Saturday, August 15, 2015

Movie review - "Doctor, You've Got to Be Kidding!" (1967) **

Sandra Dee is once again far better than her material - I write this so often about that actor that I'm beginning to wonder, maybe it's she who brought the movies down. But I'm inclined to think not - there were a lot of mediocre rom coms in the sixties, all trying to cash in on the Doris Day-Debbie Reynolds riches, and poor old Dee got stuck with the dregs.

The movie is all over the shop and never gets it's focus right. It starts off with the finale, Palm Beach Story style as Dee rushes to hospital to give birth, with three men in tow - Dwayne Hickman, Bill Bixby and Dick Kallman. She's unmarried, which is a little risque for Dee in 1967, then we flashback to the events that led her there.

Dee's mum Celeste Holm wants her to be a singer, which Dee doesn't really but she goes along with. She's loved by muso Kallman, actor Hickman and womanising neighbour Bixby but Dee doesn't know what she wants. She goes to work as a secretary for eccentric George Hamilton, and eventually falls for him and they have sex and are about to get married... but he wants her to give up her singing and she's annoyed that he does. Thing is she really doesn't want to sing, and when she can't because she's pregnant, it doesn't bother her.

The singing is used as a device to get Dee to sing and dance a little, which she does quite well - but there's no point to it story wise because she doesn't want to do it, and when she gets pregnant she gives it up and seems to have no desire to go back to it. So it's hollow.

Dee's character is irritatingly passive - she goes along with her mother's dreams, the demands of her fellow band members, the seduction of Hamilton. Sure she fires up when Hamilton bosses her around, but she doesn't even tell him when she's pregnant. I wish they'd given her some goal - move out of home, have a baby, to get married, something.

She looks great and is charming. And once I got what Hamilton's character was meant to be - slightly aspergers stuffed shirt - I quite enjoyed him even if he was sexist. Veteran actor Allen Jenkins pops up in support as does Mort Sahl as a nightclub owner. There are some funny lines and cringy late 60s moments (including a visit to said nightclub) but it's no surprise this did not revive Dee's career.

No comments: