Starlift

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

How do you rate Starlift?

Poor
2
7%
Average
14
47%
Good
5
17%
Excellent
3
10%
Haven't seen it
6
20%
 
Total votes: 30

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Johnny
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Re: Starlift

Unread post by Johnny »

In Tom Santopietro's book Considering Doris Day, he says:

"Starlift, the 1951 black and white all-star Warner Brothers extravaganza that followed close on the heels of On Moonlight Bay, hands down wins the award as the wackiest and strangest of Doris Day's 39 feature films.

Beginning with the opening credits that unfurl to the martial strains of the Air Force hymn , Starlift plays like nothing so much as a unrealistic armed forces recruiting poster of a film. Chockablock with Warner Bros. contract players appearing as themselves.

...and wonder how Doris Day herself fits into such fatuous goings-on? In a wild stretch Doris Day plays,,,,herself, but even a brief recitation of the plot cannot begin to do justice to the lunacy contained herein and the craziness Doris must endure".
Johnny

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Peter Flapper
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Re: Starlift

Unread post by Peter Flapper »

Hi Johnny,

Tis is the only film Doris made I'm not that fond of, I Always look the part where Doris appears and than skip through it. I watch the musical numbers and dances by the other stars... And the end where the "new" star gets her soldier... Never watched it completly... strange story...

P

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ray
I danced with Doris!
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Re: Starlift

Unread post by ray »

Many years ago a lady came on the forum and said she desperately wanted a copy of Stairlift because her Father was one of the soldiers Doris sang to. I hope she found it.

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Peter Flapper
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Re: Starlift

Unread post by Peter Flapper »

Hi Ray,

Yes I remember that story too... Hope she found it, it's now 'available' on more sites.

P

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Johnny
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Re: Starlift

Unread post by Johnny »

There is a two line description for Starlift on the TCM Doris Day DVD Collection issued in 2009.
It reads:
STARLIFT
Red-white and blue fun abounds as Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, James Cagney, Gary Cooper, Virginia Mayo, Jane Wyman, Randolph Scott and others perform for -or just shoot the breeze with star struck flyboys in uniform.

The other Doris Day films in the package are:
It's A Great Feeling
Tea For Two
April In Paris
The Tunnel of Love

The package also include vintage shorts, classic cartoons and theatrical trailers.

Doris does a beautiful job singing the song 'S Wonderful.

With each viewing of Starlift it elicits a different experience. This time it was a bittersweet feeling seeing all the wonderful actors who are now gone but also feeling thankful Doris is still thriving.

The Starlift film may look unrealistic but it tells a story about looking at life through rose coloured glasses. This is similar to the British saying during the war, Stay Calm and Carry On.

Starlift is full of good intentions in trying to offer soldiers support. It is also a quirky film for it's time.
TCM Doris Day Collection -2009
TCM Doris Day Collection -2009
Johnny

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Johnny
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Re: Starlift

Unread post by Johnny »

The idea for Starlift originated with actress Ruth Roman's experience at Travis Air Force Base near San Francisco, where she entertained troops before they left for the Korean war and when they returned. This was reported in David Kaufman's book on Doris. She organized a number of stars to go there and entertain. Warner Brothers supported this idea and the film Starlift was made in approximately in one month.

Essentially, Starlift is a variety show for the troops. Dick Wesson as one of the good- hearted soldiers is funny in a clownish way. He was much funnier in Calamity Jane. Phil Harris is more obnoxious than funny.

As for the songs in Starlift, Doris and Gordon MacRae perform an upbeat You're Gonna Lose Your Gal. Much better is Doris singing
S' Wonderful. You Outta Be In Pictures and You Do Something To Me are beautifully performed by Doris.

It would have been to the film's benefit, if Doris had been given the song, What Is This Thing Called Love? that is sung by Lucille Norman. I checked Doris' discography on the forum and was really surprised to discover she never recorded this song. With all the incredibly beautiful love songs Doris sang , it seems shocking that she never recorded this classic, timeless song.

I found it odd that one of Doris' signature songs, It's Magic, is sung (dubbed by Hal Derwin), and danced by Gene Nelson. Another song, I May Be Wrong, But I Think You're Wonderful that was recorded by Doris is sung by Jane Wyman.

Operation Starlift which was a program created by Special Service Officers and Hollywood Coordinating Committee began un 1950. Movie stars were flown to Travis Air Force Base each Saturday to entertain wounded soldiers and left on Sunday. Some of the stars that entertained were Jane Russell, Shirley Temple, Shelly Winters, Alan Ladd, Jack Benny, Janet Leigh, Bob Hope, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Connor. Due to a lack of funding, Operation Starlift ended in November 1951. It was revived in 1999, operated by the USO.

Starlift is a film for its' time. It is full of good intentions but remains a curiosity.
Johnny

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Johnny
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Re: Starlift

Unread post by Johnny »

In Alan Gelb's book, the Doris Day Scrapbook he writes the following about Doris' film Starlift:

"Her third film of 1951 did for the Korean War what Star Spangled Rhythm did for World War 2. It was an all-star snafu entitled Starlift and it had to do with entertaining the troops during a war no one on the home front seemed to care about. The movie accordingly stirred up interest. A totally fatuous affair, it was more a commercial for a studio than an attempt at propaganda. Unfortunately the studio did not have such an impressive roster of stars by 1951. There were a few real luminaries in the cast --Gary Cooper, James Cagney, Jane Wyman-- but mostly the entertainment was provided by such comparatively pallid folks as, once again, Gene Nelson, and Gordon MacRae, Virginia Mayo, Ruth Roman, Phil Harris, Frank Lovejoy and others of uncelebrated ilk. Doris' big scene has to do with her coming on strong in a service hospital and, when one of the wounded asks her to prove she's really Doris Day to a buddy on the phone, she nonchalantly picks up the receiver and bursts into a chorus of "Lullaby of Broadway". Only in Hollywood. ...

The only good skit in the film is a hilarious routine called "How to Bake a Pousse-Café Cake
by the nightclub team Noonan and Marshall. Doris' numbers include " S' Wonderful" and "You Do Something To Me", and Newsweek complimented her in her "durable smile and obvious teeth". But the movie in a whole was a shambles. Time commented: "When Starlift exploits a ward full of wounded veterans to raise a jump un your throat, it raises only a gorge".

I take exception to author Gelb's dismissive attitude towards the cast of Starlift that he described as "pallid folk". Each of these talents contributed to Hollywood film history, in particular, Gene Nelson, Gordon MacRae and Virginia Mayo. Most of them were at the beginning of their career.

The script writers and director Roy Del Ruth must take responsibility for the major flaws in Starlift. It would have helped somewhat if Starlift had been filmed in colour.
Johnny

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Johnny
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Re: Starlift

Unread post by Johnny »

I found a passage in David Kaufman's book on Doris describing her feelings about her film Starlift.

"Starlift Day's ninth picture was thrown together in a month -- and it looks it. There's no point in summarizing the plot, since it keeps veering off in in so many directions that the film is incomprehensible. Day herself knew it was ridiculous, redeemed only by the fun she had working with Ruth Roman, a would - be leading actress who quickly came to settle for character parts. Day recalled just how much fun she and Ruth Roman had playing themselves even howling with laughter when they worked on this absurd picture. With good reason, they even wondered why the picture was being made. But even if she "didn't care much "for the film Day emphasized that she, "had a good time".

Day's work on the picture began on May 22, 1951 and ended on June 20th.

On April 7, 2009, Warner Archive released Starlift on Region 1 DVD as part of the Doris Day Spotlight Collection. The five disc set contains digitally remastered versions of It's A Great Feeling, Tea For Two, April In Paris, and The Tunnel of Love,

I do recall one or two forum members looking for a DVD copy of Starlift.
Johnny

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Jas1
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Re: Starlift

Unread post by Jas1 »

Jonny, good to know DD at least enjoyed this one.

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