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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Caprice (1967)

An industrial spy (Doris Day) for a cosmetics company is attempting to steal the secret of a revolutionary water repellent hairspray from a competitor. But when murder and narcotics enter the picture, her mission becomes less superficial. An attempt at re-imagining Doris Day into a more "mod" image, a sort of American Modesty Blaise, the film was a failure when released (Day disliked the film) but today it plays better than its reputation would suggest. Which doesn't mean it's very good, just better than the commonly held negative opinion. Some of the skiing sequences and stunt work are pretty good though the obvious backdrops spoil the effect. The director and co-writer Frank Tashlin's influence is discernible, his cartoonish slapstick style is prominent, notably in a pursuit chase by police in an apartment complex. The film's biggest stumbling block is that Day and her leading man, Richard Harris, have zero chemistry. Charm was never the intense Harris's forte but I suppose it was the studio's idea to pair her with a then "hot" British actor. Still, some of the scenes seem strange coming in a Day film like when Michael J. Pollard is feeling Day up and sticks his hand right up her dress! Of course, being Day she slaps him. The theme song sung by Day is quite pretty though and Frank De Vol did the Mancini-ish score. With Ray Walston, Lilia Skala, Edward Mulhare, Irene Tsu and Jack Kruschen.

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