"Please Don't Eat the Daisies" opens with Day preparing to attend the opening of a new Broadway show, which her husband, Larry Mackay, is reviewing. He is a former professor who has just joined the "Holy Seven" group of New York theatre critics, who can destroy any chances that a new show has to succeed with just one bad review. "Luckily", his best friend, the perennially successful Alfred North, is producing the show. The Mackay's brood, four young, mischievous boys are raising havoc while expecting the new baby-sitter to arrive. An expert comedienne, Day, as the harried mother, plays this scene with just the right amount of exasperation, helplessness and understanding, despite the almost demonic behaviour of her boys which appears to be taken in stride as a "boys will be boys" attitude.
The show, "Mlle Fanny" starring Deborah Vaughn (Janis Paige) turns out to be awful. Larry is forced to give the show a bad review, which infuriates Miss Vaughn - and Alfred, who considers the review as a betrayal of their 20-year friendship. Alfred, with the help of Deborah Vaughn, launches a counter-attack on Larry, which results in several public confrontations between Deborah and Larry, including a public slapping at Sardi's, which make headlines. These provocative reports result in a vigorous box-office for the play, much to the delight of "Mlle Fanny's" producers.
Meanwhile, Kate and Larry attempt to fulfil their marriage dream of moving out of Manhattan to the country. On a limited budget (we don't know why), Kate picks a rundown, enormously large house, which needs major repairs before habitation. For some reason, the whole gang pitches in and with the help of carpenters, painters and landscapers, the "disaster" turns into house beautiful. Meanwhile, Mackay is desperately trying to stay above the fray, what with Alfred and Deborah on the warpath. Kate is growing weary of the countless parties they must attend with the dilettantes of New York society, while enduring the periodic brushes with Vaughn and North.
Kate throws herself into the suburban lifestyle by getting involved with the Hootin' Holler Players, a locale theatre group in Hooten, New York. They are desperately seeking a play to produce for charity and are referred to Alfred North as a possible source. North remembers that Larry, while in college, wrote a disastrous play, "So Passion Dies", of which he has many copies. He changes the title to "Ghostly Music" by 'Irving O'Reilly' and gives permission for the group to use Larry's play with the hope of obtaining revenge on Mackay for his "betrayal".
When Larry attends a rehearsal for the play in which Kate is starring, he recognises the dialogue and refuses to allow the group to perform it - realising how devastating it would be for his career that he has written such a mediocre play. Day pleads with him not to thwart the production and he reluctantly agrees, but not before writing a self-deprecating news article about the play to save his face. The marriage between Kate and Larry cools as he spends more time in Manhattan while she works on the house in the country. Kate's mother, Suzie Robinson (Spring Byington) steps in to save her daughter's marriage by taking sides with Larry. Miss Byington, gives a wonderful performance, filled with grandmotherly pizzazz and outspoken brashness. Larry is suddenly torn between his new life as a top New York film critic and his life as a father, husband and friend. Kate, after heartfelt advice from her mother, realises that she must make sacrifices as well and decides to make peace with her mate.
Doris Day is completely natural and gives one on her best performances. Genuinely realistic in her scenes, it was difficult to tell if she was acting or whether she was actually "Kate Mackay" in the real world. This is a remarkable achievement and credit should be given to the director who kept the reality in check for Miss Day. During the proceedings, she had the opportunity to reprise "Whatever Will Be, Will Be" in a quiet moment in a bistro with Niven and performed "Anyway the Wind Blows" during a rehearsal for the play. She also sings the title tune with a group of children at after-school activities.
There is no great plot here, just some interesting occurrences, just like in real-life. That's what so pleasant about this movie. It just breezes along, something happens, you laugh and settle back again just to enjoy watching some interesting actors saying clever things, wearing great clothes and making us like them. Filmed in CinemaScope and colour, it was a handsome production by Joe Pasternak and Martin Melcher with the screenplay by Isobel Lennart, based on the best-selling book by Jean Kerr about life with her husband, Walter Kerr, a New York film critic.
loved this movie ON EVERY LEVEL. Doris was absolutely brilliant in every respect. She was a perfect mother, a good daughter, a good wife, an accommodating neighbor, an animal lover, etc.
She was certainly not her usual goody two shoes image (against popular critical approval).
Good story, a good song or two, some melodrama, some tears. The movie has it all!
Hi Sinem, in the movie Doris husband Larry, writes for a column in the New York times as a drama critic, and has become quite famous for his critics about the plays on broadway. Anyway this Deborah Vaughn in the movie, was in a play on broadway and he made some off colored remark about her fanny, I will post a clip of part of the movie, you have to see the movie to understand all of it.
I know I'm going against the grain here (and feel free to disagree with me) but I'm not the biggest fan of this film. It's not a bad film, certainly not her worst film and I know it was a popular book/title. For the positives, The Music scenes are charming and I like the last 20 minutes of the film. However, even though this film has grown on me (even her children in this film have grown on me), it's more vignettes than a proper plot like someone said. I just find it tedious at times.
To answer the 'fanny' question: Though I like, if not love Janis Paige, I would rather see Doris' fine behind (David Niven smacking it or not) any day. Doris' doesn't look padded.
"I think Doris is a very sexy lady who doesn't know how sexy she is. That's the integral part of her charm. Beautiful Doris with that fantastic body, all sweetness and charm up front, and that turns people on, and I don't think she could have had the success she's had if she didn't have this sexy whirlpool frothing around underneath her All-American-girl exterior."
"...she was the Fred Astaire of comedy."
"Making a movie with Doris was a piece of cake---a sexy ride on her coattails all the way.
Holly, I was kind of like you, this film grows on you the more you watch it, but like it has been said many times Doris brings life to every scene she is playing. There were several of her films that Doris herself knew were poor quality as far as the plot or story goes. Marty was just pushing her into one film right after another, and not waiting many times for better roles for her.
But every movie she was in, she gave it 110% and it seemed when she appeared in a scene, it brought life and instrest to it.
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