phone trouble with Brad. When Brad finds out from Jonathan that she’s a looker, he becomes interested in meeting her, and gets his chance when one night Jan comes into the Copa nightclub with the wolfish Tony Walters (Nick Adams), the son of a wealthy philistine client (Lee Patrick) from the upscale Westchester suburbs. The obnoxious Harvard student on the drive home stops at a necking spot and can’t keep his hands off the older woman, but says he will safely take her home if she first has a drink with him. Brad is also at the Copa, on a date with a Copa girl (Julia Meade), when they arrive and secure a table next to him. The womanizer rescues her from the passed out drunken kid, and introduces himself to her in a broad Texas accent as a wealthy hick Texas rancher named Rex Stetson. He acts like a perfect gentleman ushering her around the city in a foxy effort to win her over. The cad gets Jan to fall in love with him and want to marry him. But the snaky Jonathan has his friend followed by private detectives, and does his best to break up their romance.
For comic relief, Jan confers every day about her man problem with her alcoholic housemaid Alma (Thelma Ritter), who reports to work every morning with a hangover.
Things go swell with the handsome couple until Jan finds out the smooth Texan is none other than the hated Brad.
The film might be silly, sexist and too cutesy, but its mild comedy is pleasant, it manages a few funny scenes, the dialogue at least tries to be witty (even if it isn’t) and the main characters are not memorable but are at least amenable. I can’t say I liked it, but I also can’t say I didn’t like it.
REVIEWED ON 7/9/2021 GRADE: B-