Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Wonders: Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960)

From Hooked on Houses

Doris Day and David Niven star in the delightful romantic comedy "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" (1960).  Day plays Kate Mackay, wife of New York City professor-turned-theater-critic Larry Mackay (Niven) and mother of four lovable but unruly boys.  The family finds themselves moving rather abruptly to a rundown old house in the suburbs just as Larry starts his new job.  Although this is what both had always wanted, and Kate and the boys adapt quickly to their new life, Larry starts to have second thoughts.  He becomes an overnight sensation as a critic when he pans a new play produced by old friend Alfred North (Richard Haydn).  He revels in the attention he starts to receive, and even manages to turn a confrontation with Deborah Vaughn (Janis Paige), the star of the play, into a witty and good-natured publicity stunt.  Larry is also writing a book, and the disruptions caused by the renovations to their new home are not conducive to this pursuit.  Kate has no interest in the glamorous life of the theater, preferring to devote herself to small-town life.  She suggests that Larry stay at a luxury hotel in the city for a couple of weeks until he finishes his book, since the remodelling of their house should be done by that time.  At first this seems like an ideal solution, but soon both begin to have their doubts as a series of mishaps leads to misunderstandings and resentment between the two. Of course, this is a romantic comedy, so everything works out in the end and the Mackay family lives happily ever after in their rambling suburban home!

The movie is based on a book of the same name by Jean Kerr which is a collection of humorous essays based upon her own life.  Day and Niven are superb in their roles.  Both are among my favorite performers, but I normally think of the latter as a dramatic actor, so I was pleasantly surprised by his talent for comedy.  The supporting cast is excellent as well, and the dialogue is amusing and quite inspired at times.  There are two songs in the movie, the first being the title song, but it is the second, "Any Way the Wind Blows", that is my personal favorite:

Also be sure to check out the description of the old fixer-upper house in the movie at Hooked on Houses.  The article includes descriptions of the movie, the sets, the author of the novel upon which the movie is based, and other bits of interesting trivia.  And don't forget to watch the movie -- the comedy is timeless, and still as hilarious now as it was over 50 years ago!

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