The Tunnel of Love

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

How do you rate The Tunnel of Love?

Poor
12
24%
Average
19
37%
Good
14
27%
Excellent
6
12%
 
Total votes: 51

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Johnny
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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While discussing The casting of Tunnel of Love, a friend suggested Peter O'Toole in the Richard Widmark role. He said Peter's brilliant offbeat humour would serve the film well.
He also thought Peter O' Toole would have done a better job in the Rex Harrison part inMidnight Lace.
I think Doris and Peter might have had really strong screen chemistry.
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howard
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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I really can't see them together. And Mr. O'Toole would have caused at least as much trouble as Richard Harris in "Caprice."
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Have to agree with you there, Howard. Peter O'Toole has never been known to under-act, a real ham, IMO!

He's great playing over-the-top characters like Laurence of Arabia, or King Henry II in The Lion in Winter but subtly isn't his strong point. Plus he's British. Actually I thought Richard Widmark was fine, as was 'sexy Rexy' (as he was known) in Midnight Lace.

If I had to think of replacements; Dean Martin for Tunnel of Love, and film it in colour and Laurence Olivier for Midnight Lace and film it in black and white - oh, and change the ending! :lol:
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Jas1
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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I don't like Rex Harrison at all - and what I've read about the person ...well...

Midnight Lace - has to be seen in glorious colour- all those fabulous Irene gowns!

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Johnny
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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It is true that most of O'Toole's roles were larger-than -life characters. I loved him in Goodbye Mr.Chips. Like Doris, I found his screen charisma mesmerizing.
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howard
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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He was funny in "My Favorite Year."
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Jas, I'm thinking Oscar-winning drama with Midnight Lace, not fashion. :) But I guess they could go together, And I haven't read anything bad about Rex Harrison. I think he's great. He was married to Kay Kendall, who's grave (she died of leukemia) is very close to where I once lived in Hampstead and I walked past and paid my respects a few times.

So what do you think about Dean Marin as a costar in Tunnel of Love and it being filmed in colour? Gia Scala was good I thought - ditto Elisabeth Fraser from Young at Heart and, of course, Gig Young. Doris received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress apparently: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tunnel_of_Love

Thanks for reminding us about this film, Johnny. I have a soft spot for it and you've made me want to watch it again. I'll put it on my list of things to do and reevaluate it and report back. :)

I remember thinking, watching the Runaway, Skidaddle, Skidoo number, that it looked like a preview of how Doris would look in Pillow Talk.

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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Image
Director Gene Kelly with his leading ladies, Elisabeth Fraser, Gia Scala and Doris Day.

Gene Kelly’s years at MGM came to a close with his direction of The Tunnel of Love, which was the final film in his contract. He had been looking for more opportunities to direct and new MGM chief (and Kelly fan) Benny Thau needed someone to tackle The Tunnel of Love, so it was a beneficial collaboration for both of them. But there were conditions. Thau stipulated that Kelly had to make the film in black and white, using only one primary set, shoot it in just three weeks and for a cost of less than $500,000

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Jas1
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Bryan- I just do not like the script for Tunnel of Love- yes it would look better in colour - but they'd have to do something about the all important script -Dean would have been great in it.

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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Will have to watch it again, Jas. It's been so long since I saw it that I can hardly remember the plot.
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paul
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Bryan - According to the financial records at MGM, "Tunnel of Love" - According to MGM records the film earned $1,750,000 in the US and Canada and $940,000 elsewhere resulting in a loss of $701,000.[1]

That would certainly refute a budget of $ 500,000 and would support the MGM records as indicating a budget of over 2 million, which does not include marketing costs or the costs of the film prints, thus the difference between the box-office total - US and foreign of almost 2.7 million and the reason for the loss.

Gene Kelly was an odious man - per Sydney Guilaroff, who worked with Kelly from his first MGM film, "For Me and My Gal" through all of his other Metro films. Insiders at the studio referred to him as "Smelly Kelly" - NOT because he physically smelled but because he "stunk as a human being", having the largest ego on the lot.

He was assigned to direct "Tunnel" because his previous 4 or 5 films had lost millions for the studio and they did not want him appearing on screen again as he wrapped his contract. He had let it be known that he would co-star but the studio nixed that. Sydney said the set was happy, despite Kelly, and that Doris and Richard Widmark had a great time working together and she enjoyed having Gig and Elisabeth around too.

Part of the reason for the film's less than stellar success was due to the brutal lambasting it received from the Catholic Church's Legion of Decency, which still packed a lot of power at the time. They found the topic to be morally offensive.

While Doris is delightful, I still feel her Golden Globe nomination for 1958 should have been for "Teacher's Pet", a far superior film and a brilliant performance. Nevertheless, she sparkles in "Tunnel".

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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Thanks again Paul for more wonderful snippets of information - though you have burst my bubble about Gene Kelly- I adore him as a performer and he looked marvellous too - it is a pity if he was not so nice on the human level as a person.

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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Jas - My apologies for bursting the Kelly bubble. I met him twice and he had no interest in even being courteous to someone who was not in his league. I think what he did to Judy during the making of "The Pirate" (which lost some 2.2 million), is unforgivable. More than anything else, it contributed to the increasingly painful emotional problems she endured for the remainder of her life. Ginger Rogers, when she came to Boston in 1991 promoting her autobiography, told me of an incident where she and Kelly were to jointly give Fred Astaire an award. Kelly decided he should shine solo and as Ginger was preparing to walk out with him, shoved her, knocking her over, and proceeded to sashay on-stage by himself. I grew up thinking the stars were exactly as they seemed to be or as I wanted them to be. There were too many instances when those illusions were shattered. Fortunately Doris Day was everything one would hope her to be and then some. That's probably one of many reasons I have such a high opinion of her - there's nothing phony and no artifice whatsoever. In an industry where creating an illusion is so important, she stands out as singularly real.

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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Great read, as always, Paul.

Like Jas, I also thought that Gene Kelly was Mr Nice Guy. :shock:
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howard
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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I always loved Kelly on screen, but I too had heard some negative comments about him.

Thanks for the background information, Paul. It's greatly appreciated, as ever.
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Jas1
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Paul - you are fine re "bursting my Kelly bubble" - although he still was a fabulous athletic genius ON SCREEN [to me].

Yes, Doris Day the person appears to be just as special and lovely as D Day on screen and I love that. While I love to read about divas [e.g. Joan and Bette - incidentally also Aries women] - I do not like that behaviour at all.

I read that for the most part Lana Turner [another fav of mine] was well liked on her sets and I hope Elizabeth T was too - after Doris she is my gal!

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Musiclover
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Excellent point, Paul, re: the Golden Globe nomination for Tunnel of Love. In my view, Teacher's Pet is a far superior film in every way than Tunnel, including DD's sparkling performance. 'Tis a puzzlement why she wasn't nominated for it instead.

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howard
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Jas: I've heard from a number of people who knew her, that Elizabeth Taylor was a "sweetheart."
Like Irene Dunne done.

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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Howard -phew! !!! Lol

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Johnny
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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In Tom Santopietro's book Considering Doris Day, he writes about Doris in The Tunnel Of Love:
"Isolde Poole is a passive character, and Doris Day without her drive and energy is not a particularly compelling screen figure. Maybe if Day had been willing to explore the darker side of Isolde's character---the pain of not having children in a land where such inability means you're not considered "normal", the stifling conformity of social expectations in the 50's, well that might have made for an interesting character study. Then again, that would have been an entirely different film, very possibly one whose dark roots Day would not have been comfortable exploring."

His comment on the film states: "The entire movie appears to have been shot on a budget of $12.95 and its' stage origins are glaringly apparent in the very talky screenplay."

It was released on November 21-1958.
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Johnny
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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In David Kaufman's book on Doris, he writes these comments about The Tunnel of Love:

Production began in January 22-1958 and concluded during the first week in March.

The film was undermined by the decision to alter the play's ending. In the stage version a question remains whether or not Augie actually fathered a baby with another woman that he and Isolde adopt. In the film the uncertainty is eliminated. Cleaned up for the mainstream Hollywood audience of 1958, the film loses it's edge.

Elizabeth Wilson who was in both the stage and film version of The Tunnel of Love stayed, " Let's face it, the film is a strange kind of comedy. The film just didn't feel right while we were making it. It didn't feel like the play at all. The work just felt empty.
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Johnny
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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In the book, The Doris Day Scrapbook by Alan Gelb, he writes the following about Doris' film The Tunnel of Love:

"Doris' second film of 1958 was simply appalling. It was called The Tunnel of Love, and it co-starred her with Richard Widmark. Based on a hit Broadway comedy by Joseph Fields and Peter De Vries that starred Tom Ewell and Nancy Olsen, it certainly lost something in the translation. It had to do with the efforts of a suburban couple (Doris and Richard) to conceive a child. There are all kinds of sniggering little double entendres about these efforts, but that's hardly the worst of it. The movie gets more smutty as Widmark comes to believe that he has sired a baby with adoption case worker Gia Scala. Gig Young is on hand as a neighbour, and the whole mess was directed by Gene Kelly, from whom one would expect better things.

Tunnel of Love may have been Doris' nadir. it is no less competent than Julie, or Lucky me, but it is twice as offensive. Widmark was ill-equipped as a farceur (but even Tom Ewell, so adept at portraying suburban angst, could not have helped much), and the script was characterized by what Time magazine called, "a steady drool of risqué remarks". The whole kettle of fish was something unique to the fifties, and represents a ]retarded (extremely offensive word) consciousness that was pretty much out of sync with the real world even then."

in my opinion the script was poorly written. I wonder how some of the criticisms hold up today as compared to what is thought to be acceptable humour. There does not seem to a bottom for offensive behaviour in films.

The audience and Doris deserved a better written script. Fortunately, some of Doris' funniest and best films were on the horizon.
Johnny

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Musiclover
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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Johnny, I think the last sentence in your penultimate paragraph is well stated. Totally agree with you.

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paul
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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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I think the original choice of leading man, Glenn Ford, might have made it work somewhat better. He was more adept at playing comic roles. No offense to Richard Widmark who tries, but his forte was not romantic leading man.

By not really opening it up, with the exception of the opening credits, filmed on the highway in Connecticut, it does feel very stagey. You almost expect the curtain to open and close.

For some reason, Doris received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress for this picture. I've never understood why she wasn't nominated, instead, for her other 1958 release, "Teacher's Pet". That film and her performance is a true Master Class in making you believe she is a teacher. There isn't a false move in any aspect of her performance.

She's fine, within the confines of the role and the script, such as it is, but it seems almost too constricting a role for her and I always got the feeling she wanted to break free.

Sydney Guilaroff, who did her hair on this and most of her MGM films, told me that it was a very happy set and that Doris got along with everyone, "...even Gene Kelly, who we privately referred to as 'Smelly Kelly', not because he actually stunk but because he stunk as a human being and was often deliberately cruel to people in front of others. He resented the fact that his longtime contract with Metro was ending and that after a series of costly flops, the studio had said no to his playing the leading male role..."

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Re: The Tunnel of Love

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I think your take on this film is spot on, Paul. As much as I liked Glenn Ford, I doubt that even he could've helped to salvage it . . . although it would have been a treat to see him and Doris as co-stars in a different picture. When Bob Carroll was called in to do one of the re-writes on the script of Do Not Disturb, he commented that that movie's title should've been changed to Do Not Distribute. If MGM had applied that same advice to Tunnel of Love, in my view the only thing the public would've been deprived of is the catchy title song and Frank deVol's fine orchestration of it.

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