Spotlight on Doris Day in The Thrill Of it All
Happy Birthday Doris Day! It thrills me to no end to be able to say that and know she could be reading it (no matter how unlikely it is). Today the fabulous Ms. Day is 96 and couldn’t look better. To celebrate I’m joining the Doris Day Blogathon hosted by Love Letters to Old Hollywood with a spotlight on one of my favorite Day films, The Thrill Of it All.
Funny enough, Doris Day wasn’t even supposed to be in The Thrill Of it All. The film, written by Carl Reiner and Larry Gelbart, was actually intended to star Judy Holliday who was sadly too ill to film. As much as I’d love to have seen her in the part, Day is an able replacement who fills the role of Beverly Boyer seamlessly.
The film, released in 1963, was made at the height of Doris Day’s romantic comedy dominance. She already had been paired with Cary Grant, Jack Lemmon and, of course, Rock Hudson and this time her leading man is the wonderful James Garner.
In the film, Beverly and Gerald Boyer are happily married with two cute kiddos. Gerald is a leading obstetrician and Beverly is a housewife who’s perfectly content to stay in the background and manage the household. That is until she’s chosen to be the face of Happy Soap and her new found fame threatens the couple’s wedded bliss.
Nowadays, a plot like that is sure to induce eye rolls and I totally get it. A husband with a successful career gets upset when his wife decides to leave the home and find her own success? Oh brother! But The Thrill Of it All is just too funny to let the outdated plot points get me down. Between Day’s hilarious commercial fail that rivals Lucille Ball’s iconic Vitameatavegamin Girl, Carl Reiner’s one note movie of the week villains and Garner’s epic dive into a suds filled swimming pool I’m laughing too hard to be really bothered. Though a time-capsule of a different era the film manages to rise above its period shortcomings and endure as one of Day’s funniest comedies.
So on Doris Day’s birthday I’m celebrating the thrill of her enduring legacy with a nod to The Thrill Of it All. Now, I think I’ll go make some popcorn and have a good laugh with her and Mr. Garner