Midnight Lace

You are invited to rate and comment on the 39 films of Doris Day.

How do you rate "Midnight Lace"?

Poor
1
1%
Average
4
5%
Good
30
39%
Excellent
41
54%
 
Total votes: 76

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Musiclover
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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by Musiclover » 10 Nov 2015, 12:26

Joan Crawford recognized Doris's performance, even if the Academy didn't. She said, "I thought Doris's work in Midnight Lace should have brought her an Oscar."

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Johnny
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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by Johnny » 10 Nov 2015, 17:11

Bryan- Dan Ireland said that Doris described Rex Harrison as "One of the coldest men I Have worked with".
He said, the saving grace for Doris was Myrna Loy whom she adored.

I was surprised by Dan Ireland's comments. I have read that Rex Harrison was notoriously difficult on film sets and rather egocentric. Most of his performances in films always seemed rather analytical to me with littler emotional connection with the other characters. Perhaps if I look at more of his work I will arrive at a different conclusion.
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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by Johnny » 17 May 2016, 10:30

Midnight Lace is one of Doris' most visually interesting films. It is so beautifully photographed, filled with atmospheres and classic, timeless fashions.
Other Doris Day films that have strong visual interest that I like:
Storm Warning
Love Me or Leave Me
Pillow Talk
Billy Rose's Jumbo

These are the DVD Jacket Notes:

Doris Day was in her second year of a remarkable seven year run as the biggest female box office draw in Hollywood when MIDNIGHT LACE (1960) was released.
Launched to superstardom after being paired with Rock Hudson in the racy romantic comedy Pillow Talk (1959), this film allowed her to play against type in a Hitchcock-styled
thriller. Day plays Kit Preston, elegant newlywed wife of British Financier Anthony Preston (Rex Harrison). Shortly after moving to one of London's toniest neighborhoods, she is threatened by n unknown party.The tension mounts as the menacing phone calls continue and Anthony shows little concern, until Kit begins to doubt her own sanity and the motives of everyone around her. A nail-biting thriller with a top-notch supporting cast that includes Myna Loy, John Gavin and Roddy McDowall.

Bonus Features:
Robert Osborne Introduction
Scene Stills Movie Posters
Fashion Featurette
Original Trailer
Colour Scene Stills
British Front-Of-House Stills
Radio Interview Excerpt
Publicity Stills
Fashion Stills
Costume Designs
TCM Article
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Johnny
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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by Johnny » 10 Aug 2017, 23:49

While reading reviews on Midnight Lace, one review highlighted an advertisement advising the audience that no one would be admitted to the theater after Midnight Lace begins. It also asked for the ending to be kept secret. I had totally forgotten this fact. It added excitement to seeing the film.

The only other film that I recall not allowing the audience admission to the film after it started was the Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Psycho.

Some reviews criticized unfairly Doris' acting as over-wrought. Looking at other thrillers from the 1960's such as Portrait In Black with Lana Turner, Charade with Audrey Hepburn, Cape Fear with Polly Bergen, The Birds with Tippi Hedren, they experienced similar threatening situations. Within the context of the 1960's, women in dangerous situations appeared more vulnerable than present day.

Rarely is Frank Skinner's moody and eerie Midnight Lace soundtrack music mentioned. It sets the mood for the film right from the beginning when we see Doris cross the square in the fog. Skinner is a brilliant composure. His lush romantic Back Street soundtrack is one of the most beautiful film scores ever recorded.

Midnight Lace is a film that can be appreciated on so many levels. There are so many golden nuggets from the supporting cast, the dazzling costumes and cinematography.

In 1961, Midnight Lace ranked 19th in the list of top box office money- making films.
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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by Jas1 » 11 Aug 2017, 05:13

I agree Johnny about MN- a fabulous film on all levels and DD never looked better.

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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by Johnny » 25 Aug 2018, 19:09

I found this rather unflattering review of Midnight Lace in The Doris Day Scrapbook by Alan Gelb. I take issue with it but thought it would be a catalyst for further discussion and another point of view. It states:

"Midnight Lace, like Pillow Talk, was a Ross Hunter production and so the appointments were swank, to say the least.

While Doris was being hysterical, which lasted almost from the moment the movie began to the last reel, the audience could drool over her couturier gowns by Irene and the flashing jewels she draped about her person. Rex Harrison was adequate in this George Sanders- type role, and there was an excellent back-up cast including Myrna Loy, Roddy Mc Dowall, Herbert Marshall, and John Williams; the ineffably wooden John Gavin was also on hand. The film had a ridiculous screenplay by the team of Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts (who had seen better days with such films as White Heat and Captain Horatio Hornblower) and it was capably directed by David Miller, who had intriguingly put Joan Crawford through her paces in Sudden Fear. But for all it's worthy personnel, Midnight Lace was a bust---not commercially; it did just fine at the box office-- but as a piece of cinema and a showcase for Doris. Time magazine said of her performance, "Doris Day wears a lot of expensive clothes, and in attempting to portray
the All-American missus behaves like a silly, spoiled, hysterical, middle-aged Lolita that many customers may find themselves less in sympathy with her plight than the villain's murderous intentions."
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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by jmichael » 28 Aug 2018, 08:03

It's the script that done her in.

ML was based on a poorly received play Mathilda Shouted Fire and the storyline is a direct copy of Gaslight. The source material was wobbly to begin with and the screenplay needed sharper writing and characters with more depth and complexity to make it fly. I have no issues with Doris' performance. As I said recently, she projects fear brilliantly and her breakdown on the staircase was emotionally raw and convincing. I fault the script, not her performance, for the critical lashing she received from Time magazine. I enjoy ML as glossy escapist fare with the Ross Hunter sheen of gorgeous clothes, glam lighting, and plush set design. It is a great looking film. My main issues are the lack of mystery and the gallery of one dimensional suspects surrounding Doris. It was preposterous for Universal to use the gimmick of not allowing anyone into the theater during the last ten minutes when the bad guy is so obvious.

Coming out a month after Psycho, this film must have struck many moviegoers as pretty tame by comparison.

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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by Jas1 » 29 Aug 2018, 05:14

I love Myrna Loy in the film, however, recently I wondered if they had considered Ginger Rogers to play aunt Bea, or older sister/cousin Bea - Ginger looked totally ravishing around this time, I can't see her agreeing to play Doris' aunt [from sister to aunt in less than 10 years] - however, Ginger was far more physically like Doris. Just a thought -her film career wasn't doing anything around this time, she may have jumped at the chance to be in a DD vehicle - which guaranteed box office at this time.

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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by jmichael » 29 Aug 2018, 07:28

Ginger would have been dazzling in that role but I think you’re right. She probably wouldn’t have considered playing Doris’ aunt at the time. I love Myrna Loy though. She is wonderful as Aunt Bea and her scenes with Doris crackle with positive energy. They have a lovely rapport on screen. I read Loy’s memoir years ago and she had nothing but good things to say about Doris. I’m glad they had the chance to work together.

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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by Jas1 » 30 Aug 2018, 05:13

I agree Michael - I love Myrna in the role, in all her roles, and in her life, she cared about the same things I care about.

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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by Jas1 » 11 Nov 2018, 07:47

I watched the classic Joan Crawford film "Sudden Fear" last weekend = directed by David Miller who also directed ML - both [rich] damsel in distress films - I couldn't help notice the similarities - particularly the ending scene in both films with the damsel in distress [in high fashion] walks into a brighter [hopefully brighter] future after a near death experience at the hands of her nearest and [not so] dearest.

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Re: Midnight Lace

Unread post by Johnny » 01 Sep 2019, 18:05

In David Kaufman's book on Doris Day, the following is reported on Doris' film Midnight Lace:

Midnight Lace was shot at Universal on a forty-day schedule beginning on March 22 -1960 and concluding on May 16th. British character actress Hermione Baddeley making her American film debut as the busybody barmaid Dora was also up for an Oscar (for Room At the Top) while working on the picture that spring. On the verge of winning a Tony Award for The Fighting ****; Roddy Mc Dowall went to Hollywood to shoot his scenes in less than a week. Doris Lloyd who played Mc Dowall's mother, Nora, in the picture, had played his mother twice before in Molly and Me, (1944), and Holiday in Mexico (1946).
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