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Some may consider the Rock Hudson / Doris Day comedies of the 50's and 60's to be dated, corny, and sexist to boot but I find them still to be clever and sparklingly funny, and, viewed today, wonderfully innocent. The comic chemistry between Doris Day and Rock Hudson was unique and ranks with other classic pairings such as Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. This movie will always have a nostalgic place in my memory, as it was the first 'adult' comedy I saw. I was fifteen and saw it in Radio City Music Hall with my church youth fellowship group on a trip to New York. My, how risque it seemed! Of note is Jack Oakie's delightful bit as the southern colonel in what turned out to be his last feature film ("Just a tay-uch!")
In New York's Fifth Avenue 'hive' of advertising agencies, the
executives are either 'workers' or 'drones'. The former are industrious and
diligent (and female), and the latter (the men) get by on wining and dining
their clients. Carol Templeton is very much a worker, and she resents
losing an account to Jerry Webster, the drone of all drones. One of Jerry's
schemes (should that be 'scams'?) is the invention of "Vip", a non-existent
commodity. He markets the new product so successfully that Vip becomes an
overnight sensation. Throw in a severe case of mistaken identity, a nutty
professor and a bungled seduction, and you have all the ingredients for a
pleasant and well-constructed romantic comedy.
This was the second of the three Day-Hudson movies, and probably the best. Tony Randall is consistently funny as Peter Ramsey, the ineffectual company boss. Day does the humour very well, even if the main part of her duties is to pull a series of exasperated faces. There's a good split-screen graphic and a funny moose joke. Rock's woollen suit is amusing, and I liked the witty conclusion to the aquarium scene. Just one thought - why is Doris's hair so resiliently bouffant immediately after she steps out of the sea?
Everybody knows now that Rock Hudson was gay, but it goes without saying that this was far from universally acknowledged back in 1961. Is it my imagination, or does the film contain a vein of subtle "Rock-is-one-of-those" drollery? He makes a tongue in cheek speech to Doris, telling her that he can never be a real man to her. When the effeminate co-worker informs Doris that he has a lilac carpet in his apartment, she does a highly significant double-take. Rock keeps saying things like "I am not undersexed!" He tells Doris that he's taking her in - is he doing the same to the movie audience?
Finally, given that no lovers part, and indeed there ARE no lovers in the entire film, one wonders about the choice of title ...
Of the three Rock Hudson-Doris Day films my absolute favorite is Lover
Come Back. It's not only a good sex comedy for Doris and Rock, but it's
also a very funny satire on the advertising business of Madison Avenue.
In Pillow Talk Doris was an interior decorator and Rock a songwriter. They haven't changed their characters at all, but now are both in the advertising business.
Through an incredible combination of circumstances I couldn't possibly write Rock has created commercials for a product that doesn't exist and the doofus son of the agency he works for, Tony Randall, has ordered them given full blown airing. With Doris nipping at his heels for unethical practices, Rock and Tony hire a nutty scientist played by Jack Kruschen to come up with some kind of product for the commercials.
In the meantime Doris mistakes Rock for the scientist and now we're back to the plot of Pillow Talk as Rock decides to make some time with Doris. It gets pretty wild and wacky, especially after Kruschen invents something that has some very unforeseen consequences.
All the cast members do just fine in this very bright comedy that has me splitting a gut with laughter every time I see it. In addition to the cast members mentioned, I should also single out Edie Adams as the southern model who Hudson makes the commercials with.
Also to be singled out in what turned out to be his farewell screen performance is Jack Oakie who plays the southern client who Rock steals from Doris and gets all the wacky nonsense started.
Even given the changing mores, Lover Come Back holds up quite well and today's audience will love it as I do.
This Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedy is a vast improvement over their
previous one, "Pillow Talk". At least, both stars seem to be having a
relaxed time with one another, under the direction of Delbert Mann. It
helps a lot that the tremendously talented writing team of Stanley
Shapiro and Paul Henning are around to give the movie lots of laughs
with what they created.
The idea of warring advertising executives works well. Doris Day plays the uptight Carol Templeton, a girl from the provinces that manages to land a plum job in a Madison Avenue firm and lives in a fantastic Manhattan apartment that was only to be found in the movies. Carol dresses with style, but one wonders whose idea was to have her wear those hideous hats she constantly sports.
Carol's enemy turns out to be Jerry Webster, the playboy adman who steals everything from Carol's reach. As played by Rock Hudson, this is one of his best roles in comedy. Somehow he made us believe he was that man who has a knack to get what he wants, especially from the adoring women he charms.
The basic premise of the film is the constant battle between Carol and Jerry. Both stars do some of their best work as they clash over the new product that suddenly appears in ads all over the place. VIP is something nobody knows about, yet Carol wants to get the account. VIP turns out to be a product that gives its user a great feeling for only 10 cents. Sampling the product at the Ad Council, where Carol takes Jerry to be tried for his unprofessional conduct, turns out to be one of the best things that ever happened to Carol and Jerry and all the ones that have a taste of the product.
Doris Day was a beautiful comedienne. Her wholesome figure and natural charm is one of the best things this film has going for it. Rock Hudson also is excellent with his take of the lecherous Jerry. Tony Randall plays another of his neurotic characters. Edie Adams is only seen shortly, but in her few scenes, she is wonderful. Jack Oakie makes a great appearance as the Virginian with a taste for girls and booze on a business trip in Manhattan.
This is a comedy for Doris Day and Rock Hudson fans.
In New York, Madison Avenue is the center of advertising world and like
in a beehive, divided in workers and drones. Carol Templeton (Doris
Day) is a professional that has just arrived from Omaha, Nebraska, to
work in the Bracket, McGalpin & Gaines Advertising expecting to be a
winner through hard work. The unethical Jerry Webster (Rock Hudson)
works in the Ramsey & Son and entertains his clients with sexy women,
bribe and booze to ensure contracts for his agency.
When the Southern J. Paxton Miller (Jack Oakie) comes to New York to close the contract of the Cera Miller account, Carol prepares a presentation to the old man. However, Jerry wins the account bringing Miller to a nightclub with strippers, booze and a party later in his penthouse with the strippers led by Rebel Davis (Edie Adams).
Carol is upset and goes to the advertising council to throw Jerry out of the advertising business. However, Jerry lures Rebel, who is going to testify against him, offering the position of VIP girl in TV commercials for the new product VIP. Then he asks the team to not broadcast but only file the footages since VIP that does not exist. However, the insecure Peter 'Pete' Ramsey (Tony Randall), who has inherited the Ramsey & Son, orders a massive advertising campaign broadcasting the commercials to show himself off to his employees. In order to save his job and the agency, Jerry hires Doctor Linus Tyler (Jack Kruschen), who is a lonely man, to develop VIP.
Meanwhile, Carol decides to take the VIP account for her agency and she visits Dr. Tyler. However, she meets Jerry instead and believes that he is the famous scientist awarded with the Nobel Prize. Now Carol wants to convince Dr. Tyler to come to her agency and the cynical Jerry uses the situation to seduce Carol.
"Lover Come Back" is really a delightful and witty romantic comedy, with a funny story and a great screenplay that was awarded with the 1962 Oscar. Tony Randall is hilarious and his insecure character is among the funniest I have ever seen. Rock Hudson and Doris Day are excellent, showing magnificent chemistry. The two guys that stumble with Jerry Webster everywhere are also very funny. My only remark is to the disappointing rushed ending that gives the sensation that something is missing and makes Carol Templeton a stereotype of the women in the 50's and 60's. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Volta Meu Amor" ("Come Back My Love")
LOVER, COME BACK is a stylish and sophisticated sex comedy that reunited Doris Day, Rock Hudson, and Tony Randall in this story of rival advertising executives (Day, Hudson) who, though they've never met, can't stand each other and are always competing for the same clients which once again sets up a clever mistaken identity scenario that allows Rock to pretend to be someone else in order to woo an unsuspecting Doris. This is Doris and Rock's best film, IMO...a sparkling romantic comedy with a strong screenplay and once again, Doris again exemplifies the 60's working woman....one of the few actresses during this time in Hollywood consistently playing working women competing in a man's world. Doris and Rock get strong support from Randall, Jack Kruschen, Ann B. Davis, and especially Edie Adams. Doris' "virginity" never had more sex appeal than it did here.
Both Rock and Doris are caught up in the VIP madness. Trouble is that
no one knows what VIP actually is. You see that Rock made it all up to
get Edie Adams off his back. Unfortunately, his "crazy" boss, Tony
Randall, doesn't know this and as a result the hilarity begins.
Rock Hudson excelled in comedy roles when he would be imitating others so as to fool Doris Day. Remember Rex Stetson in another Rock and Doris film? As Jerry Webster, the advertising Casanova in this film, Rock gave a totally memorable performance. Doris plays Carol Templeton, a devoted advertising executive who can no longer stand losing accounts to Jerry, since he knows how to wine, dine and bed prospective clients.
The dialogue is crisp and riotous at best. Edie Adams as Rebel will make you laugh out loud with a darling southern accent. Jack Kruschen has his moments as the embittered chemist who can be bought. Interesting to note that both Adams and Kruschen appeared together the year before in "The Apartment." As is the case with this film as well, they weren't in any scenes together.
A romp in every sense of the word.
The feminist brigade will doubtless take offense, but this send-up of
Madison Avenue, careerist women and consumerism is hilarious. Jackie
Gleason was once asked why The Honeymooners has stood the test of time.
A bit peeved, he replied, "Because it's funny."
The same with Lover Come Back. Almost every line is a joke, and every single joke works it was funny in 1961 and is funny today. The script is tight and never insults our intelligence with implausible plot points. And the stars, Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall, are at their peak. And the feature roles are filled with great character players (Anne B. Davis, Joe Flynn and the great Jack Oakie). You'd almost think it was the golden age of the Studio System.
It's difficult to summarize the plot, because it would be like explaining the punch line of a great joke. Trust me on this: Lover Come Back will go down as one of the great comedies in movie history.
There's a scene at the aquarium, where Jerry Webster seduces Carol Templeton. It takes place in front of a tank with an angler-fish and a minnow. Need I say more?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My personal preference is for films of all kinds from the '30's to the
mid '40's. For me the writing is generally much more sophisticated than
later films - especially films from the era of Lover Come Back. That
said, I give this film extremely high marks for the script. The writing
here is much more sophisticated than Pillow Talk. There is nothing in
any of the Day/Hudson movies to compare with the aquarium scene. It is
Another key scene is when Rock comes up to Doris' apartment for dinner. The dress that she wears in that scene is one of the best ever! It is sophisticated, chic, glamorous and as sexy as they come! It accentuates her knockout figure without revealing anything! Wow is she ever hot in that dress!
But that scene, paradoxically, is why I do not rate this film more highly. Rock really overdoes the poor, sheltered, inexperienced guy. (I wish he had played that scene with the subtlety he displays when Doris mistakes him for the professor in the lab, and in the subsequent aquarium scene. They are both perfect.) As hammy as it is, it is a real blemish on an otherwise great performance and fabulous comedy. That scene just seems more hammy than the rest of the film.
One other criticism is the ending. It comes very abruptly. I wish there had been some film footage showing his mailing letters for 8 months before giving up in the 9th, rather than just having his character tell us about that long interval while proposing to Doris on her way to delivery.
Lastly, I think that this film gets overlooked because of its title. If it had a title that actually reflected the story, it would be more memorable. Every time I hear "Lover Come Back" I just draw a blank. Day and Hudson aren't lovers except for one night very late in the story, and they are reunited a few scenes later at the very end of the film. The bulk of the film deals with their conflict! The title leads you to expect a story built around the efforts of one lover to rekindle a romance with an estranged beloved - not this movie at all! Big mistake.
I love this movie. It's one of the wittiest and funniest comedies I've ever seen, and I can watch it over and over again without getting tired. I like "old" movies, but most comedies of the 50's and 60's contain some scenes where I can't help feeling a bit embarrassed because they are so old fashioned and can't be understood or laughed at 50 years later. But this movie is still perfect, although the mentalities have changed so much. The actors (Day, Hudson and Randall) are wonderful and there are not many pictures that catch the 60's better: the furniture, the clothes... And besides, is there an actor (or man) nowadays who has so much sex-appeal as Rock Hudson without looking as if he was 15 or without having many muscles and no brain? I love the song "Lover Come Back" and the opening credits too. If you like romantic comedies with wit, spirit and great actors, watch this one!
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