Monday, April 9, 2012

Mystery Mondays: Julie (1956)

Doris Day starred in a total of 39 movies, both comedies and dramas.  A few of her films were suspense thrillers, and I will be highlighting them on Mystery Mondays this month in honor of her April birthday.  First up is "Julie" (1956), co-starring Louis Jourdan and Barry Sullivan.  In this film, Day plays the title character, a young widow who has recently remarried.  Her second husband, Lyle Benton (Jourdan) is a concert pianist whose jealousy and possessiveness convince Julie that he is dangerous.  Then she discovers that her first husband, a supposed suicide, was actually murdered by Lyle.  With the help of old friend Cliff Henderson (Sullivan), Julie flees to San Francisco.  However, even though the police know that Lyle killed her first husband, he eludes them and there is legally nothing the police can do to protect Julie.  She does her best to evade him, but he always tracks her down and she must flee again.  Julie returns to work as an airline stewardess, but her psychopathic husband even manages to find her on the job, leading to a violent and thrilling, if rather melodramatic, ending.  While this movie is not considered one of Day's best, it is a true thriller, with very little relief from the suspense until the very end.  Watch this one for the action, the beauty of California's Monterey Peninsula, and of course if you are a big Doris Day fan like me!

Interesting Facts:  This movie was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Original Screenplay and Best Song ("Julie", sung by Doris Day).  This film was very difficult for Day.  She was reluctant to make the movie because the personality of the Lyle Benton character reminded her too much of her first two husbands.  Her third husband, Martin Melcher, insisted that she do it, as this movie was his first effort as a producer.  Day was also ill while performing in "Julie".  Her husband felt that, as a Christian Scientist, she should not seek medical attention, but after filming was complete Day did see a doctor, who discovered that she had an ovarian tumor and needed surgery.  Melcher also became quite jealous of Day's friendship with Louis Jourdan, mirroring one of the film's story lines.  About the only good thing to come out of this production for Doris Day was the fact that she fell in love with the Carmel location where parts of the movie were filmed.  Later in life she settled in the area and is still there today.

Doris Day in "Julie" (1956)
(from The Films of Doris Day)

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