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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lover Come Back (1961)

There was something about the on-screen chemistry between Doris Day and Rock Hudson that just clicked. Yes, their characters' bickering and bantering in all their films had a fizzy rhythm, the sexual tension that would finally consummate by the final reel. But you also get the feeling the two stars were cognizant of the underlying joke of it all. Her virginal star 'brand', the All-American Good Girl, would never allow her bed anyone, not even a Hollywood's hottest hunk. And he, perhaps the most famous of the closeted leading men of that time, was never going to come within a thousand miles of HeteroLand. So what to do? Play it like broad farce and have as much fun as you can. And it showed. This was one of their better pairings. Each of them works for big warring advertising agencies that are literally across Madison Avenue from each other (think "Mad Men" but with laughs). They wind up competing for the same big account but she thinks he's the inventor of the product, not her arch enemy. The racy jokes and double entendres still work, if a mite tamer by today's standards. What's more fascinating are the sly subtle references to Hudson's real life sexuality; it's like watching the film through a fun house mirror. Add to that Day's title ditty and her endless parade of Jackie Kennedy-esque, you can play Spot That TV Character Actor...look for Tony "The Odd Couple" Randall, Ann B. "Brady Bunch" Davis, Donna "The Beverly Hillbillies" Douglas, Joe "McHale's Navy" Flynn, Ted "That Girl" Bessell,  Richard "The Dick Van Dyke Show" Deacon, and Jack "Chico and the Man" Albertson.

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