Doris Day celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday. Day could sing, dance, and was a good actress and pretty much our whole household has enjoyed her work. So, in honor of her reaching that milestone of 90 years, I thought I’d focus on one of her romance/comedies, The Thrill of it All, made in 1963, directed by Norm Jewison and distributed by Universal Pictures.
Doris portrays Mrs. Beverly Boyer, a happily married wife and mother of two children(Kym Karath and Brian Nash). Her husband is Dr. Gerald Boyer, an ob-gyn portrayed by James Garner. The family also has a live-in housekeeper, Olivia, played by comic actress, Zasu Pitts.
One of Gerald’s patients is Mrs. Fraleigh(Arlene Francis) an older woman who has had problems in attaining a pregnancy. She is so delighted to finally be expecting a baby that she invites Dr. Boyer and his wife to her home for dinner. Mrs. Fraleigh lives in a mansion and it turns out that she is the daughter-in-law of Mr. Tom Freleigh(Reginald Owen) the creator of the very successful Happy Soap company. At the dinner, Mrs. Freleigh requests the television to be rolled into the dining room so her husband Gardner(Edward Andrews) the CEO of Happy Soap, Old Mr. Tom, and Mike Palmer(Elliot Reid) Advertising Executive, can watch the latest commercial for Happy Soap. Gerald and Beverly think this is very odd, but sit politely and watch the commerical. The commerical stars a sexy blonde woman in her fancy swimming pool of a bathtub, full of Happy Soap bubbles. The blonde purrs how the soap makes her smell like the stars of Hollywood! With 2 daring shots of the blonde’s lower, bare back, Gardner and Mike concur that it was a fine commercial; Gerald doesn’t object to it either. Beverly remarks that Happy Soap had saved her life that day when she had to clean her 2 muddy children. Old Mr. Tom demands to hear her story and he is delighted with Beverly’s tale. He hires her to be the new commercial spokesperson for Happy Soap!
The fun of this movie is the battle between Beverly and Gerald. Beverly films her first commercial and says the entire experience was awful and that she won’t do any more. Gerald is pleased because he wasn’t in favor of his wife working outside of the home. Mike Palmer appears the next day to offer Beverly $80, 000 for a 1 year contract to film the commericals. That amount of money causes Beverly to change her mind fast…she will be the new star of Happy Soap commericals. Gerald grudgingly gives his approval, but warns her that she can’t let this new venture get in the way of being there for him and the children. Beverly assures Gerald that it won’t but shooting the commercials soon get in the way as Gerald feared they would.
The story for this movie was developed by Carl Reiner and Larry Gelbart, with Reiner writing the screenplay. He has several amusing cameos as the hero/villain of the Happy Soap Playhouse, his live scenes happening immediately as Beverly is done with a live commercial spot.
There’s miscommunication between the spouses, missed messages, an indignant Olivia who quits, a new German housekeeper who has a very thick accent, a gift of a swimming pool that unfortunately ruins Gerald’s convertible, giant soap suds invading the backyard, and Gerald’s plan to make Beverly so jealous that she’ll quit her commercials to be with him. The Thrill of it All is a fun movie to view, with a happy ending, and the undeniable charm and chemistry that Day and Garner exude in their scenes together. This movie is on blu-ray dvd and can be found via Amazon.com and TCM Shop. To end this post, here are a few more scenes from the movie.