Someone wants to kill Doris Day!
Director Andrew Stone had an ability to make a lot of programmers appear to be better than they actually were. He was economic but managed to make his films look like expensive productions. Most of them turned out to be surprisingly entertaining with the exception of his attempt to resurrect the operetta in the early 70's. "Song of Norway", based on the lovely Broadway success, and "The Great Waltz", dubbed "The Great Schmaltz" by critics, effectively ended his career.
"Julie" his late 1956 release pleased its intended market thanks to a sincere performance from star Doris Day, and a taut script that rarely falters in its crackling pace. Sure there are holes in the plot and any fan of this kind of story (the wife in peril) will know the ending long before it happens. Nevertheless, its what was known as a "popcorn movie" and the picture nabbed two Oscar Nominations (for screenplay and for song). It lost the song nod to another Day tune, "Whatever Will Be, Will Be", from her hugely popular Hitchcock release of 1956 co-starring Jimmy Stewart, "The Man Who Knew Too Much".
Doris Day plays Julie, a newly remarried widow who works as an airline attendant. She is married to Lyle, a gifted pianist, and they live in a beautiful coastal town in California. Lyle is obsessively jealous of anyone taking a look at his wife, and his jealousy manifests itself in a series of unsettling incidents that makes Julie begin to question their relationship as well as the circumstances surrounding the death of her late husband.
The film's conclusion in which Doris successfully pilots a passenger plane has gone down in film lore. It should be pointed out that Day's acting and piloting skills here are superior to those evidenced by Karen Black in 1973's "Airport 1974" in which she too pulls the same trick. It's all very improbable but dished out with such conviction by the cast that one can overlook the improbability.
As stated, Doris Day delivers a fine performance in the leading role. She is sympathetic but never acts like a victim. She has a great chemistry with Louis Jourdan who plays her husband Lyle believably. Interestingly Jourdan lived across the street from Day in Beverly Hills for some years. Despite his dashing portrayal as leading man in the classic film, "Gigi", Jourdan has always made a much more interesting villian including a turn in a 1983 James Bond film.Barry Sullivan and Frank Lovejoy, among the supporting players, play stereotypical roles with flair and the stunning scenes shot in Carmel, California translate well even in black and white.
Doris Day loved Carmel so much while making this film that 25 years later she moved her primary residence to this quaint, charming, and dramatic location. While "Julie" is not nearly as good as Doris Day's other two thrillers ("Man Who Knew..." and 1960's, "Midnight Lace"), it will satisfy most fans of the genre and Miss Day.
Paul Brogan, January 2002
The filming of "Julie"
Doris Day acquired a wholesome respect for airline hostesses as a result of the three-week stewardess training she underwent in the course of preparing for her role. She had a pronounced dislike of flying, a prejudice that she eventually overcame with considerable effort. Before the filming of "Julie" was completed she was even flying from one location to another via helicopter. "I held my breath and shut my eyes as long as I could," she says. "By the time I had my eyes open again we were airborne. I kept telling myself that I wasn't scared, that I was actually enjoying the feel of flying. I must have hypnotized myself because now I feel safer in a plane than in an car."
Filming "Julie" in Carmel, Calif.
According to the publicity issued at the time of this film's release, a total of 120 "live" sets were used on 48 different location sites by director Andrew Stone. Location shots ranged from Carmel, California, to San Francisco. Filming took place in the famous Del Monte Lodge, nine apartment houses, a San Francisco office building, a mining engineer's headquarters, 13 airport buildings, two private homes, seven stores and scores of miscellaneous edifices. The filming of a seventeen-mile chase on the Monterey Peninsula required nine cameramen, with two weeks of aerial filming aboard three DC-6 aircraft. Because of the extensive use of actual "live sets", the producers and director were required to take out 44 separate insurance policies written for the various location sites and buildings, covering antiques and furniture.
There are three phases of music in "Julie." All three are integrated in the telling of the story and used to underline the suspense mood. One of these musical levels is the special composition, "Theme for Julie," written by concert pianist Leonard Pennario. This somber musical motif recurs at dramatic moments and is identified with the sinister telephone calls, which portend danger for Miss Day. Another musical ingredient is the song, "The Twelfth of Never," written by Jay Livingston and Paul Francis Webster, and sung by Miss Day as part of the story, which the third element the picture's score itself, composed by Lucient Calliet. Director Stone and Cameraman Fred Jackman, Jr., designed the world's smallest camera dolly for scenes in the film. The dolly, measuring 12 inches in width, was designed to roll up and down the aisle of a DC-6 airplane for the sequences filmed inside the plane.
"Doris Day suspects her husband Louis Jourdan is trying to kill her in director Andrew L Stone's tense thriller. Stone's speciality of filming dramas in real-life situations with authentic props is put to good use here, and he certainly whips up the suspense even if the plot becomes rather implausible in places. Day is radiant and Jourdan very convincing as the baddie, while Hollywood stalwarts Barry Sullivan and Frank Lovejoy give perfectly weighted supporting performances. In the film's most memorable scene, Day has to land a plane with the help of ground crew, a sequence later copied for Airport 1975 and parodied in Airplane!."