All Doris, All Day: A Film Tribute

An early studio portrait of Doris Day.
A publicity shot from the film Love Me or Leave Me. America's favorite actress, Doris Day. Doris Kappelhoff and Roy Fitzgerald: Doris Day and Rock Hudson. A publicity shot from Day's starring role in Calamity Jane.

Doris Day, the reluctant movie star, stopped making films in 1968, and yet she remains one of the most popular film actresses in the world. Not bad for little Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff of Cincinnati.

Hers is a life worthy of a Hollywood movie. Doris longed for a simple life of marriage and kids, but a mother with aspirations toward dancing and singing pushed Doris into performing. By the time she was 17, she was singing on a local radio station and was discovered by bandleader Barney Rapp, who changed her last name to Day.

Within a year, she was singing with Les Brown, for whom she recorded her first multi-million selling single, "Sentimental Journey." This song, which was released in 1945, is a testament to the power of Doris' vocal range; "Sentimental Journey" is sung in the voice of someone nostalgic for days gone by and at twenty-one years old, Doris could hardly have been less world-weary. But she conveyed the feeling of vast experience. That quality in her singing and acting has kept her in the hearts of moviegoers for decades.

Not long after her recording career blossomed, she signed a contract with Warner Brothers Studio and made her first film, Romance on the High Seas in 1948. For the next twenty years, until her final film in 1968, With Six You Get Eggroll, she continued to entrance film-goers and was named the most popular star in film repeatedly -- very often outstripping in popularity Hollywood's brightest male stars.

Fresh City Life pays tribute to Doris Day in June with a collection of great films that showcase Day at different moments in her film career.

Calamity Jane (1953) Tuesday, June 5
There is a lot to recommend Calamity Jane, from a great musical score, an affable crew of actors and even the fact that Calamity Jane teeters on the edge of cult film status for its Wild West gender bending. 101 minutes. Unrated.

Love Me or Leave Me (1955) Tuesday, June 12
*This film will be shown in the Central Library, Level 7 Meeting Room

Special Opening Event with Cabaret Singer Cora Vette!
5:30 p.m. in the Central Library, Level 7 Vida Ellison Gallery
Cora Vette will be opening this event with a concert dedicated to the music of Ruth Etting and Doris Day.

In Love Me or Leave Me, Day fans will enjoy her fine renditions of a number of Etting’s most noteworthy songs — including “I’ll Never Stop Loving You,” “Shaking the Blues Away,” and the title song. Love Me or Leave Me is essential viewing for any fans of Doris Day.” – filmfanatic.org. 122 minutes. Unrated.

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) Tuesday, June 19
A road trip with James Stewart and Doris Day traipsing from Morocco to London, it's two hours of red herrings and intense scenes, one of the least apologetic adventures Hitchcock ever made.

Pillow Talk (1959) Tuesday, June 26
“Welcome to the wacky, wacky world of late 50s big-screen comedy, a world in which anything could happen, except the loss of the heroine’s virginity.” – Alan Vanneman, brightlightsfilm.com. A classic; don’t miss it on the big screen!

Additional info and showtimes here.

Comments

I just had published a new book (positive) about Doris Day and how she affected my life. Check it out: : http://amzn.to/P3D9Kz

Thank goodness someone's finally given this woman her due -- but the collection of her amazing shows as a theme is truly inspired. I adore her and the films she made makes me smile every time. Thanks for this great series!

Mary, Thanks for the note. Our film series member Janet has been coaxing all of us to host a Doris Day series for, well, ever. I'm so glad we finally did it -- and i think Janet has selected a great line up of films. It couldn't have been easy -- DD has a lot of great, fun movies!

You can read a great essay about Doris Day by John Updike in the anthology O.K. You Mugs. Sample: "This shy goddess who avoids parties and live audiences fascinates us with the amount of space we imagine between her face and her mask."

I love this quote!

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