Top 10 Doris Day Movies

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1922, Doris Day aspired to be a professional dancer but a car accident forced her to reassess her career as she spent part of her teenage years in a wheel chair recovering. Taking to singing on radio instead it wasn’t until 1948 that Doris made her first movie as Miss Georgia Garrett in “It’s Magic” (originally known as “Romance on the High Seas”). And so her movie career began which would span 20 years and 39 movies before she left the big screen and went to the small screen with her TV show “The Doris Day Show” which ran from 1968 – 1973.

Often regarded as the “eternal virgin” thanks mainly to a series of movies where the subject of sex was taboo, Day was in fact a very accomplished actress capable of delivering comedy, romance as well as heavy drama and of course was able to sing and dance as well. A seriously well rounded star who was top box-office star for 1963 and is often regarded as the ‘all-time’ top female box office star.

During her career she starred opposite some of Hollywood’s major stars such as Gordon MacRae, David Niven, Clark Gable, Kirk Douglas, James Stewart, Gig Young, Howard Keel, James Garner, Jack Lemmon and of course Rock Husdon whose trio of movies that they made together are some of her most popular.

Whilst it’s fair to say that some of Doris Day’s movies were remarkably similar with a recurring theme of being either a career minded young woman or duped by a man they worked well and made for some marvelous movies made memorable usually by at least one musical scene showcasing Day’s wonderful singing voice.

From out of her 39 movies it is actually quite difficult to narrow it down to just 10 but here is my personal choice for the “Top 10 Doris Day Movies”.

#10 Teacher’s Pet (1958)

The first movie to see what would become a very familiar storyline as Doris Day plays a career minded woman duped by a man pretending to be someone else. Here we watch Doris Day play Erica Stone a lecturer in journalism who ends up being duped by James Gannon (Clark Gable) a bit city newspaper editor who initially wants to give Stone a piece of his mind but ends up falling for her. The trouble is he pretends to be someone else when they meet and you know it will cause problem when his true identity is revealed.

Although “Teacher’s Pet” would be the first of these romantic-comedies which featured very similar storylines it was noticeable for the fact that Doris Day played things straight, whilst still delivering that charming and lovable performance which would fill many of these romantic comedies. Instead we had Clark Gable delivering the comedy as James Gannon with a wonderful array of face pulling with makes “Teacher’s Pet” a hugely enjoyable movie.

#9 Young Man With a Horn (1950)

In all fairness “Young Man With a Horn” or “Young Man of Music” as it is also known is not really a Doris Day movie rather than a Kirk Douglas movie with Doris Day in a supporting role. But the story of Rick Martin (Kirk Douglas) who learns to play the trumpet from legendary musician Art Hazzard and goes on to become a troubled star musician is a brilliant movie full of drama, emotion and music as well as a little comedy.

It is a brilliant performance from Kirk Douglas in the lead role but Doris Day is equally as good even in the lesser role of songstress Jo Jordan who ends up becoming a close friend to Rick. Although she only gets to sing 4 songs in the movie each one is beautiful done and in between each of these songs Day shows what a talented actress she is, so natural in every scene.

#8 It Happened to Jane (1959)

In the same year that Doris Day would make her first movie with Rock Hudson she also made another romantic comedy, this time with Jack Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs. In “It Happened to Jane” Doris plays Jane Osgood a career minded mother who breeds and sells lobsters who finds herself taking on the might of Harry Foster Malone (Ernie Kovacs) the owner of a train line which cost her a lot of money in dead lobsters. With the help of her best friend, lawyer George Denham (Jack Lemmon) she battles Malone in anyway she can but despite her troubles things may turn out alright in more sense than one.

With the exception of “Teacher’s Pet” prior to “It Happened to Jane” the majority of Doris Day’s romantic movies had largely been largely musicals. But here we had Day showing her ability in a more straight forward romantic comedy with barely a musical scene in sight, except for one heavily manufactured one featuring “Be Prepared”. What makes this movie feature in my “Top 10 Doris Day Movies” is the combination of Doris Day and Jack Lemmon who between them light up the screen with a perfect amount of comedy.

#7 The Thrill of It All (1963)

“The Thrill of It All” would be the first of Doris Day and James Garner’s 2 movies together and see once more Doris Day taking on a familiar role of a house wife and mother. During a dinner party Beverly Boyer (Doris Day), wife of obstetrician Gerald (James Garner), regales the hosts with a tale about how she used ‘Happy Soap’ to wash her children’s hair, as it happens her hosts are the owners of ‘Happy Soap’. Before she knows it Beverly is the new face of ‘Happy Soap’ making adverts, appearing on bill boards and being wined and dined at big socials. All of which ends up annoying Gerald who barely sees his wife causing a rift in their happy marriage.

Although their second movie together, “Move Over, Darling” would end up a bigger box-office success I prefer “The Thrill of It All” out of Doris Day and James Garner’s 2 movies together. It’s for the most rather routine with Doris Day playing that beautiful and slightly kooky house wife to James Garner’s tall dark and handsome husband but it’s full of memorable, funny scenes. The fake posing for the billboard and the swimming pool full of suds are two of just many innocently amusing moments in a movie full of them.

#6 On Moonlight Bay (1951)

In her 20 year movie career and despite making several movies which used the same sort of storyline Doris Day only made one sequel which was “By the Light of the Silvery Moon”. The predecessor to it was the beautifully titled “On Moonlight Bay” which saw Day take on the role of Marjie Winfield a tomboy who falls for Bill Sherman (Gordon MacRae). The trouble is that Bill has some unorthodox views on relationships and marriage and also on a few other things which end up annoying Marjie’s father George.

Although “On Moonlight Bay” has a storyline, in fact it has a few storylines it is very much a musical with numerous musical moments featuring either the wonderful Doris Day or the equally wonderful Gordon MacRae and often together. But it is the way everything comes together to make a thoroughly pleasant and charming movie, completely innocent and a lot of fun.

#5 The Pajama Game (1957)

This would be the last of Doris Day’s movies which were firstly musical and drama second but it is surprisingly good fun. Set in the Sleeptite Pajama Factory Doris plays Babe Williams a union rep who finds herself coming up against new superintendent Sid Sorokin (John Raitt) who falls head over heels for her, except business and pleasure start to make things rather messy especially as Babe’s fellow workers want a rise.

“The Pajama Game” has it roots as a Broadway musical and what makes the screen version work is that it feels like you are watching a stage musical. With many of the Broadway cast reprising their roles for the movie and with a vibrant styling which really brings it to life it is a very entertaining movie. And of course it features Doris Day at her feisty best as she plays up against John Raitt whilst delivering plenty of cheerful musical numbers.

#4 Love Me or Leave Me (1955)

During her career Doris Day performed in a few movies which were based or inspired by real people, in “Love Me or Leave Me” she stars as Ruth Etting in a fictionalized account of the jazz singer’s life. Having been spotted by Chicago hood Marty Snyder (James Cagney) Ruth goes from a wannabee singer to a major star, but with Snyder controlling her life the public image Ruth presented was vastly different to her unhappy private one.

What makes Doris Day’s performance in “Love Me or Leave Me” so brilliant comes in hindsight of information that Doris Day revealed in her autobiography. Day herself suffered an unhappy marriage to Martin Melcher who basically controlled her life and much of which almost mirrors what you watch in “Love Me or Leave Me”. As such there is a real sense of pain and emotion in many of the scenes in the movie where Snyder inflicts his rage and control over Ruth. Plus of course being a movie about a singer means we get plenty of brilliant musical moments including renditions of “Ten Cents a Dance” and “I’ll Never Stop Loving You”.

#3 By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953)

As already mentioned “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” is the equally beautifully titled sequel to “On Moonlight Bay” and follows a very similar storyline with Marjie Winfield still having relationship issues with Bill who having agreed to marry her before heading off to war returns not quite ready to walk down the aisle. And that’s not the only problem as other member’s of the Winfield household are having a few issues.

To many “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” is inferior to “on Moonlight Bay” and basically just rehashes the whole storyline, which in all fairness it does. But to me it has a lot more charm especially with the wintry setting and memorable ending on the frozen pond with a wonderful family sing-a-long. It also helps that Day is at her cutest best as Marjie easy on the eyes and easy to fall in love with.

#2 Pillow Talk (1959)

It may come as a surprise to some but Doris Day and Rock Hudson only made 3 movie together, although it often feels like more because Day made several similar movies all of with quite similar handsome stars. Their first movie together was “Pillow Talk” with saw Day playing Jan Morrow who shares a party phone line with Brad Allen (Rock Hudson) much to her annoyance as he hogs the line with calls to and from various women. But when Allen finds himself in the company of Morrow he has a bit of fun pretending to be an out of town Texan called Rex Stetson, except what started as a bit of fun turns into more when they genuinely fall for each other.

As already mentioned Doris Day made several similar movies and here again we see her being duped by a man pretending to be someone else. It is the best version of this type of storyline thanks to the amazing chemistry between Doris Day and Rock Hudson making it extremely funny and quite romantic, which in an ironic way is quite funny thanks to certain revelations about both of the stars. And despite the concept of Day being duped by another man had already been done it is the one most people remember with Day delivering her kooky, face pulling comedy to the max whilst Hudson charms his way through every scene.

#1 Calamity Jane (1953)

And finally my number 1 Doris Day movie in my list of “Top 10 Doris Day Movies” and it has to be the award winning “Calamity Jane”. In “Calamity Jane” Doris Day stars as Jane a feisty Indian tracker in the town of Deadwood who likes to boast a little too much. When the owner of the local saloon is desperate to get someone to perform, Jane boasts she can bring back acclaimed stage performer Adelaid Adams from Chicago to perform on their small stage. But having headed off to Chicago Jane mistakes Adelaid’s maid Kate for the big star and returns with her instead. Well it all comes out that Jane didn’t bring back Adelaid but her and Kate become friends leaving to a bit of unexpected rivalry in the romantic department.

From the opening scene with the lively “The Deadwood Stage (Whip-Crack-Away)” right through to the credits “Calamity Jane” is an out and out classic musical full of big musical song and dance numbers which makes the storyline almost unimportant despite not being that bad. But why “Calamity Jane” is my number 1 movie is because it showcases everyone of Doris Day’s wonderful talents from dancing, singing, comedy as well as a touch of drama and alongside solid performances from Howard Keel, Allyn Ann McLerie and Philip Carey there is not a single dull moment in it’s entire length.

German Horror Movies – Directors Who Shaped Underground Cinema

As a nation, Germany has gone through many difficult times and survived two of the largest wars ever to take place on our planet. Understandably, after having endured so much real life terrors, the horror movie genre didn’t exactly flourish there following World War II. In fact, it wouldn’t be until the 1980’s that filmmakers would begin to emerge from the German underground film scene and begin making their mark on our favorite genre.

Today I’d like to introduce you to five influential German directors who’ve made the German horror genre what it is today. While you may not recognize them all, I bet you’ll know at least one name from this list.

We begin our journey with a man by the name of Andreas Schnaas, said to be the pioneer of Germany’s ultra-violent underground film scene. Herr Schnaas was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1968 and fell in love with cinema at a very young age. Since his local theaters were lax in their exclusion of young people from more horrific films, Schaas grew up on a steady diet of high caliber martial arts movies and zombie flicks. While his parents didn’t necessarily approve of his cinematic tastes, they did recognize his artistic leanings and by age twelve

he’d shot his first amateur horror film in which he and a friend starred.

It wouldn’t be until 1989 that Herr Schnaas would work up the funds needed to shoot his own movie (5,000 German Marks, roughly $2,000 USD), but when he did his first film he made quite a splash. Violent Sh*t, his initial full length film was so named because it’s precisely what Schnaas’ friend accused him of making. The story involved Karl the Butcher and obviously the movie itself was heavily gore-oriented. Fans loved it and it instantly became a cult hit inspiring many a midnight showing. The German government, on the other hand, banned it once it hit video as the country’s very first straight-to-video release. It’s gone on to spawn three sequels: Mother Hold My Hand, Infantry of Doom (known as Zombie Doom in the United States) and Nikos. Even

though the band never sued for the copyright infringement, the first film did include an unauthorized use of the W.A.S.P. song ‘The Torture Never Stops‘.

That same year, writer director Jörg Buttgereit of Berlin, would bring the world yet another controversial film. Nekromantik was described by famous filmmaker John Waters as the world’s “first erotic film for necrophiliacs”. The story in Nekromantik involves a sort of tragic “hero” who’s job it is to remove bodies from public places. This gives him the perfect opportunity to pursue his favorite fetish: romancing the dead. As you can imagine, due to its

subject matter, the film found itself banned in several countries. However, unlike the Schnaas films, Nekromantik intends to be a social commentary. The basic gist of the story shows the main character as abused and tormented by society at large, thus triggering his withdrawl into the sick fantasy world he’s built to hide within. In his fantasies he can exercise ultimate control over the world and essentially ‘puppet’ the dead the same way that he perceives society to be the all-controlling master of his existence.

While Herr Buttgereit’s film can be defined as horror since that’s clearly a strong element in the film, many viewers find it to be more clearly classified as a transgressive film which is in itself a genre of avant garde filmmaking. The film itself contains many scenes that will be difficult for any audience to swallow, but hard truths about life often are. For stark symbolism, Buttgereit’s cinematic debut certainly pushes all boundaries.

Shortly before the 1990’s, one more force arose in the German movie landscape: Olaf Ittenbach. Black Past, Herr Ittenbach’s first film, proves to be not only his directorial debut, but also his introduction as an actor. He plays a teenage metalhead who’s a heavy drinker and obsessed with death, tortured by nightmarish visions. Of course, from there it’s a total spiral down into madness. Many consider Ittenbach to be the first German ‘splatterpunk’ filmmaker and have compared his works to Resident Evil, Toxic Avengers and other more recognized films. He certainly pushed German horror further into the public spotlight, but not as much as our final director featured in this article.

You may’ve guessed what’s coming: Uwe Boll. Herr Boll is a filmmaker whom critics love to hate. He’s a man who seemingly single-handedly took dark German films to the true international level. He’s not only a director, but also screen writer and perhaps most notably a producer of his own work. Unlike many Hollywood directors who receive outside funding, Herr Boll tends to fund his own work. He studied at both the University of Siegen and the

University of Cologne and holds a doctorate in literature.

So it may come as a surprise to many that he’s so despised in the film world. While there are as many potential reasons as there are minds to think them up, critics often take aim at what they see as his emphasis of style over substance. The films of Uwe Boll often take direct inspiration from videos games like Alone in the Dark, Postal, BloodRayne and House of the Dead. While they may not boast the finest acting or most realistic effects in movies today, Herr Boll’s films most certainly offer up a solid fun factor and that’s made him something of a cult hero among fans of both horror movies and video games in general.

In true maverick style, Uwe Boll rarely stands down when criticized. He’s notorious for publicly insulting his critics and even challenging them to get into a ring and box him! This compliments his legendary ability to raise funds for his films as opposed to seeking funding from established studios. Most of his investors are German because in his native country he enjoys a tax shelter that helps him be able to finance the films more easily. Despite all the

harsh criticism and downright mean things said about his films, he continues to produce them and they arguably improve. While he may remain a magnet for media spite, Uwe Boll stands proud for his fans and refuses to give up his passion.

That’s a wrap on this look at four influential directors on the German horror movie scene. I hope I’ve opened your eyes to what the land that brought us Volkswagens and Dachshunds has to offer when it comes to dark cinema. It may take some work to find the titles featured here, but you certainly won’t fail to be shocked if you choose to pick a few up for your own viewing pleasure!

“The Hills Have Eyes” Movie Review

Plot:

An updated version of Wes Craven’s 1977 film of the same name,”The Hills Have Eyes” is the story of a family road trip that goes terrifyingly awry when the travelers become stranded in a government atomic zone. Miles from nowhere, the Carters soon realize the seemingly uninhabited wasteland is actually the breeding ground of a blood-thirsty mutant family…and they are the prey.

Cast: Ezra Buzzington, Aaron Stanford, Emilie de Ravin, Kathleen Quinlan, Ted Levine, Vinessa Shaw, Dan Byrd, Robert Joy.

My Thoughts:

Gritty and realistic just like the original.

Review:

“The Hills Have Eyes” is a remake of Wes Cravens original 1977 movie where a road tripping family winds up stranded in a government atomic zone, which is inhabited by a very nasty mutant family. The 2006 remake really captures the spirit of the original and in a way is way more twisted also. This film revolves around the Carter family Brenda, Bob, Bobby, Ethel, their oldest daughter Lynne, her husband Doug, and their baby daughter. Prior to introducing us to the Carter’s, the beginning of the movie quickly laments the idea that the Hills do have eyes when 3 CDC agents are made short work of by someone weilding a pick axe. It’s a very entertaining and gory scene which sets the mood and tone of the movie nicely, before the opening credits roll. The Carter’s are driving to San Diego for a good old fashioned family vacation.

Now before the rationalists step in and say huh? Doug brings up the million dollar question early in the film, of why couldn’t they have just “flown” like normal people? As if trekking through the desert heat wasn’t bad enough, the trailer they’re pulling behind them has a busted air conditioner much to Doug’s dismay. The early impression of the Carter family is your typical american red state american family. While Doug comes off as more of the liberal democrat type, despite being married to their oldest daughter.

This culture clash is set up nicely and works to enhance the films early dialogue which keeps the movie interesting early on. Because of their differing beliefs, Bob Carter does not particularly care for Lynne’s husband Doug, and they spend a lot of the early moments of the movie taking snipes at each other which are sure to extract some giggles and laughs from the viewer. Taking a page out of the “Wrong Turn” book, we are introduced to a desert yokel who may or may not be leading people into those “Hills”. It isn’t necessarily said that he’s doing this, but it is strongly hinted at and he does definitely know about the Hill people.

After the Carters fill up the gas tank, this man hips them to a short cut which according to him will save them a couple hours. The Hill people meanwhile are watching and taking yet another page out of “Wrong Turn”, they set up a spike trap to blow out the tires of the Carter family SUV, stranding them in the desert. Alex Aja does an excellent job building suspense in this movie because after the opening scene, we don’t see the hill people anymore until about 35 minutes into the movie. But Alex keeps us on the edge of our seat with scenes that strongly suggest they are out there, lurking, watching, and waiting for the perfect time to strike. Aja also keeps the Hill folks hidden most of the time. The only one we really get a full look at early in the movie is Ruby, who compared to the rest of the Hill people looks mostly normal. The Hill people themselves are a disturbing looking bunch, and the sounds they make along with their violent and perverse actions throughout the movie are equally disturbing. Why are they violent and perverse?

Well to make a long story short, the government wanted to test their “toys” on their land. The families refused to leave, so the government tested their “toys” there anyway. The radioactive effects caused severe deformities to all human life within the area, and when you mix years of festering anger over the matter, plus horrid deformities, you’ve got very fertile land for violent, anti social behavior. Once the Carter’s become stranded in this desolate wasteland…most of the scenes that follow are spent with their son Bobby chasing down their two german shepards “Beauty” and “Beast” who continually escape from the car and go running off into the hills, with one of the dogs having the unfortunate luck of crossing paths with one of the Hill people. Why someone would bring two adult dogs that size with them on family vacation I’ll never know. Bob the dad, and Doug decide to go seek out help for their dire situation, which is where the film begins it’s descent into madness as the Hill people seize this opportunity to attack the remaining members of the family.

Obviously…albeit deformed and borderline retarded…the Hill folk understand that these suburbanites…like in the case of most families, are at their most vulnerable when the two adult males of the group are gone. The trailer attack scene is the highlight of the movie as a lot of shocking events unfold during which include the loss of three main characters, and a very disturbing rape scene. Wes Craven and Alex Aja who wrote the script for “The Hills Have Eyes” really didn’t slink off on the graphic nature of the movie, staying true to the original. The deaths even though there aren’t very many, still carry a very big impact because of how the scenes are set up and written to take place. Craven and Aja also do a great job with the revenge angle of the story, as those who managed to survive the trailer attack, decide to take the fight to the people in the Hills who have not only taken the lives of their loved ones, but also have kidnapped Doug and Lynnes baby.

The final act of “The Hills Have Eyes” is outstanding in it’s franetic pace, and overall intensity. It carries a lot of suspense, awesome fight scenes, lots of blood, gore, loss of limbs, and carnage, and we get to fully see the Hill freaks which there are more of than at first thought. You’d be surprised to know that besides Aaron Standford who gives an awesome performance as Doug, one of the Carter family dogs carries the final act of the movie very nicely and at the screening I attended was certainly a crowd favorite. I am not sure which dog it was because both Beauty and Beast were the same breed, but whichever one it was, it…along with an unexpected ally, certainly did their fair share of helping to battle the films villains. “The Hills Have Eyes” while slow in a few early areas, does an excellent job of building suspense and containng all of the elements a true horror movie should. Backing all of that up with above average performances, a substantial amount of blood and gore, and boasting a very strong 80’s horror feel, it ranks right up there with Wes Cravens original.

Pros:

Good performances especially by Aaaron Stanford, even though the previews will have you believing Emilie De Ravin is the star of this movie, Stanford is the one who’s involved in more scenes than anyone else. Blood, gore, and horror elements were strongly present which is always a plus. Also gotta love that heroic dog which saved Doug’s ass more than once. The vacant desert and empty smalltown settings also worked to create a lot of suspense throughout the movie. The Hill folks as the villains of the movie were really good.

Cons:

I felt Emilie De Ravin should’ve had a few more scenes than she did. Other than that nothing major.

Overall:

A worthy remake, and a fun time at the movies. Definitely worth the price of admission.