It’s not often that I write a review on these pages, but something re-released on DVD this week caught my eye. I like most films, I’ll give things a go and have a soft spot for what most people will call naff movies, don’t get me wrong I like a good quality film as much as the next person but I like to keep an open mind when deciding what I’m going to give 90 minutes of my life to.
There’s a lot to be said for farce, we don’t get a good old comedy farce like we used to so in order to get my fix I had to look back to the 60s. Doris Day and Rod Taylor make for a likable couple in Ralph Levy’s Do Not Disturb, having directed Marlon Brando and David Niven the previous year in Bedtime Story, Levy cast a nations sweetheart as his leading lady.
Janet and Mike Harper are an all American couple who move to England for Mike’s job, he wants to live in a flat in the city but Janet has her heart set on a house outside the stresses of city life.
Whilst she gets the house she wanted, this leaves Mike at the mercy of a time consuming commute to work everyday. As a result of more traveling, Janet is left on on her own more often, and with the help of her nosey landlady she soon believes her husband is having an affair. Starved of attention from her husband, Janet seeks to find some male attention of her own, on paper this sounds less like a comedy and more a brutal tale of adultery and deception.
What could have been a sordid storyline is always kept firmly in the comedy of errors format, it’s more misunderstanding than infidelity and in the end everything works out as it should. It’s difficult to see this type of movie being made today.
This is by no means one of Dorris Day’s best movies, it’s shamelessly lightweight and doesn’t pretend to be anything other than that. I think what I love about this era of cinema is the feel it gives off, I can almost see the malt shops, taste the hot fruit pie and feel the sun on my face, the small little town where people queue around the corner to see the latest Doris Day film. This might be an idealized version of 1960s America, but I have long believed I was born to late and god help me I envy the clothes.
Rod Taylor is an actor I always wanted to see make more films, he may have lacked the matinee idol qualities of Clark Gable, Rock Hudson or Paul Newman, but he has a quite charm that should have seen him take more leading roles. His performances in The Birds and The Time Machine proved he was more than capable of holding his own as a lead, but it wasn’t to be. Although, he did come out of retirement to play Winston Churchill for Tarantino in Inglorious Bastards, what a treat.
Do Not Disturb might be for the hardcore Doris Day fans, but it’s a well made comedy that still manages to raise a few smiles.
Do Not Disturb is out now on DVD