Top 5 Best Opening Scenes in Doris Day's 39 Films

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Johnny
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Top 5 Best Opening Scenes in Doris Day's 39 Films

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Michael's topic on Best Endings in Doris Day's films prompted me to post this survey on the best five opening scenes in Doris Day Films. Opening scenes introduce the characters in the story and set the mood of anticipation for great comedy, drama or a musical. Here are my five favourites:

Moonlight Bay has housekeeper Stella ( Mary Wicks) wryly introduce the four major Winfield characters. When
she introduces Wesley Winfield she says, "If he had been born first, there wouldn't have been anymore". Perfection!

Midnight Lace - In the opening scene we scene Doris photographed beautifully dressed in a white coat, walk through the night fog in a London Park and then hear her being threatened by a creepy voice. As she runs, the music by Frank Skinner builds as her face is pressed against the black bars of the park gate. The suspense starts immediately.

Please Don't Eat The Daisies -Doris is trying to get dressed for a special event as her four rambunctious young boys quiz her with endless questions and try to distract her - Doris gives a masterclass in understated comedic timing that is totally engaging and informs us about the characters.

Storm Warning - The black and white cinematography beautifully sets the film noir mood as Ginger Rogers (model Marsha) arrives in a small southern town at nighttime and walks down a street filled with shadows and light with very sharp angles. She suddenly witnesses a murder and the tension continues to build. Doris plays Ginger's younger sister (Lucy). It is a striking film for the early 1950"s.

Romance On The High Seas - Doris' first film- I will always remember seeing Doris look in the window of the travel agency, walking confidently into the store dressed in a gray suit and matching beanie hat, chewing gum and talking with a wisecracking tone to the travel agent. I knew I loved her immediately. I didn't see this film until after Pillow Talk, and then had the realization that Doris great talent was her authenticity in her roles.

There never has been a time I have been disappointed seeing Doris in her films although some films were better than others. Doris always made the films better.
Johnny

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jmichael
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Re: Top 5 Best Opening Scenes in Doris Day's 39 Films

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Romance On The High Seas: I agree with everything Johnny said. From her very first moment on screen, Doris had a real presence about her. She exuded star quality effortlessly. She was confident and utterly natural. There were no signs of first time jitters or thinking about what she was doing. She breezed through the entire scene with a sassy, street-smart style that made audiences fall in love with her.

Midnight Lace: Again, I agree with Johnny because the opening sets the mood of the film and it gave Doris a wonderful showcase to project raw terror on screen. You might not believe everything the script has to offer, but you believe that her character is justifiably terrified from the very first moment. Her performance is a great example of an actor elevating the material. It's a true movie star performance at the level of what Joan Crawford and Bette Davis were known for.

The Glass Bottom Boat: I love this screwball comedy, her first with former cartoonist Frank Tashlin, and one that gave her many opportunities to show how great she was at physical comedy. I love the bantering and playful flirting between her and Rod Taylor when he reels in her mermaid's tale. The word "bottomless" took on a whole new meaning for me.

The Thrill Of It All: This is perhaps an unexpected choice because Doris isn't in the opening scene. I chose it because it kicks the film off to a rollicking start with the unlikely news that the older Arlene Francis is expecting. I love the scene in the elevator when her joy erupts into uncontrolled laughter and the men in suits cannot help but laugh along with her. Her happiness is infectious and Francis plays it to the hilt. Her giddy delivery of the news to husband Edward Andrews and his reaction lets everyone in the audience know they are in for a good time at the movies.

Please Don't Eat The Daisies: Doris gave a master class in comedic acting as the frazzled mother trying to get dressed for an evening on the town. Not only does she set the pace of the scene, she also captures the perfect blend of motherly love and comic exasperation the scene calls for. I bet Charlie Walters, Jean Kerr and screenwriter Isobel Lennart said prayers of gratitude after they saw what she did in this scene. This kind of acting skill often gets overlooked. She makes it seem effortless and her choices are simply brilliant.

Michael
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Re: Top 5 Best Opening Scenes in Doris Day's 39 Films

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"Romance on the High Seas," "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," and "Glass Bottom Boat" have 3 of my favorite opening scenes, too, for the reasons Johnny and Michael have noted. The opening scene in "I'll See You in My Dreams" is another favorite of mine. It shows the solid chemistry that Doris had with almost every leading man right from the start of the film, as well as her great ability in understated comedy. My fifth choice is "Love Me or Leave Me." Doris's facial expressions, body language, and the way she spits out her dialogue prove from the get-go that she was far more than a one- or two-dimensional actress. From the very first frame, she inhabited the character.

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Jas1
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Re: Top 5 Best Opening Scenes in Doris Day's 39 Films

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Daisies, Midnight Lace,Calamity - it just sets a fantastic scene, Pillow Talk - those legs, Lover come Back - a very stylish witty entree, and Touch of Mink - right in the heart of the city, looking great and getting soaked!

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Re: Top 5 Best Opening Scenes in Doris Day's 39 Films

Unread post by jmichael »

I’m glad James included That Touch Of Mink. The opening title sequence sparkles with the hustle and bustle of the big city and Doris delivers another of her great reactions when the limo splashes her with water. I’ve always loved the water color prints too and the punctuated musical score that kicks off the zippy title tune. Aside from Gig Young getting slapped at the automat and Doris’ eye rolling disdain for the Beasley character, the opening is my favorite part of the film.

Michael
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