With Six You Get Eggroll

Masthead Image

 

Doris Day was at the end of her film career. Sex, almost hardcore, had landed on screens...

 

Ralph McKnight

 

I had no idea when I went to see "With Six You Get Eggroll" in New York that it would be the last film in which Doris Day would appear. From reading the reviews, I was poised to believe that the picture was kin to another film called "Yours, Mine and Ours" starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, which was a bawdy, predictable and loud film with too many children. Much to my surprise and pleasure, "Eggroll" had very little similarity and was quite enjoyable and a satisfying experience.

Doris Day was at the end of her film career. Sex, almost hardcore, had landed on America's screens with films like "Carmen, Baby" and "Fuego", not to mention Mike Nichols's "The Graduate" which Marty Melcher, Day's husband/manager, turned down for Miss Day because he felt it was 'vulgar'. Unfortunately, she was not making her own decisions, because "The Graduate" could have saved her film career and carried her through the '70s. But, I don't regret Melcher's vision. Doris Day's image on the screen will always remain youthful and beautiful, like Marilyn Monroe's, for all time.

 

 

"With Six You Get Eggroll" was a familiar story with which audiences could relate. Two unmarried people, Abby McClure (Day) and Jake Iversen (Brian Keith) both with children, meet, fall in love and decide to get married. Of course, their offspring are hurt and resentful and inevitably, chaos arises. Brian Keith, movie actor and star of television's "Family Affair", was chosen as Day's new co-star and he was a wonderful and realistic choice considering the subject matter. He was not Rock, Garner or Cary Grant-handsome, but a rugged, very believable guy that would attract a movie-star type like Doris Day. They had strange chemistry and I liked the fact that he gave the impression that 'she can't be real AND free!' Obviously, Abby McClure didn't like living without a man around the house.

 

 

The picture marked the screen debut of Barbara Hershey who plays Keith's rather possessive daughter, Stacey, who is a schoolmate of Doris' son, Flip, played with snotty indignation by John Findlater. Day has two other sons, Mitch and Jason (Jimmy Bracken and Richard Steele) who are typically unruly for their young ages. Alice Ghostley portrays Doris' maid, like Paul Lynde in drag. She is very funny, as is Pat Carroll as Miss Day's matchmaking sister, Maxine. The picture really isn't about anything, simply a series of 'happenings' that spark arguments, jealousy, slapstick and romance. Doris Day is absolutely charming in her role and her years of screen acting yielded a first-rate performance. She is a natural. When Abby, fed up with the belligerence of Hershey, orders her to do all of the housework, is confronted by Jake, when he discovers that Abby's son played basketball instead of helping with the chores, blows up. Keith and Day have a knock-down-drag-out fight, leaving Abby physically shaking with anger. They are wonderful in this scene

 

 

I also enjoyed Day's natural air when she was finally alone in her house, getting a snack and walking to her lonely bed. Beautiful and totally unaffected There is slapstick, expertly handled by Miss Day, of course, and an array of familiar faces along the way. Vic Tayback ("Alice") as a truck driver, Jackie Joseph ("Doris Day Show"), Allen Melvin ("All in the Family"), George Carlin as "Herbie" and Peter Leeds, a veteran of many Day films added bright moments to the proceedings. Even Doris Day had no idea that this would be her final film. In real-life, Marty Melcher died, she discovered he had squandered her vast fortune and, without her knowledge, signed Miss Day to star in a television series at CBS. So went her film career.   


Ralph McKnight, New York, July 2000

 

 

radio times  "Doris Day's last movie so far is this amiable trifle, in which she plays a widow with three sons who marries convenient widower Brian Keith, father of teenage daughter Barbara Hershey, hence the arch title. The offspring object to the relationship, and mileage is gained from episodes like Doris driving off in a trailer leaving Keith in his underwear by the roadside. Presciently, Doris's best scenes are opposite a dog called Lord Nelson. There's a tired sixties gloss to the whole thing (watch for M*A*S*H's Jamie Farr as a hippie) and it's easy to see why Doris called it a Day."