Top Five Favorite Doris Day Films

Making a list of my top five anything stresses me out. I'm the kind of person who will constantly worry about my choices, which inevitably leads to incessant revisions. But when my plans for today's post fell through, I decided to lay out my five absolute favorite Doris Day films -- and I was quickly shocked at how easily this list came to me! With Day as one of my most cherished actresses, I thought for sure I'd be wrestling with my selections for days to come, especially since the woman has so many fantastic movies in her filmography, but my brain is pretty relieved that I won't be staying up nights rethinking things. (Yeah, it can get that intense...)


Pillow Talk (1959)
I love this film more than life itself. Every time I watch it, I fall in love with it all over again. The comedic antics and reactions make me laugh until my sides ache, while the romantic elements make me swoon. Pillow Talk may feel like a dirty comedy, but it has so many more layers to it. It's silly and sexy and chic and witty. Doris is such a force to be reckoned with here, but I've gotta say that Rock Hudson gives one of cinema's best comedic performances as the lying songwriter who masquerades as a naive Texan to trick Doris. His work is a revelation, with each viewing revealing more nuances.


Lover Come Back (1961)
The follow-up to Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back is a uproarious, candy-colored confection that manages to (almost) reach the same heights as its predecessor. A scathingly funny look at the world of advertising, this film is a joy from start to finish. Once again, Doris and Rock are magical together, with Tony Randall adding his unique, neurotic silliness.


Romance on the High Seas (1948)
As I wrote in my review of Romance on the High Seas, this film is "a bubbly romantic comedy with terrific people behind and in front of the camera. If you don't have fun watching this, I can't help but feel sorry for you." A Technicolor feast for the eyes and the ears, Romance was Day's film debut -- and what a debut! Her cheerful, luminescent presence and naturalness are there from the very beginning, and her rapport with co-star Jack Carson is beyond adorable.


Teacher's Pet (1958)
Although marketed as a sex comedy, Teacher's Pet is a smart, thought-provoking romantic comedy about the tension between Day's journalism professor and Clark Gable's newspaper editor. Fay and Michael Kanin's brilliant screenplay illustrates real character development and depth, and looks at both sides of the leading couple fairly -- it's not often that I can watch a rom-com and understand both of the leads' point of view as clearly as I do with Teacher's Pet. It's also just a really funny, charming film. Day and Gable have surprisingly great chemistry, and Gig Young turns in a memorable, Oscar-nominated performance as the man who appears to be Gable's competition for Day... but ends up becoming his confidante instead. (And that's just one example of how Teacher's Pet zags when you expect it to zig.)

You can read my full review of the film here.


The Pajama Game (1957)
I've said it a hundred times before and I'll say it a hundred times again: The Pajama Game is one of the greatest musicals ever made. It is baffling to me that it is rarely discussed because it. is. so. damn. good. Stanley Donen and George Abbott's direction is great. Bob Fosse's choreography is revolutionary. The cinematography is subtly beautiful. The songs are incredible and catchy. And then there's Doris. It is heavenly to watch such a perfect marriage between actor and character. Babe Williams is a tremendous role, and Doris clearly relished it. She, and the rest of the cast, look like they are having the time of their lives, and you will, too, when you watch this film.

You can read my full review of The Pajama Game here.
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This is my contribution to my Third Doris Day Blogathon. Click here to join me and some wonderful blogs as we celebrate Day's 97th birthday!

Comments

  1. I really enjoyed TEACHERS PET when I saw it on TV a long time ago(on TBS). DORIS DAY & CLARK GABLE are two of my favorite movie stars. GIG YOUNG is also a good(and underrated )actor. I think Ive only seen him in romantic comedies. TEACHERS PET, THAT TOUCH OF MINK, DESK SET (with SPENCER TRACY & HATHARINE HEPBURN), that's what comes to mind right now. GIG was married at one time to ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY before she played SAMANTHA STEPHENS on BEWITCHED. Liz was one of my favorite TV stars-from BEWITCHED and her TV-movies. I just thought of something, Doris worked with KIRK DOUGLAS in YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN and Liz did a TV-movie with Kirk, AMOS where in a different kind of role. Liz played an abusive nurse. Also what did you think of the movies that Doris did with JAMES GARNER & ROD TAYLOR? Thank you for your blog!

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    1. I made a typo-I, of course. meant KATHARINE HEPBURN.

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    2. I love Day with Rod Taylor and James Garner. Both pairings are really great. I think the films with Garner are much better, but I enjoy them all in different ways.

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  2. Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back are at the top of my list as well, LOVE those films. Calamity Jane is also one of my favourite Day films. I haven' t seen Romance on the High Seas and The Pajama Game yet, so thanks for the recommendations!

    Janet
    Stars and Letters

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    1. You're in for such a treat! They are both complete delights.

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  3. In my movie universe, Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back always flip-flop into the number one and number two Doris Day slots. Maybe I need some VIP?

    Early in our marriage the hubby gave me the following VHS tapes: On Moonlight Bay, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, Julie, and Please Don't Eat the Daisies. Doris for days! (Ha-ha) I love watching Doris and Janis Paige in Romance on the High Seas, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, and think about their both being Babe Williams. Janis will be 97 in September!

    I'm glad this was an easy top 5 for you, and I am certainly looking forward to your Classic Movie Day top 5, especially knowing the exquisite agony you will have gone through.

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    1. Hi Caftan Woman! That is interesting about DORIS & JANIS both being Babe Williams. Speaking of Janis Paige, I really enjoy her acting too. She played a woman wanting to have an affair with the husband in Please Don't Eat the Daisies (DAVID NIVEN married to DORIS, the girl next door!). Then she played a waitress Denise that shared a kiss with married man ARCHIE BUNKER on ALL IN THE FAMILY. Then in 2001 she was on FAMILY LAW where her character was having an affair with a long time friend played by ANDY GRIFFITH! His wife, also her friend, had been sick for quite some time. The wife was played by JANET LEIGH. (that is the only episode that I saw, I watched because it had ANDY. I also knew JANET was in it but I didn't know JANIS was in it until I saw the show.) JANET & JANIS!

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    2. The last time I saw Janis Paige was a few years ago on the Tony Awards. She looked wonderful and I hope she knows how much fans still enjoy her work after all these years, her and Doris.

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    3. I'm sure you know this, Paddy, but your husband sounds like a real keeper. :)

      I really love On Moonlight Bay and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. If I had done a top 10, they would certainly be on there.

      That connection between Day and Paige is so interesting! And I'm so glad they're both with us!

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  4. The hard part about this list would be narrowing it down to just five favorites!

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    1. Right?! I'm simultaneously dreading and anticipating the National Classic Movie Day blogathon, which is listing your five favorite '50s films.

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  5. I find Top 5 (or Top 10) lists stressful, too. I'm always changing my mind. Anyway, bravo to you for selecting five excellent films for your Doris Top 5.

    P.S. I'm one of those who has never seen "The Pajama Game", and I'll be on the look-out.

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    1. Thanks, Ruth! I have a feeling you'd really like The Pajama Game. Every time I watch it, I find myself grinning from ear to ear.

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  6. I need to see some of these! I having been dying to see Teacher's Pet and also Romance on the high Seas! i also think in Lover Come back Doris and Rock share some of their most sizzling scenes together!!

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    1. Teacher's Pet and Romance on the High Seas are so entertaining, and they're both great showcases for Doris. And I agree about Lover Come Back -- things get downright steamy!

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  7. The Pajama Game is the only one from the list that I haven't watched yet. All the others are very good, and I agree with what you wrote about Romance on the High Seas: what a debut! What a lovely film! Lover Come Back was my first Doris Day film, and I fell in love instantly.
    Thanks for hosting this fun event!
    Kisses!

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    1. All of these films are just so much fun. I actually can't remember what my first Doris film was (maybe Pillow Talk...?), but like you, I know I fell for her immediately. :)

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  8. Thanks for this fab post Michaela, now got a few ideas for next years blogathon.. from Gill at Realweegiemidget Reviews

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    1. Happy to give you some ideas! You can't go wrong with any of these choices.

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