Friday, April 4, 2014

Everybody Loves a Doris

Please accept The Typing Monkey's apologies for the long absence. Shit got real over the past few weeks and nobody at the offices felt like lifting the pencil or finding a piece of paper unbesmirched by memory and loss.

Let's get back to publishing with a belated birthday wish of health and happiness to Doris Day, who turned 90 on April 3.

It's easy to dismiss Day as a peroxided, harmless cutie whose sole purpose was to be irritated and flummoxed by Rock Hudson only to come around and fall in love in the third act of the many meringue-light romantic comedies the two made together during the 1960s.

That's fine, but we've always preferred the rom-coms with James Garner as her foil/paramour, as Garner's gravelly nature played better off of Day's sugary charms. Her outing with David Niven ain't bad either.

Better still is to remember that Day is the secret key to the success of Alfred Hitchcock's 1956 remake of his own The Man Who Knew Too Much. James Stewart does great work in the film, but it's Day's determined, crafty mom who finds a way out of the international intrigue mess they're in. It's a shame she didn't get more roles of this nature, as Day holds her own in a way many probably don't expect.

Her delivery of the song "Que Sera Sera" is not only a great plot device in Too Much, but just straight-up great selling of a song that uses Day's velvety delivery to great effect, given that the lyrics are actually quite clear-headed when put up against many other romantic tunes of the day.

And with that we arrive at Day's other great gift: The woman could sing. She's on par with other lauded Big Band vocalists (Kay Starr, et al.) and her creamy vibrato stands proud alongside Dinah Shore (another singer who rarely gets her due.)

Day could deliver the sad and heartbroken as well as the dreamy lovestruck material. And The Typing Monkey says if you want a real snapshot of what Day could do, look no further than "Everybody Loves a Lover."

It's not a showcase for her vocal abilities the way "Dream a Little Dream" or "When I Fall In Love" are. Instead it's a testament to Day's ability to inhabit the material. Where she's both mother and child -- and all realist -- in "Que Sera Sera" Day plays the wholly self-aware woman who is both confident and stupidly in love in "Everybody Loves a Lover."

It's an almost Bugs Bunny-like performance culminating in Day's round-style duet with herself. She found a guy she loves who loves her back and has no qualms floating by the rest of us, flaunting her luck and (subversively) the hint of the skills she employed to snag her man.

[courtesy of VinylNostalgia]