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TCM Spotlight: Doris Day Collection (It's a Great Feeling / Tea for Two / April in Paris / The Tunnel of Love / Starlift)

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TCM Spotlight: Doris Day Collection (DVD)

]]> The perpetually twinkling star of postwar Hollywood gets another DVD boxed set, TCM Spotlight: Doris Day Collection, covering the early part of Day's career. Four of these titles were cranked out between 1949 and 1952, when Doris was busy getting a push as the latest edition of America's Sweetheart. It's a Great Feeling is a very meta-satire on Hollywood and its crazy ways, taken from a story by future Billy Wilder writing partner I.A.L. Diamond. Doris is a simple gal from Gurkey's Corners, Wisconsin, who meets Jack Carson, the overbearing actor (playing himself), newly given a chance to direct a film because nobody else wants to work with him. (We learn this in an early sequence featuring turn-downs from real-life directors Raoul Walsh, Michael Curtiz, and King Vidor.) This fun trifle has mutual ribbing between Carson and Dennis Morgan (also playing himself), and a gaggle of cameos: Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Ronald Reagan, Jane Wyman, Edward G. Robinson, and one final-scene surprise that ought not be given away. Tea for Two teams Day with Gordon MacRae, who would be, like Carson, a frequent co-star. An extremely loose variation on the Broadway perennial No, No, Nanette, the movie imports a collection of unbeatable song classics, including some Gershwin numbers and (from the original stage musical) "Tea for Two." An incredibly labored plot device, predicting Jim Carrey's Yes Man, helps keep the non-musical sections lame, although Eve Arden and Billy De Wolfe are around to cut up. The movie is also a terrific showcase for dancer Gene Nelson, an under-appreciated hoofer who has a major part. Starlift is a long-unavailable musical that uses the Hollywood Canteen approach: get a big roster of stars together and have them perform for the troops. Day appears only in the early reels, as herself, time enough to belt out "'S Wonderful" and supply some perk. The movie shoehorns in the likes of Ruth Roman, Gary Cooper (actually talk-singing the chorus of "Look Out, Stranger, I'm a Texas Ranger"), James Cagney, Randolph Scott, and an extended bit from Phil Harris. Gene Nelson returns for some excellent dance scenes.

April in Paris gives a rare leading role to Ray Bolger, whose mugging style, better suited to the Broadway stage, contrasts with Day's camera-ready shine; the two don't have much chemistry together. The flat story has Doris as a chorus girl mistakenly invited to represent the U.S. at an international peace conference. At least the Vernon Duke-composed songs, most with lyrics by Sammy Cahn, are a decent lot, and of course Bolger can dance up a storm, notably in a trick number that has him performing with two versions of himself dressed as Lincoln and Washington. Much different in tone is The Tunnel of Love, from 1958, a leering farce based on a play (itself based on a Peter DeVries novel). Doris is married to uptight cartoonist Richard Widmark when an adoption scheme puts hubby in too-close proximity to the lady (Gia Scala) from the adoption agency. Gene Kelly's smarmy direction does nothing to improve the bizarre premise; only Gig Young and Elizabeth Wilson hit the right pitch. The discs include the usual Warners collection of shorts and cartoons, but no Day-specific supporting extras. --Robert Horton

Product Information   Specifications for TCM Spotlight: Doris Day Collection (It's a Great Feeling / Tea for Two / April in Paris / The Tunnel of Love / Starlift) Below:

Manufacturer Turner Classic Movie
UPC 883929038954
Item Weight 0.55 pounds
Item Size 5.75 x 0.53 x 0.53 inches
Package Weight 0.55 pounds
Package Size 5.5 x 1 x 1 inches
Units in Package 1

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