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papyrusbeetle

SEND ME NO FLOWERS (1964) heaven in the suburbs

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I just watched SEND ME NO FLOWERS (1964) after many years! I love this movie so much.
So many great things about it (even though Doris Day's husband Marty Melcher was a total crook, we do thank him for exploiting her in these movies).
One thing was the LIMIT on characters--it was really simple to keep track of plot-wise, compared to Rock and Doris's other films.
Every character is perfect, a pro actor playing them, and they are all experts in comedy. I love them all.
The OTHER fantastic thing is the SET. Rock Hudson and Tony Randall live next door to each other, and the interiors are perfection---the ultimate middle-class dream sets of 1964, that people all over the world aspired to copy.
The bedroom colors MATCH Doris Days' blonde hair.
Every little set prop is adorable.
Tony Randall's KITCHEN is the ultimate designer kitchen for that era, in BRONZE colors for the appliances (very cool, modern, and popular.)
Doris Day, as a housewife, spends her days at the grocery store, or playing golf with her girlfriends. Life is good. A gossipy milkman delivers all sorts of things (Honey, milk, eggs, etc). to the door every morning. This is life as it was once lived in the paradise of the suburbs.
 
And, best of all PAUL LYNDE steals the movie--he is a sweet character, the Cemetery Plot salesman, and just about saves Rock Hudson's marriage at the end. He was so good in everything.
Unfortunately, IRL., Paul was a tortured soul, and quite unpleasant to work with. But the movie "WORKS" because of his performance (ditto the film BYE BYE BIRDIE).
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I avoided this one because I wasn't charmed by the theme of hypochondria. Wasn't to my taste. I admire your appreciation for the flick though. You obviously saw more in it than I did! bravo

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I pretty much agree with the Sgt. here, though I too respect your enthusiasm. It's the lesser of the three Rock/Doris movies. The hypochondria may have seemed funny on paper, but as a working comic conceit it doesn't play very well, in my opinion. I'm gay, but Paul Lynde basically gets an eye roll from me; not a fan of comics who struggle that hard to put something across. But you're right about the candy-colored suburban time capsule we see in it, similar to the one in Bachelor in Paradise with Bob Hope and Lana Turner. And I think it was very astute of you to credit the movie for the limited number of characters. It does, as you said, help to focus our attention appropriately.

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I like this film, but it was at a disadvantage following PILLOW TALK and LOVER COME BACK...which were truly inspired (and much more original). In some ways SEND ME NO FLOWERS plays a lot like a TV sitcom. The production values are top notch, however...and it is buoyed by the strong supporting cast.

This line seemed interesting:

This is life as it was once lived in the paradise of the suburbs.

How would life with a husband who's "dying" every five minutes seem like paradise? There's a reason films like THE SWIMMER and THE STEPFORD WIVES came along a short time later. For many, the so-called ideal was actually a nightmare. And "dying" was the only way to escape it.

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Thanks, fans, and FUTURE fans of this movie.

I think the interesting (elephant in the room) feature of this film (and, of Suburban heaven) IS the hypochondria.

Didn't we just watch (in the 1960's) Terry-Thomas RANT in the film IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD, about the U.S. being the world's worst Matriarchy, about "American Men" dropping dead daily from coronaries while American women spend their days under hair dryers?

Later, in more astute times, we discover that "hypochondria" is often the adult manifestation of early child abuse, and we also know that Rock Hudson was subjected to emotional and physical abuse by his stepfather. This is a story that hits home.

I love the coziness of this film. Rock and Doris look wonderful, and they were dear friends IRL, and that makes this film work beautifully. Also, it shows that even "perfect" looking people have worries---but, it's so much more pleasant to watch a story cast with "perfect" looking people.

Hugs out to Paul Lynde--I can't imagine entertainment without him.(His interpretation is wonderfully balanced by the hilarious Doctor, who is always second-guessing himself for not going into a lucrative "specialty" field).

Not only that, he "sells" the cemetery ideal the way a good salesman does--with all his heart. Hypochondriacs (like Rock Hudson's character) seek attention, and this salesman takes him seriously all the way.

How else would you sell cemetery plots? Half-heartedly? Bitterly? Sadly? There is a lot behind this business, and perhaps some shame, too---a planned freeway might rip the beautiful landscape to shreds in the future.

This is something EVERYONE (not just movie stars or film characters) will confront, and I'd prefer someone like Paul Lynde to deal with.

 

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I don't mind guys like Paul Lynde or Don Rickles. What makes them tolerable --if not always palatable--is that they stay consistent with their schtick. This is the quality which wins me over. As long as they keep faith with their spleen, and do not backslide or repent their ways--I can admire them. Its half-heartedness which I despise. Do everything 100%, whatever it is.

"Evil has its heroes, as well as Good" --maxims of duc de la Rochefaucauld

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papyusbeetle, your love for the "coziness" of this movie really comes through. I can see what you mean and I myself don't dislike it, but I think you're over-reaching a little in its defense. I'm sure you're correct about child abuse manifesting as adult hypochondria, though I'm not familiar with the studies, but that would only be relevant if there were some indication that the script was proceeding on that basis. Send Me No Flowers was based on a play and, like most comic plays of that era, it's all hung on predetermined plot points, in this case hypochondria. You described hypochondria as the elephant in the room and to me it has that feel, kind of plodding but basically inert.

I won't rain on your Paul Lynde parade, except to note that some of his comic predecessors, such as Franklin Pangborn, were known for being economical and finely tuned in their delivery, whereas Lynde seemed to me to be more recklessly scattershot. A matter of taste, and not meant to detract from your "hugs to Paul Lynde".

I share your love for the movies of that era, partly because that was when I started to choose movies on my own, not just attend with my parents or my brothers. I saw most of the comedies and am still fond of them all. I think we always love the movies of our youth in particular.

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Hypochondria might be amusing, but mostly it is not very funny. And stretching the gag out for a 100-minute movie is tedious.

But the main problem is that SEND ME NO FLOWERS is supposed to be a romantic comedy. There is nothing romantic about being chained to a spouse who has a million imagined ailments.

They stumbled a bit with the plot of this movie, and that's why there wasn't a fourth one. The formula had worn thin.

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ps nice to see julius epstein as the writer and frank de vol on the score

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I'm waiting for the OP to discuss A VERY SPECIAL FAVOR (1965)...another Universal rom-com that Hudson did. This time with Leslie Caron and Charles Boyer.

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Indeed. Papy's fetish for these 'deeeee-Lux' productions is lots of fun. Well worth reminding us about all the vanished glamour and swank stylings of the studio era ...in this benighted age of 'Vin Diesel'...

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re: VERY SPECIAL FAVOR---I haven't seen this movie, I'm sure it's terrific. But Charles Boyer unfortunately drags his own sad history with him--didn't he commit suicide when his wife of many years passed away?

And, if we're talking "romance" with all the stops out, with a REALISTIC setting, one of the greatest ever was with Leslie Caron and Cary Grant, FATHER GOOSE.

What SEND ME NO FLOWERS reminds me of is the "reality", more real than real (and not truly captured in BACHELOR IN PARADISE) of exactly why people all over the world, for the last 60 years, have been coming to the USA any way they can, to live like THIS.

This isn't romance. And compared to "suburban" homes of today, it's quite humble. But it's wonderful.

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I'm not sure I get what you mean by "more real than real", especially since you put "reality" in quotes. The set for this movie was in line with what manufacturers (and filmmakers were by and large manufacturers, at least in the era of studio control) were promoting to sell their products, as well as to sell an overall image to provide a context for those products. I remember kitchens and appliances just like these in the ads in my mother's "women's" magazines, as well as articles incorporating the images homemakers were encouraged to duplicate in their own homes. Certain movies helped promote these images internationally and Send Me No Flowers was definitely one of those. You could say it was out of national pride, but cynically you could also say it was a form of humble bragging meant to entice others into the American market for goods. (Look at the deluxe surroundings of the "average" American!) I don't know your age, but I myself am old enough to have lived through the era of this film. I look back with fond nostalgia, but a clear-eyed one, with an additional memory of the relief when some of that fell by the wayside as the 1960's wore on. As I mentioned before, I love your enthusiasm, but "people coming from all over the world for the last 60 years" are more likely to encounter the consequences of a shrinking middle class that they are to encounter anything resembling the "realism" of the early 1960's. I know; I'm a humbug. Sorry.

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Its very hard to say what is 'real' in such questions.

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Yes! very true!

One FUN movie-studies thesis project might be: Reality and unreality in the "sets" of Doris Day films.

REALLY! All over the world these films were showing, to all sorts of audiences, and many might have been going home later and thinking---"wow, I want to live like this. I'm emigrating to the USA". Why else are all these people (sort of a torrent right now) leaving their home countries, dissatisfied, and heading to the USA or Europe.?

But the fun of this in Doris Day films is how truly different they are.

LOVER COME BACK---> "roasted" at the time it appeared for the WILDLY fantastic, huge apartment Doris Day lived in in Manhattan. How in the world did she earn enough money in Advertising to pay for THIS space?

THRILL OF IT ALL, SEND ME NO FLOWERS -- nice suburban homes within reality that was advertised in Women's magazines at the time.

THAT TOUCH OF MINK -- sharing a cozy (but ratty) apartment in a New York Brownstone with Audrey Meadows, with one bedroom.

(kind of fuzzy on her apartment in NYC in PILLOW TALK, maybe another fan can describe it.)

 

I think Doris, in her own way, was a groundbreaker for women in her films. (And, in her life).

She could LIVE THE DREAM.

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I've never seen CAPRICE. But it looks like Doris is really living the American dream:

screen-shot-2019-03-28-at-11.36.37-am.jp

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One of the few films Doris actually hated.

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I was surprised to read in the recent Rock Hudson book that both Rock and Doris were on board for another teaming. The script had been approved by both of them (unsure who wrote it). This was in the 80s, but Rock soon became ill and it was never made. I had read for years both of them wanted to re-team, but could not find a script they liked. Sadly, the film was never made.

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On 3/26/2019 at 10:02 AM, TopBilled said:

Hypochondria might be amusing, but mostly it is not very funny. And stretching the gag out for a 100-minute movie is tedious.

But the main problem is that SEND ME NO FLOWERS is supposed to be a romantic comedy. There is nothing romantic about being chained to a spouse who has a million imagined ailments.

They stumbled a bit with the plot of this movie, and that's why there wasn't a fourth one. The formula had worn thin.

Hypochondria is part of the plot, but there are other things going on. Doris also thinks Rock is cheating on her. This was based on a play, it was not an original screenplay like the other pairings.

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4 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Hypochondria is part of the plot, but there are other things going on. Doris also thinks Rock is cheating on her. This was based on a play, it was not an original screenplay like the other pairings.

I know. The play didn't do well on Broadway. It only ran for a month, before closing.

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28 minutes ago, Hibi said:

I was surprised to read in the recent Rock Hudson book that both Rock and Doris were on board for another teaming. The script had been approved by both of them (unsure who wrote it). This was in the 80s, but Rock soon became ill and it was never made. I had read for years both of them wanted to re-team, but could not find a script they liked. Sadly, the film was never made.

And, sadly, John Waters didn't direct it.

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16 hours ago, DougieB said:

And, sadly, John Waters didn't direct it.

And what is that supposed to mean?

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Just now, Hibi said:

And waht is that supposed to mean?

By the 1980"s, the best chance a romcom reboot with Rock and Doris would have would be if it were done somewhat ironically. By that point in his career, John had both visibility and popular appeal, with Hairspray, Polyester, and Serial Mom to his credit, featuring collaborations with legitimate movie actors. Irony was his game and I'm willing to bet he could have done Rock and Doris proud. Rock had a history of offbeat projects like Seconds and Pretty Maids All in a Row and I can see him understanding, like Tab Hunter, that John could reactivate a fan base for him in an offbeat but still socially acceptable way. By all accounts, Doris has a good sense of humor and I can see her going along with it if the script were right. I meant my comment respectfully and I honor all three of the individuals mentioned.

 

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Bad taste was his game. I dont think Doris or Rock would've wanted him as director. And Waters always wrote his own scripts (I'm sure he didn't write this one!)

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