Lover Come Back (1961 )

Director:

Delbert Mann

Lover Come Back is a 1961 Eastmancolor romantic comedy released by Universal Pictures

and directed by Delbert Mann. The film stars Doris Day and Rock Hudson in their second film together. The supporting cast includes Tony Randall, Edie Adams, Ann B. Davis, and Donna Douglas.

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This is the second of three movies in which Day, Hudson and Randall starred together, the other two being Pillow Talk (1959) and Send Me No Flowers (1964).

The story is similar to Pillow Talk in that it includes mistaken identity as a key plot device. Although not as well known as Pillow Talk, the script by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning earned an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.

“Lover Come Back” Doris Day 1961 Universal Pictures © 1978 Leo Fuchs

Plot

In a New York advertising agency, Jerry Webster, a Madison Avenue ad executive, has achieved success not through hard work or intelligence but by wining and dining his clients, even setting them up on dates with attractive girls.

Jerry’s equal and sworn enemy at a rival agency is Carol Templeton. Although she has never met him, Carol is disgusted by Jerry’s unethical tactics and reports him to the Ad Council. Jerry avoids trouble with his usual aplomb, sending a comely chorus girl, Rebel Davis, to seduce the council members.

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Jerry then promises Rebel a spot in commercials, so he shoots some featuring her for “VIP,” a non-existent product. The commercials accidentally are broadcast on TV, thanks to the perplexed company president, Pete Ramsey.

Due to this mistake, Jerry needs to come up with a product quickly. He bribes a chemist, Dr. Linus Tyler, to come up with some sort of product called “VIP” that could be marketed. Jerry himself pretends to be Tyler, the inventor, to Carol, so that in her attempt to steal the account from Jerry, she is actually wining, dining, golfing, and frolicking at the beach with him as Tyler.

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Carol learns the truth. Appalled, she once more reports him to the Advertising Council, this time for promoting a product that does not exist. Jerry, however, arrives at the hearing with VIP, a mint-flavored candy Dr. Tyler has created. He provides a free sample to everyone there, including Carol.

“VIP” turns out to be an intoxicating candy, one serving having the same effect as a triple martini. Its extreme effects lead to a one-night stand between Carol (who has a low tolerance for alcohol) and her bitter rival, Jerry, complete with a marriage license.

Carol has the marriage annulled, but Jerry convinces the liquor industry to give Carol’s firm 25% of its $60 million ($500 million today) annual advertising expenditures in return for pulling VIP off the market and burning the formula. Jerry leaves New York to work in his company’s California branch — only to be called back nine months later to remarry Carol in a hospital maternity ward, just before she gives birth to their child.

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Personally, my favorite Doris-Rock-Tony vehicle

7 August 2006 | by Isaac5855 (United States) – See all my reviews

LOVER, COME BACK is a stylish and sophisticated sex comedy that reunited Doris Day, Rock Hudson, and Tony Randall in this story of rival advertising executives (Day, Hudson) who, though they’ve never met, can’t stand each other and are always competing for the same clients which once again sets up a clever mistaken identity scenario that allows Rock to pretend to be someone else in order to woo an unsuspecting Doris. This is Doris and Rock’s best film, IMO…a sparkling romantic comedy with a strong screenplay and once again, Doris again exemplifies the 60’s working woman….one of the few actresses during this time in Hollywood consistently playing working women competing in a man’s world. Doris and Rock get strong support from Randall, Jack Kruschen, Ann B. Davis, and especially Edie Adams. Doris’ “virginity” never had more sex appeal than it did here.

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One of my favourite movies

9/10
Author: May-11 from Spain
12 March 2001

I love this movie. It’s one of the wittiest and funniest comedies I’ve ever seen, and I can watch it over and over again without getting tired. I like “old” movies, but most comedies of the 50’s and 60’s contain some scenes where I can’t help feeling a bit embarrassed because they are so old fashioned and can’t be understood or laughed at 50 years later.

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But this movie is still perfect, although the mentalities have changed so much. The actors (Day, Hudson and Randall) are wonderful and there are not many pictures that catch the 60’s better: the furniture, the clothes… And besides, is there an actor (or man) nowadays who has so much sex-appeal as Rock Hudson without looking as if he was 15 or without having many muscles and no brain? I love the song “Lover Come Back” and the opening credits too. If you like romantic comedies with wit, spirit and great actors, watch this one!

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The Ad Man of Her Nightmares

9/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
12 March 2007

Of the three Rock Hudson-Doris Day films my absolute favorite is Lover Come Back. It’s not only a good sex comedy for Doris and Rock, but it’s also a very funny satire on the advertising business of Madison Avenue.

In Pillow Talk Doris was an interior decorator and Rock a songwriter. They haven’t changed their characters at all, but now are both in the advertising business.

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Through an incredible combination of circumstances I couldn’t possibly write Rock has created commercials for a product that doesn’t exist and the doofus son of the agency he works for, Tony Randall, has ordered them given full blown airing. With Doris nipping at his heels for unethical practices, Rock and Tony hire a nutty scientist played by Jack Kruschen to come up with some kind of product for the commercials.

In the meantime Doris mistakes Rock for the scientist and now we’re back to the plot of Pillow Talk as Rock decides to make some time with Doris. It gets pretty wild and wacky, especially after Kruschen invents something that has some very unforeseen consequences.

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All the cast members do just fine in this very bright comedy that has me splitting a gut with laughter every time I see it. In addition to the cast members mentioned, I should also single out Edie Adams as the southern model who Hudson makes the commercials with.

Also to be singled out in what turned out to be his farewell screen performance is Jack Oakie who plays the southern client who Rock steals from Doris and gets all the wacky nonsense started.

Even given the changing mores, Lover Come Back holds up quite well and today’s audience will love it as I do.

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A Vip Movie! ****

10/10
Author: edwagreen from United States
2 March 2007

Both Rock and Doris are caught up in the VIP madness. Trouble is that no one knows what VIP actually is. You see that Rock made it all up to get Edie Adams off his back. Unfortunately, his “crazy” boss, Tony Randall, doesn’t know this and as a result the hilarity begins.

Rock Hudson excelled in comedy roles when he would be imitating others so as to fool Doris Day. Remember Rex Stetson in another Rock and Doris film? As Jerry Webster, the advertising Casanova in this film, Rock gave a totally memorable performance. Doris plays Carol Templeton, a devoted advertising executive who can no longer stand losing accounts to Jerry, since he knows how to wine, dine and bed prospective clients.

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The dialogue is crisp and riotous at best. Edie Adams as Rebel will make you laugh out loud with a darling southern accent. Jack Kruschen has his moments as the embittered chemist who can be bought. Interesting to note that both Adams and Kruschen appeared together the year before in “The Apartment.” As is the case with this film as well, they weren’t in any scenes together.

Best Day/Hudson Script By Far!

7/10
Author: krdement from United States
10 October 2007
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My personal preference is for films of all kinds from the ’30’s to the mid ’40’s. For me the writing is generally much more sophisticated than later films – especially films from the era of Lover Come Back. That said, I give this film extremely high marks for the script. The writing here is much more sophisticated than Pillow Talk. There is nothing in any of the Day/Hudson movies to compare with the aquarium scene. It is classic.

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Another key scene is when Rock comes up to Doris’ apartment for dinner. The dress that she wears in that scene is one of the best ever! It is sophisticated, chic, glamorous and as sexy as they come! It accentuates her knockout figure without revealing anything! Wow is she ever hot in that dress!

But that scene, paradoxically, is why I do not rate this film more highly. Rock really overdoes the poor, sheltered, inexperienced guy. (I wish he had played that scene with the subtlety he displays when Doris mistakes him for the professor in the lab, and in the subsequent aquarium scene. They are both perfect.) As hammy as it is, it is a real blemish on an otherwise great performance and fabulous comedy. That scene just seems more hammy than the rest of the film.

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One other criticism is the ending. It comes very abruptly. I wish there had been some film footage showing his mailing letters for 8 months before giving up in the 9th, rather than just having his character tell us about that long interval while proposing to Doris on her way to delivery.

Lastly, I think that this film gets overlooked because of its title. If it had a title that actually reflected the story, it would be more memorable. Every time I hear “Lover Come Back” I just draw a blank. Day and Hudson aren’t lovers except for one night very late in the story, and they are reunited a few scenes later at the very end of the film. The bulk of the film deals with their conflict! The title leads you to expect a story built around the efforts of one lover to rekindle a romance with an estranged beloved – not this movie at all! Big mistake.

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“We’re just wild about VIP!”

10/10
Author: theowinthrop from United States
29 June 2008
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The second of the three Doris Day – Rock Hudson – Tony Randall romps, LOVER COME BACK actually is a slightly sharper film than it’s closer rival PILLOW TALK, with SEND ME NO FLOWERS a bit behind them. The reason for this positioning is that PILLOW TALK did not really spoof anything (Randall is producing a show and needs music composed by Hudson; until the end when Hudson decides to allow Day to decorate his apartment – with horrendous results – Day’s interior decorating career really was just a mild peg in the screenplay). SEND ME NO FLOWERS comes closest to satire in the business with Paul Lynde’s friendly, helpful cemetery plot salesman. Most of the rest deals with hypochondria and the world of the suburbs. Only in LOVER COME BACK does the center of the script involve itself in the profession of the three leads: Madison Avenue Advertising Agencies.

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Hudson is the right hand man (one might say the central brain) for an ad agency that is owned (by inheritance, not character or brains) by Randall. Hudson has a formula for getting accounts – find the client’s weakness, and play to it, pushing booze and girls at the same time. We see him steal the account of Jack Oakie (his final performance on film, but a nice one) as a Virginian who is still a loyal Confederate, and likes his booze (“jest a tetch” is a mantra of his, with Hudson or anyone else filling up the glass), and likes his fair ladies as well. Unfortunately for Hudson, Day had been scheduled to give a presentation to Oakie, and is really angry by the way Hudson stole the account. She starts asking questions, and finds the chief one of the chorus girls that Oakie was set up with (Edie Adams). When Hudson learns Adams plans to talk he tries to talk his way out by saying he was planning to make Adams the new “girl” for a new product.

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“Well, what is the product?”, Adams asks. Hudson looks at a newspaper headline referring to V.I.P.s and says it is called “Vip”. Adams does not testify against Hudson because he has a number of specious and vague, but sexy commercials shot with Adams selling “Vip”.

All this might have still remained under wraps, but Randall, in his first attempt to show he can make decisions rather than Hudson, tells his assistant (Joe Flynn) to release the commercials and saturate the television airwaves with them. Only later does a horrified Hudson tell him that there is no product called Vip.

Day learns of “Vip” from Adams. She starts more of an investigation, and discovers that nobody is quite sure what VIP is. Her boss, Howard St. John, is dubious of any result. Her own job on the line she decides to investigate on her own. Hudson has decided to use an eccentric Nobel Chemistry Laureate (Jack Kruschen – in a fun performance) to concoct a product called Vip. At one point Day shows up at Kruschen’s house, and sees Hudson wearing an apron. She jumps to the conclusion he is Kruschen, and starts trying to prevent him from signing with Hudson’s agency. Hudson decides to take full advantage of this situation: it preoccupies Day in her snooping, and she is more attractive than he imagined.

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The plot then follows that of PILLOW TALK with Day not realizing she is dating the man she loathes, not the imagined great man of science with a fragile psyche. Hudson plays it to the hilt (his comic abilities were first brought out by Day in their films, and it possibly enabled his career as a star to last really as long as it did). As for Randall, his desire to show he is worthy of his father “the Commodore” (a forbidding portrait of Randall in yachting costume is above the desk the son sits at) is confronted by his total lack of understanding his business, of making decisions, or taking responsibility. He keeps hoping either Hudson or Flynn will fall on their sword (symbolically will do, but he is open for actual suicide) to save his firm from being wrecked. His only apparent close relationship is with his therapist Dr. Melnick (Richard Deacon – in a sadly wasted single scene with Randall at the end), and even Randall mentions that Deacon has said he finds him boring.

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So what does the great Kruchen concoct out of chemicals and smoke (multi-colored, as Randall finds to his cost)? Put it this way: It is very possible that that great Vice President of the U.S., Thomas Marshall, would have fully appreciated the perfect companion invented by Kruschen for Marshall’s really good five cent cigar!

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