Showing posts with label Sandra Dee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sandra Dee. Show all posts

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Come September (1961)

In my latest YouTube video I discuss the sex comedy classic Come September (1961) starring Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida, Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin. Available on blu-ray from Kino Lorber!

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Thank you to Kino Lorber for sending me a copy to review!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Doctor, You've Got to be Kidding! (1967)

Doctor You've Got to be Kidding (1967)

1967 was a rough year for Sandra Dee. She was in her mid-twenties and had outgrown the youthful persona that made her famous. Her contract with Universal, the last of the studio era, had ended a couple of years ago and now was the time to transition into a new phase of her career. However, the cutesy image of Sandra Dee was one that was difficult for the public to let go and when her husband Bobby Darin left her during the filming of Doctor, You've Got to be Kidding! (1967) it seemed like that image was shattered forever. This time proved to be a natural end to her acting career. She made a couple more films including Rosie (1967) and The Dunwich Horror (1970) and various film and TV appearances but Sandra Dee the movie star was no more. Even with all of this I refuse to look at Doctor, You've Got to be Kidding (1967) as anything but a fun, kooky film that captured the last of an on screen personality that has continued to captivate and charm us many years later.

Sandra Dee in Doctor, You've Got to be Kidding! (1967)

Doctor, You've Got to be Kidding is an MGM film directed by Peter Tewksbury (originally intended for Charles Walters)  and based on the novel Three for a Wedding by Patte Wheat Mahan. The plot for the story would be nothing without adding a bunch of zany antics to up the entertainment value. It starts with a crazy race to the hospital. Heather Halloran (Sandra Dee) is about to give birth and the identity of the child’s father remains a mystery. Her three suitors want to make her an honest woman and fight with each other to capture her as their prize. Who is the father of the child? Is it one of the three? Or someone else? And so the mystery begins.

Dick Kallman, Dwayne Hickman and Bill Bixby
Dick Kallman, Dwayne Hickman and Bill Bixby

We flashback to the beginning of Heather’s story. Her mother Louise (Celeste Holm) is an elevator operator determined to make her daughter a singing sensation. Over the years Louise has trapped various entertainment executives in her elevator and forced them to listen to Heather’s rendition of Be My Love. These elevator pitches got them nowhere. Heather grows up, dates boys, graduates college and joins the workforce all to her mother’s dismay.

Sandra Dee in Doctor You've Got to be Kidding (1967)

Sandra Dee

Celeste Holm

Heather tries to live a normal life amidst the antics of her kooky mother and a trio of pushy suitors Hank (Dwayne Hickman), Dick (Bill Bixby) and Pat (Dick Kallman). She’s got plenty of guys going gaga for her but it’s her new boss Harlan Wycliff (George Hamilton) who drives her crazy. At first he’s just annoying her with his constant multi-tasking and his brutal honesty. But it just takes one car ride alone together for them to see fireworks. What’s Heather going to do now that she’s about to become an unwed mother and everyone in her life is absolutely bonkers?

Harlan: "Your trouble is that you're wholesome."
Heather: "What a rotten thing to say!”

Sandra Dee and George Hamilton
Sandra Dee and George Hamilton

For those of us who have a deep appreciation for Sandra Dee, this film is a charming entry to her body of work. It’s a glimpse at the last moments when she was happy before she went into the dark post-Darin years. It was during the filming of Doctor You’ve Got to be Kidding that Sandra Dee found out Bobby Darin had left her. In one scene with Bill Bixby, Dee’s character slaps him and she breaks down in tears. That is a real breakdown for the actress who couldn’t hold back her emotions during a turbulent time in her life. According to a TCM article, Dee slapped Bixby so hard she gave him a concussion. When you watch the scene closely there is a continuity error with her hair. It goes from wildly out of place to perfect coiffed. I’ve always wondered if the scene was too much for Dee and the rest had to be shot another day hence the continuity error.

Doctor You’ve Got to be Kidding has a sad background but is essentially a fun wacky film. It might be a bit much for contemporary audiences but those of us who love the absurdity of the 1960s will enjoy this one. My husband watched this one with me and was overwhelmed by it’s kookiness. I had to remind him that “it’s the ‘60s baby.”

This film gives 1960s devotees a glimpse at the youth culture of the time notably dancing, music, nightlife of teens and young adults. For those who love vintage style there is plenty of eye candy including Celeste Holm’s colorful outfits, Bill Bixby’s glasses, Sandra Dee’s shimmery gold ensemble and George Hamilton’s slim fit suit. It’s worth the price of admission just for the shots of Hamilton’s office which is a splendor of 1960s corporate excess. Mad Men eat your heart out.

Heather and the Wild Affair

There are some notable minor roles in this film including beloved Allen Jenkins who plays Joe Bonney, a victim of one of Louise’s many elevator pitches. He helps Heather and her bad The Wild Affair nab a sweet gig at a club run by Mort Sahl’s character Dan Ruskin. Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek fame has a minor role as a secretary in Hamilton’s grandiose office. I had fun spotting Erich Von Stroheim Jr.’s name in the credits; he was an assistant director on the film!

Allen Jenkins and Celeste Holm
Allen Jenkins and Celeste Holm

Nichelle Nichols and Sandra Dee
Nichelle Nichols and Sandra Dee

Doctor, You've Got to be Kidding! (1967) is available on DVD-MOD from Warner Archive. This kooky film is a must see for Sandra Dee devotees and anyone who loves 1960s camp. It's a fun film if you don't take it too seriously.

 Warner Archive Wednesday - On (random) Wednesdays, I review one title from the Warner Archive Collection. I purchased Doctor, You've Got to be Kidding! from Warner Archive. Heck I even requested this title when I wrote to them for their podcast. The episode aired sometime in March 2015.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

20 Actresses Movie Meme

I was just dying for someone to tag me for the 20 Actresses Movie Meme started The Film Experience blog. But I was patient because I knew that Ibetolis over at the excellent blog Film for the Soul would tag me. He's always very kind to think of me and I appreciate that a lot.

It was a lot of fun working on this list. I discovered that my tastes are by no means mainstream or ordinary. Ladies are presented in no particular order, except for the Queen of MGM who always gets top billing.

~ Norma Shearer ~

~ Joan Blondell ~

~ Susan Peters ~

~ Sandra Dee ~

~ Bette Davis ~

~Ruby Keeler ~

~ Doris Day ~

~ Jean Harlow ~

~ Kim Novak ~

~ Marilyn Monroe ~

~ Bonita Granville ~

~ Ginger Rogers ~

~ Jean Seberg ~

~ Jean Hagen ~

~ Caroll Baker ~

~ Shirley MacLaine ~

I couldn't just make this all about classic film ladies, when there are so many contemporary actresses I enjoy watching too. Here are a few.

~ Amy Adams ~

~ Samantha Morton ~

~ Romola Garai ~

~Ludivine Sagnier~

(thanks Jonas for the photo of Ludivine!)

I'll tag Jonas of All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing!, Ginger of Asleep in New York, Carrie of Classic Montgomery, CK Dexter Haven of Hollywood Dreamland and Sarah of Cinema Splendor. Not so much as a tag, more like a smack. Hee hee. Have fun!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tammy Tyree

I had so much fun watching Sandra Dee's 2 Tammy movies. They were campy and sweet and Sandra Dee was just as loveable and vibrant as I like to see her in films. Although not by any means a sex comedy, these films I group in that wonderful category of '60s Romantic Comedies. A genre I have come to love.

The Tammy films are quite formulaic, watching both was like watching the same film twice. They feature Tammy Tyree, that's short for Tambrey which means "immortal", who was raised on the river and doesn't know much about book-learning or talking like folks of the world or even what that box TV is. But man can she fry up a mean catfish.

1) Love Interest - must have personal crisis to overcome before he can love Tammy.
2) Ridicule - Others laugh at Tammy but she puts them right at the end with a big speech.
3) Grumpy Old Person - Tammy makes person less grumpy and gives them a friend.
4) Job - Tammy fails over and over again much to our amusement.
5) Troubled Couple - Tammy helps them overcome their issues and fall in love all over again.
6) Body of Water - Preferably a river, but Tammy will do with a mason jar of water or the ocean.
7) Catch Phrases - Tammy must utter such phrases as "monstrous kind" throughout movie.
8) Failed Kisses - Tammy has to beg for a kiss numerous times until she finally gets a good one towards the end.
9) Acquaintance - Takes a liking to Tammy and shows that not everyone is disdainful.
10) New Experience - Tammy does something she's never done before and we are amused at her wonderment.

Tammy Tell Me True (1961) - This was my favorite of the two. Tammy is in her element on the River and out of her element at college where she is falling in love with Public Speaking teacher Tom, played by the hunky John Gavin. She helps Beulah Bondi's character live again and escape the greedy clutches of her inheritance-hungry niece. I loved Tammy's dialogue. My favorite line, paraphrased badly, was when she was talking to a catfish in the river saying "You are going to be breaded and fried in fat and ate my two lovely ladies and that's a mighty wondrous end for you". My only gripe is that the film overcompensates for Tammy's being dumped by the previous film's love interest Pete, who's name is so often brought up that I feel he was a ghost character.

Tammy and the Doctor (1963) - Because of the formula, I felt like I was watching Tammy Tell Me True again. This time, Beulah Bondi (Mrs. Call) is sick and Tammy who refuses to leave her side takes a job at the hospital. Peter Fonda is just not right for this movie. Poor guy. He stood out like a sore thumb. I felt like there were better things waiting for him. It didn't help that they gave him wrotten dialogue. He couldn't compete with Tammy's unique language. He had sexy lines such as "You can find her address at the personnel's office" or "I'll be back as soon as I wash up." Groan! And also Tammy belongs by the river! In a hospital she was just out of her element too much. We really forgot what she was like. But I have to say, I enjoyed the film nonetheless which in the end is what counts the most.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lifetime Achievement Viewing

Some time ago I had made set goals to watch every single film which feature my top favorite personalities. I say personalities because these are people I am captivated by and it extends beyond any acting abilities or their appearance in good stories (sometimes they lack both!). Hunting for those films reach makes watching their work even more enjoyable.

Norma Shearer ~ 17 out of 61
Bobby Darin ~ 5 out of 14
Sandra Dee ~ 10 out of 24
Marilyn Monroe ~ 25 out of 29
Blonde Bette Davis ~ 14 out of 33
Doris Day ~ 17 out of 39

Lately I've come across a few more opportunities to advance towards my final goal. Sandra Dee's Tammy Tell Me True (1961) and Tammy and the Doctor (1963) were released on DVD a few months ago and Netflix just added it to their extensive library. I immediately added it to my queue, bypassing the original film Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) with Debbie Reynolds, which I guess I really should have seen first to fully understand the storyline. But while Debbie Reynolds is cute, I've always found Sandra Dee even cuter and much more fun to watch on screen!

With The Forbidden Hollywood Collection Vol. 2 I got an opportunity to see The Divorcee (1930) and A Free Soul (1931) in their entirety. Two marks on my list. But these I knew would eventually turn up on DVD. However, two more even rarer opportunities presented themselves recently. My friend Frank is a Laurel & Hardy fan and let me borrow one of his DVDs which contains the short film Stolen Jools (1931) a comedy which features many MGM stars, including Norma Shearer. And TCM recently had a Robert Montgomery marathon (one of Norma's best-known leading men), and they showed Their Own Desire (1929), (which I taped) an elusive film I know very little about but am very happy to see.

There are other actors whose film work I'd like to view in their entirety, but making a goal of it would be quite a feat, and very likely impossible (Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, etc). Those whom I think may be manageable and whom I would like to add include:

Kim Novak
George Sanders
Tom Conway
Dennis Morgan
Bonita Granville
Susan Peters
Richard Barthelmess

Do you have anyone whose life's work is your goal to consume? Or have you already seen the entire canon of films of a favorite star? Let me know!

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