This black and white feature film from director Andrew L. Stone and producer Martin Melcher represents a major departure in the film career of Doris Day. It’s a murder mystery balled up in a tale of jealousy and stalking with a foreshadowing of the Airport disaster flicks to come at us in the 1970’s.
From the outset, Day’s airline stewardess is in a shaky relationship. She’s married to the volatile and unstable Louis Jordan. He’s pouty and is quick to explode when he believes he doesn’t have the full attention of Miss Day. The plot will unveil that Doris’ first husband died from an apparent suicide and I suppose we are left to assume that she married Jordan on the rebound. Hanging out at the local golf and country club, Doris will confide her fears to family friend and possible third husband (?) Barry Sullivan. When Barry suggests Louis killed her first husband, Doris begins to doubt the suicide death of hubby number one.
When she asks Louis outright, he freely confesses to the killing. He’s a deranged character who promptly removes the distributor cap from the family car. In a state of panic, Doris finally gets away from the overbearing Jordan and arranges to meet Sullivan at the local police station where they unveil there beliefs to the local cop on the beat, Frank Lovejoy. With the former case closed and Louis denying saying any such thing of murdering her first hubby, Frank’s hands are tied. Doris wisely leaves with Sullivan as opposed to Jordan as he’s now more than a bit over the edge where a jealous rage is concerned. Poor Barry Sullivan is a marked man.
Fast forward to the fact that Doris gets called in to work finding herself in the air once again. Low and behold one of her passengers turns out to be the loony Jordan. I hate to ruin plots but since Doris is the major star of the show, don’t be surprised if she gives us the Karen Black technique of flying and landing an airplane. I’d also like to add that while Doris may have taken the controls first, she just doesn’t have anything on Black who handled the situation magnificently in Airport ’75.
If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now. Doris Day is one of my all time favorite actresses and her voice is as good as they come. Now that we have that out of the way, I do have to say that this flick is far from her best. It’s a non stop rollercoaster ride that begins laughably with Jordan and Doris in a speeding car and ends just as badly with the pair in a speeding airplane. It steps on the gas, literally in the opening scene and never stops to breathe. I couldn’t help but think that once the opening fifteen minutes had passed that I was jumping into a movie during the second or third reel. Then there is also the background musical score that by the twenty minute mark is peaking to a climax as if the film is coming to an end.
On the plus side is the attempt to cast Doris in a Noir tinged film. It comes off best in the scenes with Sullivan involved and to be exact, his late night tussle with Jordan. Doris’ hubby was course Melcher the producer who apparently spearheaded the production and guaranteeing that Doris still had a theme song sung over the opening credits despite this being anything but a musical romp that we tend to associate the blonde beauty with.
As a Doris follower, this is one film that it’s taken me years to finally see. Good or bad isn’t the point when your a fan. Thankfully I snagged a copy of the film that was put out by the Warner Archive Collection if you too are so inclined.