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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Doris Day Emotes Mightily in ‘Midnight Lace’ 1960


Doris Day is stalked by an unseen villain in 1960’s suspense movie “Midnight Lace.”

Midnight Lace is a type of movie perennials,
the “lady in jeopardy” film style. Doris Day has made a number of, Julie, The Man Who Knew Too A lot, and Midnight

So far as Doris Day’s efficiency is anxious, Midnight Lace falls within the center. Some critics
and followers have raved over her efficiency, citing that Day ought to have been
Oscar-nominated. Others have cited that her hysteria was excessive, like her
flip as Julie. Whereas Doris might have
been reigned in a bit because the hysterical heiress, there are a number of placing
scenes the place Day is best.

In case you are questioning what the title of “Midnight Lace” means!
Doris dons this ensemble at a quite odd level on this 1960 thriller.

That is a type of motion pictures the place you flip off your mind
and simply benefit from the thrills. The story is full of extra crimson herrings than a
smokehouse. Practically each supporting character has a seemingly sinister second
that makes them a suspect. 

A number of the 1960 “trendy” attitudes towards the
crank caller really feel greater than archaic, even for the time. It is eye-rolling how
the opposite characters, together with the detective, who all appear to need to brush it
off as a prank or the creativeness of Day’s Package. My two hurdles with this movie:
Why does Package hold on the road whereas she’s being threatened and degraded, as an alternative
of simply hanging up? It is over half-hour into this film earlier than the detective
has the intense concept for the couple to get a brand new telephone quantity. The opposite is the
caller’s voice, which we often hear, that’s high-pitched and
disembodied. Sadly, it evokes hilarity as an alternative of hysteria, because the
voice appears like Pee Wee Herman performing villainous!

Why does not Doris Day’s tormented heroine simply say, “Sorry, incorrect quantity?”

Doris Day performs an heiress who has been married three months
to a rich enterprise man, Tony Preston (Rex Harrison). She appears to don’t have any objective
however to buy and really feel uncared for, however is form and nice. Tony’s a tough working
enterprise man who’s all the time begging off private plans to take conferences.
The contrived plot solely has Package selecting up the telephone when the crank caller
rings. Package additionally experiences numerous near-miss bodily mishaps—development
beams crashing, elevators stalling, shoved in entrance of a bus, and so on. By the final
act of the movie Doris’ Package is a film diva mess.

It is value almost getting clobbered by a development beam in the event you get to satisfy
John Gavin! Doris Day in 1960’s “Midnight Lace.”

Even one of the best of this style might be contrived, and rely on
a suspension of disbelief. With out gifting away the story, the villain appears
quite apparent, and the crimson herrings greater than a bit fishy! It’s greatest to get pleasure from
the wonderful solid of professionals, the environment, and lavish settings. Whereas not as
tacky as Ross Hunter’s similar yr Portrait
in Black
, the story does not stand up to scrutiny.

Doris Day & Rex Harrison play newlyweds whose bliss is being blown by a
threatening caller to the often sunny Day, in 1960’s “Midnight Lace.”

Rex Harrison because the husband is easily skilled, however
it is onerous to grasp why Day’s heiress would marry this man 15 years her
senior, when he isn’t notably attentive. And Day’s reactions to her
scenario appear a bit naive for a girl almost 40. Doris should as soon as once more be enjoying
youthful, as she’s referenced that method a few instances. Additionally sexist and eye-rolling
is when Day’s Auntie Mame-ish Myrna Loy makes a variety of self-deprecating
cracks about getting old, when she’s simply three years older than Rex Harrison. So, what
else is new in Hollywood?!

“Rex, in the event you’re solely 3 years youthful than me, why am I getting all of the ‘outdated’ strains?”

Myrna Loy performs Doris Day’s aunt in 1960’s suspense drama “Midnight Lace.”

The identical is true for Package’s neighbor pal Peg, performed by
Natasha Parry. She’s 30ish and engaging in a Dana Wynter method. And who turns
out to be her principally off-camera sailor husband? Anthony Dawson, additionally 15 years
older, who appears to be like like Trevor Howard’s corpse!

Anthony Dawson performs much-talked about, seldom-seen neighbor Peg’s sailor hubby.
Odd couple, since she is performed by pretty Natasha Parry, in “Midnight Lace.”

However, there’s John Gavin, on the peak of his
hunkiness as the development supervisor subsequent door. He is additionally quite uninteresting, like a
male Kim Novak.

John Gavin’s development supervisor appears taken with Doris Day’s harried heiress
in 1960’s thriller “Midnight Lace.”

And what would a Britain-set thriller be with no pipe
smoking detective performed by John Williams? At 70, Herbert Marshall appears feeble
as a enterprise affiliate with spending points, and who would die six years
later. Roddy McDowall is as soon as once more the unctuous underling who oozes smarmy
allure and snide threats. Hermione Baddeley performs the gabby pub maid, of
course! There are various acquainted faces on this movie, which makes it extra enjoyable to

John Williams because the British detective with the pipe, natch, in “Midnight Lace.”

Doris Day will get the wonder therapy by Ross Hunter’s
fave cinematographer Russell Metty. Day’s costumes, all the time a star in her
motion pictures from Pillow Speak on, are by
Irene, one of many extra refined designers in Hollywood. Day’s garments look modern
and stylish. And the hats? Properly, they’re a product of their time.

There’s some location taking pictures in London, however this hothouse
thriller was filmed at Common. David Miller, a stable studio director,
does one of the best he can with the fabric.

This scene has a Hitchcock high quality, the place the blonde heroine senses imminent hazard.
Doris Day because the heiress in misery, in 1960’s “Midnight Lace.”

As for Day, she resisted this function after Julie precipitated her nice stress. However her
producer husband Martin Melcher endured. Day used her trauma from a
bodily abusive first marriage for her hysteria scenes. Whereas some really feel over
the highest, just like the elevator scene the place she has a second that rivals “I’ll have
what she’s having” from When Harry Met
, the remainder really feel sensible, like her last meltdown on the staircase.
Some critics have accused her of being shrill, like Elizabeth Taylor in a few of
her extra emotional roles. My thought: Is anger or hysteria speculated to sound

Is Doris Day’s heiress off her beam or is she being harassed? Watch “Midnight Lace!”

Doris Day was a professional, however did not get pleasure from this sort of function, and
by no means did once more. Maybe her followers agreed. Whereas this movie was reasonably
profitable, Day’s comedies earlier than and after did much better on the field workplace.
Nonetheless, Midnight Lace is mindlessly
entertaining popcorn film, and a glam deal with for Day followers.

Right here’s my tribute essay to Doris Day right here: https://ricksrealreel.blogspot.com/2017/04/a-latter-day-doris-day-fan-fesses-up.html

Doris Day unnerved however unbowed, within the last second of 1960’s “Midnight Lace.”


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