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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Classic Film Review: Lover Come Back (1961)

Lover Come Back stars Rock Hudson and Doris Day with a side-helping of Tony Randall. Jerry Webster (Hudson) works for an advertising agency and has a pretty simple way of attracting clients - liquor and pretty girls. This infuriates Carol Templeton (Day) who works for one of his competitors and doesn't like the underhand methods. During their war, Webster accidentally advertises a product that doesn't exist - 'Vip'. Of course, Carol wants the 'Vip' contract and approaches the man she thinks is the inventor to wine and dine him. But, due to a stroke of luck, Webster intercepts her visit and he's suddenly masquerading as Dr Linus Tyler while the real Tyler (Jack Kruschen) works on a formula for 'Vip'.

This is a typical Doris Day comedy which relies heavily on her already-established chemistry with Rock Hudson. It's formulaic in places, yes, but it's still enjoyable. Tony Randall as Webster's boss Pete Ramsey, a man domineered by his late father and trying to become his own man, has a few excellent moments and I particularly liked Ann B. Davis as Millie, Carol's secretary, who has a few good lines of her own.

I found that the film trundled along, relying on gentle humour and Day's eyebrows (which are in top form). It really starts to pick up in the last twenty minutes when Carol discovers Webster's true identity. Tony Randall, as Pete flips, is very amusing too. As ever with these types of comedy, I found the ending a little rushed and unsatisfactory - although funny - and the fact that Carol had essentially fallen in love with a man who didn't exist wasn't resolved though, to be fair, I didn't expect it to be.

Lover Come Back isn't as funny as Pillow Talk (1959) but it's pretty good. The title is also nonsensical, the vehicle for a good Doris Day song if ever there was one. She also has another song as Carol wonders whether to succumb to 'Linus's' charms - 'Should I Surrender?', a number I hadn't come across before and rather liked. This is a light-hearted comedy that has a few golden moments but it's not my favourite Day film by any stretch. Worth a watch, though, if you haven't seen it, if only to see how Day's hair can stay perfectly still for long periods of time. Also, I have to admit that Hudson with a beard looks like a different man!

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