A medical mix up leads to a marital match up…
Doris Day’s on-screen hypochondriac husband believes that he’s dying and plans to find her the ideal second husband.
Send Me No Flowers – Trailer, UniversalMoviesINTL
Time for another Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Tony Randall film, that makes you want to sing. This happened to me again – after seeing these three in Pillow Talk (1959) – at the moment I saw the film trailer for the movie of the same name, Send Me No Flowers (1964). I was immediately taken with Doris Day’s chirpy track that accompanied the film’s trailer. I “sang” this title song all the time, as you do after seeing a trailer (unless I am the only one).
This title song is heard after that bit in the trailer where Doris Day and Rock Hudson’s title drop this movie title. At one point after I “sang” this song, Darlin Husband said, “Good to Know”… making me realise that I have the “singing” talents of a certain recent Rocket Man “singer” mentioned HERE. This actor was mentioned in relation to his spaced out encounter with Lee Majors in The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-8). But I digress…
Anyway, after seeing the trailer above, I was super intrigued to see this movie. In the film, Doris Day not only sings this title track, but she is also the leading lady. This film was her third – and final – romantic comedy with on-screen comic support from Tony Randall and my current movie crush, Rock Hudson. These two actors are her on-screen neighbour, Arnold and her on-screen husband, George respectively.
As the film starts, you will see that Rock Hudson is George Kimball – a middle aged man – is the drug industry’s dream customer… literally. George dreams about every possible medical ailment and its medicinal cures in a succession of black and white animated adverts. After George wakes up, it’s straight to the medicine
cabinet cupboard – which is crammed full of medications of all sorts – he goes.
Then as he goes through his morning routine which includes both medication and temperature taking he then takes a shower. He has an alarm to remind him to take his medication, and he’s unaware that his wife is popping him a sleeping aid placebo every night.
As he takes his shower, his wife Judy (Doris Day), has managed to lock herself outside and trap her dressing gown in the front door (in a move that I thought only I could do). She only left the house for two minutes to collect the milkman’s delivery. Then she didn’t notice her predicament until she turned to re-enter her home – after the milkman tells her some gossip – and she realises she has dropped and stood on the shopping.
Judy then tries and fails to get George’s attention upstairs by pressing the doorbell and battering the door with her fists. Then she navigates her way out of her dressing gown and then tries to get back into the house. She’s wearing just her nightie so the always flirty delivery boy gets more than an eyeful as she falls through the only unlocked window with a crash.
Judy excitedly tells then tells an uninterested George over his healthy cholesterol-free breakfast that she’s got some gossip. She tells him that Mrs Bullard (Patricia Barry) – a woman she’s kind of heard of through the bridge club – is getting a divorce. George however is preoccupied with the contents of the obituary page. She doesn’t seem to notice when then he becomes concerned about his sudden chest pains after reading about someone dying of heart problems.
It seems George is a bit of a hypochondriac. Judy’s behaviour suggests that he is always believing he has “symptoms” and “illnesses” of all sorts… His list of ailments is often funny to her, but not to him. So she isn’t that worried about him, as he had a medical check-up recently and got the all-clear. He however believes the worst, and he is seeing the doctor again that morning.
George has lunch with a friend Winston (Hal March). George is appalled when this cad of a man makes a phone call to Mrs Bullard. He’s shocked as Winston then puts on the sympathy and then he asks her out on a date. Winston then boasts to George about his prowess in providing his own brand of “support” for these newly single women. He tells George that hopes to seduce them during their then difficult time…
After lunch, George goes to the doctor (Edward Andrews) for a check-up. He is over-concerned when the doctor falls silent after he checks out George’s pains and breathing. This man is also a close friend, then tells George he believes he has indigestion and gives him some tablets.
As George takes a tablet in a neighbouring room, the doctor speaks to a specialist about another patient on the phone. George then overhears the doctor talking to this specialist and believes he’s talking about him. George then believes that he’s only a few weeks to live and that the doctor isn’t going to tell him.
He is devastated about this news and George decides not to tell Judy, worrying about her reaction. George tells his best friend and neighbour Arnold Nash (Tony Randall) about his prognosis on the way home. Arnold is sworn to secrecy about it and he gets drunk, he’s that upset. Arnold is totally devastated about losing his best friend and he vows to organise his friend’s funeral and write him a good eulogy.
George gets overconcerned that Judy won’t cope after his death when she makes a financial error and suggests she does accountancy at night school. After George has a nightmare where Judy is seduced by the delivery boy for her money, George vows to find her a second husband. He also buys a plot of land in a cemetery using cash, from the smarmy funeral director, Mr Akins (Paul Lynde) for him, Judy and her future husband. He says that he’s using cash as it’s a surprise for Judy.
On enrolling Arnold to help him in his quest to find Judy a new man, Arnold and George go to the sports club to find this man. While they are on the golf course, Judy’s golf cart’s brakes fail. She’s saved from this speeding golf cart by the rich, muscular and big jawed Bert (Clint Walker) on his horse, who saves her as he scoops her up and he then rides her to safety.
Then after kissing her passionately, Bert introduces himself as her one-time college sweetheart. George is devastated after he’s introduced to him and he ensures that Burt knows he’s her husband. However, he later agrees that Burt would be a good husband for Judy, as he’s also an oil baron. But he is still niggled as it’s clear that Burt hasn’t got over Judy. Judy seems quite enraptured with her ex too.
The three of them then go to a dance together – at George’s suggestion – and Arnold joins them. As George pushes Judy to dance with Burt all the time, Judy gets suspicious. George then bumps into Mrs Bullard and Winston who are now dating. George decides to tell Mrs Bullard the truth about Winston’s caddish intentions. She’s so grateful to George that she kisses him passionately by way of “thanks”.
But her affectionate response is then seen by Judy. Judy now believes George is having an affair with Mrs Bullard… and she believes that this is the reason behind Mrs Bullard’s divorce, George wanting her to do evening classes and him matchmaking her with Burt. Cue much Doris Day stomping and angry faces before she runs from the room… and you can find out the rest of this film with more misunderstandings, confessions and truth-telling than an Agatha Christie whodunnit, in those remaining scenes.
For this film, Doris Day won a Laurel Award for Best Actress in a Comedy. Rock Hudson also was nominated for the Best Actor Award in a Comedy at these awards but he lost to Cary Grant. However, Tony Randall’s performance was sadly overlooked and this comedy was a great comic vehicle for these three leads. Doris Day, however, acknowledged this threesome, and wrote in her autobiography;
“Tony, Rock and I were made for each other and it was hard to tell sometimes where life left off and make believe began”
There are nods to these three’s previous films together. Clint Walker’s Bert seemed to be a possible homage to Rex Stetson, Hudson’s alter ego from Pillow Talk. This is as Bert is both an oil baron and seen as too big to get in a car. The succession of creative black and white animated adverts at the beginning of the film could be a nod to their jobs in advertising from their second film together, Lover Come Back (1961). The three’s rapport and on-screen comic chemistry together are evident in all three movies.
Hudson is a great straight comedian, and he shines in his comic scenes with Tony Randall. They complement each other’s styles beautifully, his performance alongside Randall’s slapstick and comedian and they have some lovely bromance scenes together. The best of these scenes is after George makes a tape to tell Judy, about his motives. After playing this to Arnold, Arnold breaks down in tears. Arnold also falls asleep drunk, after George becomes poetic about his new views on the world after believing he’s dying.
However, Hudson also shines in his scenes with Doris. Their on-screen romantic chemistry was at its most endearing as the pair reminisce about their first meeting. There’s a little foreshadowing seen with a prophetic mention of their first meeting after he invited her to join him for a meal for four in a Chinese restaurant in order to get a free extra dish in her last film, With Six You Get Egg Roll (1968).
Doris Day however is at her funniest, in a scene where she proves her comic genius on screen in a continuous shot. This is in her opening scene as she discovers that her dressing gown is trapped in the front door. In this scene without words, you understand the full frustration she feels. This is as she tries unsuccessfully to get into the house and then tries not to be seen by anyone. As things go from bad to worse.
Norman Jewison directed this film and it’s one of two films he directed with Doris Day. But back to the title song from lyricist Hal David and composer Burt Bacharach. In this song, Doris Day sings that she’d rather have a proclamation of love with a snog rather than with a bunch of flowers. And as a romantic, I couldn’t agree more. After seeing this film as always, I’m – by title dropping that other Doris Day and Norman Jewison film – swept away by the romance and the bromance in this film and The Thrill of it All...
Weeper Rating: 0/10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 710
Hulk Rating: / 10
Sixth Annual Doris Day Blogathon 2022, No 8
This review was added to Love Letters to Old Hollywood’s Sixth Annual Doris Day Blogathon. Rock Hudson starred in The Mirror Crack’d, McMillan, McMillan and Wife HERE and HERE, Pillow Talk, Dynasty and Avalanche. Doris Day stars in Move over Darling, Pillow Talk, The Thrill of it All, Teachers Pet, Young at Heart, With Six You Get Egg Roll and her tribute is HERE. Paul Lynde in Bewitched, Charlotte’s Web and Beach Blanket Bingo. Tony Randall in Pillow Talk, Down with Love and Happy Days. Clint Walker in Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women.