Doris Day's last feature film is a pleasant success, although it somehow isn't recalled as a such. Backtracking for a moment
Ms. Day's 1960s "sex comedies" were very big at the box office. The best of these films were critically acclaimed at the time, and are fondly remembered today. But, by 1967, Day began receiving scripts that lacked the wit (and hit potential) of earlier films. Day knew this, but found herself committed to a few unworthy movies, by manager/husband Martin Melcher. They weren't the first "bad" movies Day did, but they did come at a time when she was a "superstar". Day was able to make these bad movies better through her presence; as usual, she put a good effort into each assignment.
By 1966, Day was firmly entrenched in the "Quigley Top 10" poll of box office stars, and had become a very dependable, consistent attraction. The films she didn't care for were responsible for Day falling out of the "Ten Best" list, in 1967. She saw "With Six You Get Eggroll" as an improvement. And, it was. Day's last films heralded a return to form; and, she appeared at a very respectable #14 in her final 1968 "Quigley Poll" appearance. It was a CBS-TV series deal that prevented Day from continuing her film career. She was in demand, and would have had to continue in films (she needed the money). But, Day was committed to work on the television series, against her wishes, by the now deceased Mr. Melcher.
Seeing the success of the earlier released Lucille Ball comedy "Yours, Mine and Ours" (1968), the studio promoted "With Six You Get Eggroll" as similar fare. Actually, this film is a little better, overall (both are good movies). Herein, lumber yard owner "Abby McClure" (Day) is resigned to being single, after being left with her deceased husband's business, and three sons. But, she is "lonely" (a euphemism), as director Howard Morris clearly highlights with the overhead shots of Day on her bed. Day reluctantly accepts self-professed sex-minded sister Pat Carroll's arrangement of a date with widow Brian Keith (as Jake Iverson). Their courtship is marvelously depicted, thanks to fine scripting and performances.
Some have debated whether or not the characters played by Day and Keith have pre-marital sex. Everything about in the characters' behavior suggests that they do. If fact, the biggest reason for the marriage is that they find it increasingly frustrating to "sneak around" and be "alone" (more euphemisms). The rest of the film deals with the inevitable problems the marriage causes in their living arrangements. Now, considering Day's business (which she's good at), you've got to wonder they didn't just build another bedroom for one of the children. Unfortunately, the business sense of Day's character is left standing at the alter. The plot question becomes: Will the children learn to get along, or break up the newlyweds?
Representing the opposing fronts are her son John Findlater (as Flip) and his daughter Barbara Hershey (as Stacy). Youngsters Jimmy Bracken and Richard Steele handle their roles (and surprising bathtub scene) very well. Sounding like a cross between "Under My Thumb" and The Zombies, The Grass Roots do an original, exceptional, and very sixties-sounding song called "Feelings"; listen to them as Day visits a youth nightclub. Stand-up George Carlin turns up as fast-food patron. Two future "M*A*S*H" regulars lead a mob of tripping hippies. And, you can have a lot of fun picking out sit-com favorites. By the third act, the film has become more unfocused and ordinary, but it never really obliterates its appeal.
******* With Six You Get Eggroll (8/7/68) Howard Morris ~ Doris Day, Brian Keith, John Findlater, Barbara Hershey
With Six You Get Eggroll
Comedy / Drama / Family
With Six You Get Eggroll
Comedy / Drama / Family
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Since the death of her husband, Abby McClure has had to be mother, father and breadwinner - taking over operation of the family lumber store business - to her three sons. Her sister, Maxine Scott, has tried to be matchmaker for Abby, much to her exasperation as Abby sees men eligible to her as those she would rather not associate. Abby changes her mind when Maxine reminds her of a casual acquaintance, widowed chemical engineer Jake Iverson, who she has not seen or thought about in six or seven years from before her husband's death. Based on some unfortunate situations and some misunderstandings, Abby and Jake's new-found relationship does not start off well. When a serious courtship does begin, their respective children - most specifically Abby's oldest, late teen Flip McClure, and Jake's only offspring, late teen Stacey Iverson - are their biggest obstacles as Flip and Stacey don't want their role of male and female head of their respective household replaced. When Abby and Jake eventually get married, one other pressure is how they will live while both their too small houses wait to be sold. Can their marriage survive all these issues?
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June 02, 2022 at 04:25 AM