How Doris Day can brighten any day
Every now and then, I need a day filled with Doris Day. Of the movie stars we cherished in the 1950s and 1960s, she was often the one we suspected could be playing herself. She was that natural on screen.
And, when times are lonely, and we feel a bit isolated, she can make any day feel a bit brighter.
Here are seven of my favorite Doris Day films to savor from home.
Tea for Two (1950)
After singing with the Les Brown Orchestra, and igniting the hit parade with her recording of “Sentimental Journey,” Day finds her way to the movie screen in 1948 with “Romance on the High Seas.” Her initial career spotlights her likable personality and natural ability to phrase a song in a series of light musicals. This take off on the Broadway musical “No, No Nanette” is a delight.
Love Me Or Leave Me (1955)
Following one musical success after another, Day reinvents herself the first time with a serious role in “Young at Heart” opposite Frank Sinatra. A year later, the actress creates movie magic with this story of vocalist Ruth Etting and her turbulent relationship with a gangster played by James Cagney. Day should have been Oscar nominated for a performance of range and depth.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Day continues to stretch her acting muscles with a pitch-perfect dramatic performance in this thriller from director Alfred Hitchcock. Playing a wife and mother, who once sang on the stage, Day stops the show with her rendition of “Que Sera Sera,” an Oscar-winning song that later became the theme song of her television series.
Pajama Game (1957)
As the star of this lavish movie adaptation of the Broadway musical, Day sparkles in the musical numbers, scores in the comedy scenes and touches in the serious moments. Her presence is winning and natural as she celebrates the joy of musical comedy with a performance of energy and drive. And she makes it look so easy.
Pillow Talk (1959)
At a moment when some think her career has peaked, Day reinvents herself a second time as a comedy star in this piece of lovely romantic fluff co-starring Rock Hudson. The actress wins her only Oscar nomination for a performance filled with joy and spontaneity. And she initiates the most successful chapter of her film career.
Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1960)
Sandwiched between two blockbuster romantic comedies - “Pillow Talk” and “Lover Come Back” - Day shines in this lovely comedy about a family who leaves the chaos of Manhattan for a quiet life “in the country”. The actress conveys such calm and serenity that we expect a cake to be baked at any moment. And she sings, too.
The Thrill of It All (1963)
At the height of her popularity, the nation’s number one box office star creates what may be her most endearing portrayal as a happily married woman who finds sudden fame on television as a spokesperson for a soap company. The laughs are steady and sincere in a comedy that never lets the humor get in the way of the heart.
Thank you, Doris Day, for making movies we still savor.
Especially right now.