Overall | Pillow Talk (1959) | Lover Come Back (1961) | Send Me No Flowers (1964)

Doris Day Collection (Pillow Talk/Lover Come Back/Send Me No Flowers)

Doris Day Collection (Pillow Talk/Lover Come Back/Send Me No Flowers)

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Released 20-Oct-2003

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Overall Package

    The Doris Day Collection brings together the three films that Doris Day made with Rock Hudson and Tony Randall. As such it could equally be called the Rock Hudson Collection or the Tony Randall Collection, but I digress.

    When it comes to screen sweetness, Doris Day just about ruled the roost in Hollywood and her films very rarely strayed far from a very tried and true formula. Perhaps the only modern equivalent that we really have to her is Meg Ryan but not even she approaches the all-around wholesomeness that Doris Day was renowned for in her films. During the 1950's and 1960's she was perhaps the foremost exponent of the romantic comedy and what are gathered here are three of those that she made for Universal in that period. Very much products of their time, it is quite interesting to see how the films have held up with the passage of forty years. It has to be said that time has not been overly favourable to the films...

    Starting with Pillow Talk, arguably her best example in the genre, we immediately see how the romantic comedy has always been the genre of cliché in general and to her films in particular. Lover Come Back follows in an almost similar vein with only modest variety to avoid copyright issues it seems, but we do conclude the collection (at least chronologically) with the atypical Send Me No Flowers. The latter comes as a refreshing change to the Doris Day-centricity of the collection, as it follows a different path and does not feature as much of the famed sweetness.

    Whilst it might sound as if I would be the least likely person to review the Doris Day Collection, the reality is that for all the obviousness of the films and that almost-patented sweetness, there is something reasonably endearing about the films the lady made. Fans of the lady and the films will lap this collection up, and rightly so. However, the rest might well find here at least one surprise, and probably more. Whilst bemoaning in the most vociferous way possible about the virtual lack of any substantive extras, which seriously diminishes the package in my view, there is enough in the films to warrant investigation by just about any fan of the genre. Recommended - but guardedly so.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Saturday, October 11, 2003
Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke
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Overall | Pillow Talk (1959) | Lover Come Back (1961) | Send Me No Flowers (1964)

Pillow Talk (1959)

Pillow Talk (1959)

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Released 20-Oct-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:20)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1959
Running Time 98:15
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Michael Gordon
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Rock Hudson
Doris Day
Tony Randall
Thelma Ritter
Case ?
RPI Box Music Frank De Vol


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Portuguese
Dutch
Swedish
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Hebrew
Arabic
Russian
Turkish
Greek
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The late 1950's and early 1960's seems to have been an era where the wholesome comedy reached the height of popularity. For me, nothing epitomises the period than the three films that Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall made together. The first, and arguably the most successful, of the three films was Pillow Talk from the year of my birth. So successful was the film that it garnered an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, having also been nominated for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Music Score. Its success probably had much to do with the following two films from the trio - Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers.

    Jan Morrow (Doris Day) is an interior decorator from Manhattan who is blighted with the use of a party line for her telephone service. The reason why she is blighted is due to the fact that the other party on the party line is Brad Allen (Rock Hudson) who, aside from being a songwriter, is something of a womaniser. Indeed, so familiar with the opposite sex is Brad that his standard line revolves around one of his songs... As a result of his on-line antics, however, Jan's life is not easy and pent-up hostilities are liable to break into actual hostility at any time. Jan's other problem is one of her customers - Jonathan Forbes (Tony Randall), a millionaire with an eye for one very attractive lady. Trouble is that the feeling is not reciprocated. The trio has one more connection: Brad is actually engaged by Jonathan at the current time to wrote songs for a musical he is underwriting. Jonathan happens to mention Jan in not so glowing terms to Brad but once Brad sees Jan, his interest is well and truly piqued. Trouble is that if Jan actually knew who he was, there would not be a cat's chance in hell of her agreeing to go out with him and so he dons an alter ego: Rex Stetson from Texas. Now all he has to do is not get caught with Jonathan around...

    One aspect of the at-times rather sweet nature of romantic comedies of the era was their rather endearing nature, and that is probably the best description as to why Pillow Talk continues to hold the attraction of viewers. The film is well written - as the Oscar would suggest - and that is very much the foundation upon which the film is based. The tight story certainly does not lag and does not unnecessarily linger on any particular aspect of the film - characteristics that are often sadly lacking in modern day romantic comedies. The main leads do a very nice job of realising the screenplay too, although I still confess to not being a great fan of Rock Hudson or Doris Day as regards their acting abilities, and the latter never held for me the same sort of girl-next-door charm as say a June Alyson did. Truth be told, Tony Randall is basically just a fill-in here, but handles the role pretty well. As ever, the stand-out is Thelma Ritter, one of the most competent character actresses to ever grace Hollywood.

    The choice of the Cinemascope format for the film was an interesting one and frankly one that really did not suit the film that well. Quite simply put, the film does not need a wide vista given its setting and even the spilt screen portions were still a little constrained (assuming of course that it was precisely for these portions that the Cinemascope format was chosen).

    Whilst never a great fan of the film or the leads, it has to be said that after many years of not seeing the film it does hold up well. Fans should rejoice that the film is now available on Region 4 DVD, even if the presentation leaves plenty to be desired.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    When you consider some of the gems of restorations that we have seen of films from around the same era as Pillow Talk, what we have here is really and truly second-rate stuff. Whilst appreciating that restoration is an at times expensive exercise, the fact that we get tossed up stuff that looks like it may have been mastered from a laserdisc master (the Region 1 release apparently is) is liable to induce complaints. From the opening credits on, you simply know that the video side of things is not going to be pretty - and it really is not. Whilst it is not the fault of the mastering, this is one film where I have really found the tendency to use gauze filters when filming the female lead to be extremely annoying: the transfer wanders between being reasonably sharp to being very soft at the blink of an eye, dependent purely on the camera angle and whether Doris Day is in frame in reasonable close up.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. Whilst filmed in Cinemascope, and therefore capable of presentation in an aspect ratio of 2.55:1, it is my understanding that the film was theatrically shown at 2.35:1.

    As indicated, the transfer wanders all over the place in sharpness, simply as a result of whether the female lead is on screen or not. At times, that soft, gauze filter really is a tremendous distraction and robs a transfer struggling for definition of a whole lot of it. The result is an at times quite flat looking transfer that just begs for some depth and detail, but the begging is never answered in the positive. There is a constant issue with grain throughout the transfer, most notably poor during the opening credits, but certainly not limited to just there. Clarity as a result is quite poor, not aided by the amount of dirt floating around the transfer. Shadow detail is average at best, but thankfully is not much of an issue in the overall film. Low level noise is not an issue.

    The colour palette is quite muted and even when there were the opportunities for the colours to really come to the fore, I cannot say they really did. I found the whole palette to be quite flat and lacking a little in vibrancy, although there was certainly a very consistent look to the tones. Blacks were reasonable without being really solid, whilst flesh tones seemed quite natural looking. There was no evidence of oversaturation in the transfer, nor of colour bleed.

    There are no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although some residual source material issues clearly exist here and there. Film-to-video artefacts were pretty much confined to some minor aliasing, most noticeably in the wall hanging in one of the offices - just about every time we see the hanging, it aliases (8:57 and 87:49 being examples). There is some moiré artefacting in the curtains at 17:12 and the Venetians at 81:07. The transfer is well blessed with film artefacts, with plenty of dirt specks and hairs being quite evident - especially during the opening credits. These did become quite annoying and on a larger display I would guess that they would be very irritating.

    This is an RSDL formatted DVD, but as usual I cannot detect where the layer change is located.

    There is a plethora of subtitle options on the DVD, of which I stuck to sampling the English efforts. The presentation is fairly annoying - the font is a poor one and really intrudes into the film with minimal effort. On top of that they are not at all accurate, with much dialogue being well chopped and changed, sometimes to get the whole onto the screen but at other times without reason. At one point they seemed to be very slightly out of whack with the spoken dialogue time-wise, but nothing serious. Overall, not the best subtitling effort I have ever seen.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are five soundtracks on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a German Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. I stuck with the English soundtrack.

    To be fair, I am having difficulty coming up with an adequate way of describing the quality of the soundtrack and how the dialogue is presented. Whilst you certainly can hear and understand everything well enough, there are lapses in the soundtrack itself that do draw attention to the fact that, like the video transfer, the audio transfer is very much showing its age and feeling the effects of time. There are no real issues with audio sync in the transfer.

    The original music score comes from Frank de Vol and whilst a good one, I can certainly understand why it did not win the Oscar. The film is better remembered for the songs, even though today they don't hold quite as much enchantment as they did forty years ago. Whether it was the actual audio itself or whether it is the score itself, I really have not resolved, but I found the whole thing to be just a little flat and unexciting.

    Everything that is not good about the soundtrack can probably be laid squarely at the feet of the fact that this seems to be an unrestored mono soundtrack. I am certainly not sure that it is actually mono, but the overall sound seems a tad cramped and very much out of the centre channel, coming straight at you. The lack of dynamic is noticeable, as is the at times rather obvious dubbing work - especially with some of the songs: they have a slightly different sound than the rest of the soundtrack. Whilst there is nothing really evident in the way of background hiss, there are a few instances here and there where the sound seems to drop out ever so briefly. I am quite sure this is source related, however, and not the fault of the mastering. At best functional and undistinguished, you really do wish that there was something better in the way of sound here.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Given that this is an RSDL formatted DVD and there is oodles of space on the DVD (nearly 4 GB of empty space), the extras package is fairly woeful.

Menu

    Nothing to rave over and rather dreary looking.

Theatrical Trailer (2:20)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It is well blessed with film artefacts, slightly dark in presentation, featuring obvious if light grain, quite dirty in appearance and has a general tendency towards a little softish in definition. There really is not much to commend the presentation at all.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release has been available for several years, and compared to that release the Region 4 release misses out on:

    This of course ignores the obvious language and subtitle differences. The Region 1 release is on a single sided, single layered DVD. Reviews indicate that the presentation is 2.55:1 (being an opening out of the film to its full image) although the generally authoritative Widescreen Review says that the measured aspect ratio is 2.45:1. Notwithstanding the actual ratio, the film was I believe actually shown in cinemas using a 2.35:1 ratio. However, the essential choice is between a non-16x9 enhanced image with some additional extras (the production notes apparently being excellent) and a 16x9 enhanced image. Personally I would go with the 16x9 enhanced image but understand that this is not a great looking image in either format it seems. As far as I can determine, the Region 2 release is the same as the Region 4 release. The fact that the Region 1 release has extras that are not carried over to the Region 4 release despite the space available on the disc is especially disappointing.

Summary

    Pillow Talk is an endearing film that is a very good example of the sort of sweet romantic comedy that we do not see today from Hollywood. Fans of the film and the lead actors will lap this up but in all honesty the presentation on DVD is nothing to really inspire glowing tributes. The image looks rather tired, it is terribly afflicted at times by film artefacts and the transfer is desperately crying out for some TLC on the restoration front. The film does not disappoint, the presentation on DVD surely does. A sadly wasted opportunity from Universal to bring out a definitive version of the film on DVD, especially after waiting so long for it given the Region 1 release issued over four years ago.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke
The DVD Bits - Jason F

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New anamorphic R1 release of "Pillow Talk" -

Overall | Pillow Talk (1959) | Lover Come Back (1961) | Send Me No Flowers (1964)

Lover Come Back (1961)

Lover Come Back (1961)

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Released 20-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced. Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:32)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1961
Running Time 102:30
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Delbert Mann
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Rock Hudson
Doris Day
Tony Randall
Edie Adams
Case ?
RPI Box Music Frank De Vol


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Portuguese
Dutch
Swedish
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Hebrew
Arabic
Russian
Turkish
Greek
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The middle of the three films, in chronological order, from the Doris Day Collection sees a variation on a theme. Lover Come Back is not a film I have seen often, but it certainly has always struck me as being not as snappy a film as Pillow Talk.

    Carol Templeton (Doris Day) is an advertising executive - hard working, straight as a die and ethical to a fault. Her approach is to get to know the client, and come up with a decently comprehensive campaign to aid the sales of the client's products. There is never any thought of anything but professionalism with Carol and the agency she works for. Which of course means that they often lose accounts to the agency for which Jerry Webster (Rock Hudson) works. Jerry's modus operandi is basic: sex sells and he does everything possible to use that fact. This includes getting clients boozed and womanised for the sake of landing the contract. An ad campaign is just about the furthest thing from his mind... Jerry works for an agency owned by the neurotic Peter Ramsey (Tony Randall), a rich bugger who took over the business from his father, so Jerry can pretty much do what he likes. However, after one especially galling loss of an account to the good time antics of Jerry Webster, Carol Templeton makes a complaint to the ad council - and has a disgruntled girlfriend as her star witness against Jerry. Through the miracle of sweet talk, Jerry dodges a bullet but the manure really hits the rotating device when Peter authorises the ad campaign for a product based upon some television ads Jerry had made as part of that sweet talk. The result is mayhem as the new product is spectacularly successful - albeit with one slight problem. As a result, Nobel Prize winning chemist Linus Tyler (Jack Kruschen) is engaged to do his stuff and Carol Templeton gets wind of a new ad account up for grabs - and determines to fight Jerry on his own terms. An obvious case of mistaken identity ensues...

    After you have seen Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back is hardly the most original film, for you know where this one is heading fairly quickly, and certainly typifies the sort of role that I will always associate with Doris Day (no matter how hard Meg Ryan tries). About the only nice thing you can say about the sweetness that is inherent in these Doris Day romantic comedies is that they are rarely in the same league as say the saccharine-sweet stuff that Disney produces. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing depends upon your predisposition to Disney films I guess. Mind you, this one does have something of an almost scandalous nature (for the era) that pushes the envelope for Doris Day sweetness just a tad.

    Whereas the previous Pillow Talk was blessed with a really snappy, tight screenplay, Lover Come Back is blessed with something a little looser that at times does drag just a tad - and this is the fundamental weakness of the film. Much of the Tony Randall role for instance really seems quite superfluous to the overall flow of the film and one of the jokes involving him is really pushed too long. Some judicial trimming of that role would have aided the film somewhat in my view. Certain aspects of Rock Hudson's role are also a little too hammy and he really was not that good an actor to carry it off all that well. Doris Day was as ever Doris Day and this is the sort of role that she played well. Nothing really challenging and nothing to push the persona that much. The direction of Delbert Mann was pedestrian at best and that failed to really capture whatever nuances there might have been in the script.

    Whilst I have not the seen the film often, it never has been one that I felt really took off. It just seems to float along with just enough variety to distinguish it from other films, but without really having anything to make it distinguished. Perhaps the highlight is in some of the stuff that was pretty toss off for 1961 but now has a bit more meaning (bearing in mind that Rock Hudson was gay). Again fans will rejoice that the film is now available on Region 4 DVD, but some of the rest of us will just wonder what the fuss was all about. At least the presentation is much improved over Pillow Talk.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Whilst an obviously unrestored transfer, this is a significantly better effort than Pillow Talk was blessed with.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer has a slightly soft look to it, compounded further with the soft gauze filter look every time Doris Day is in half close up. Once again I found this quite annoying and disturbing, which given that this has happened in the last two films through my player makes me wonder whether I am becoming less tolerant of this aspect of film making. Were it not for the obvious soft filter use, the transfer would certainly have otherwise been quite acceptable even given the slight softness - which I should point out is not consistent. There are times, such as in Peter Ramsey's office where the definition really is quite solid. Detail is quite good and this raises the overall impression of the transfer quite significantly. Whilst there is a consistent presence of grain throughout the transfer, it really is of a quite minor nature and most of the time does not create any problems. Clarity is much better here as a result and the whole transfer is a much better looking effort than that afforded Pillow Talk.

    The colour palette is a definite improvement with plenty of depth to the colours this time and a consistent, solid tone that is nicely saturated. Whilst the result is still not really vibrant, it is certainly a more natural looking and colourful transfer. There is just an odd hint of a touch of over saturation in reds here and there, but nothing that is really going to disturb the image. Colour bleed was not an issue. Blacks are quite well handled and skin tones very natural.

    There are no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although residual source material issues with respect of resolution in movement exist here and there. Film-to-video artefacts were pretty much confined to some aliasing, most of which is very minor stuff that barely intrudes into noticeable. Most of the aliasing is confined to the motor vehicles with 3:01 being one of the more obvious examples. The transfer is somewhat cleaner than the previous and film artefacts are not so much of an issue, although still there obviously. Mostly of the dirt specks nature, there is an obvious white spot in the opening credits at 2:02 presumably from a loss of emulsion and a rather obvious example of film damage at 87:43 on the right hand side of the picture.

    This is an RSDL formatted DVD, but as usual I cannot detect where the layer change is located.

    There is the same plethora of subtitle options on the DVD as there were on Pillow Talk, with me once again sticking to the only language that makes any sense to me in subtitle terms: English. The presentation is again fairly annoying - the font is the same poor one seen on Pillow Talk and even more intrudes into the film. Whilst they are slightly more accurate on this occasion, they still seem to chop and change the dialogue a bit too much for my liking.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are four soundtracks on the DVD, with the Spanish soundtrack found on Pillow Talk disappearing. This seems to be an odd decision given the vast amount of space available on the DVD. We are left with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a German Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. As usual, I stubbornly stuck with the English soundtrack.

    A better sounding effort in most respects here, and everything is heard and understood easily enough. This time there also appears to be no lapses in the soundtrack itself either, the consistency also aiding the overall presentation. There are no real issues with audio sync in the transfer.

    The original music score again comes from Frank de Vol and it really is nothing much to write home about. This time there are even fewer songs too. Just like Pillow Talk, the overall effect remains rather flat and unexciting.

    In line with the general improvement of the transfer in comparison to the earlier Pillow Talk, there really is little to say about this effort. Functional, adequate, strongly centre channel sound that does all it needs to do to present the dialogue of the film. Whilst still not a really open sounding effort, it is by no means cramped. Perhaps a bit more definition might have helped, especially during the soft song contribution during the scene in Carol Templeton's apartment. The sound is quite clean with little evidence of background hiss or any noticeable blemishes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Once again we have an RSDL formatted DVD that has a truckload of unused space, and once again there has been little effort spent in putting together an extras package.

Menu

    Nothing to rave over and rather dreary looking, although having commonality with that given to Pillow Talk.

Theatrical Trailer (2:32)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Whilst being rather soft in definition at times (the curse of the soft gauze filter), it does have rather decent colour and is relatively clean in comparison to the equivalent trailer on Pillow Talk. The sound, however, does go a little wonky towards the end of the trailer, but otherwise is not too bad an effort even if somewhat dated (like the film in general).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    After much searching, I have not been able to find any reference to the film being available in Region 1 or Region 2 (or Region 3 if it comes to that).

Summary

    Lover Come Back is a rather clichéd variation on a theme that has a lot of similarity in story to Pillow Talk. Unfortunately, the similarities do not extend to as good a story or as good a collection of performances. In terms of the DVD however, the presentation is an improvement transfer-wise if not extras-wise. Strictly for fans only in my view, but again a sadly wasted opportunity to really make something special out of the collection within which you will find this film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke

Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Pillow Talk (1959) | Lover Come Back (1961) | Send Me No Flowers (1964)

Send Me No Flowers (1964)

Send Me No Flowers (1964)

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Released 20-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:00)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1964
Running Time 95:40
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Norman Jewison
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Rock Hudson
Doris Day
Tony Randall
Clint Walker
Case ?
RPI Box Music Frank De Vol


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Portuguese
Dutch
Swedish
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Hebrew
Arabic
Russian
Turkish
Greek
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The last of the three films, in chronological order, from the Doris Day Collection is the most atypical film of the three. Send Me No Flowers is possibly the film that I have seen the most often of the three making up the collection, and to me is the strongest of the three films - notwithstanding the fact that Pillow Talk garnered the more awards. The reason that the film is noteworthy enough to be the strongest is simple - it is the one where we don't have to endure the blatantly obvious girl hates boy, boy meets girl, boy gets girl routine. It is also the one film of the three where Doris Day, and her trademark sweetness, is not the whole focal point of the film.

    George Kimball (Rock Hudson) works for an electrical engineering firm, but that is completely irrelevant to the film. What is relevant is that he is a chronic hypochondriac. So when his latest ailment results in a pain in the chest, the sympathy he gets from his wife Judy Kimball (Doris Day) is not exactly high. Despite having had a previous full medical examination a couple of weeks ago, George heads off to his doctor for another. Of course, his poor suffering doctor knows darn well there is nothing wrong with George but a spot of indigestion and so gives him the usual placebo to shut him up. However, George manages to overhear a conversation between his doctor and a leading cardiologist regarding another patient and thinks that they are talking about him. Of course, the news is not great and George thinks he is doomed with only weeks to live. On the train home that evening he confesses to his best friend, and next door neighbour, Arnold Nash (Tony Randall) about his impending doom, which completely devastates Arnie. Aside from getting rotten drunk on the train - an American institution that probably has long since died - Arnie's contribution to the impending event provides the comic relief for the story. George, however, is a more practical man and starts contemplating suitable bachelors to whom Judy can be married after his death, and after the time deemed suitable by her bridge club! His worries in that regard may all be resolved by the return of an old college sweetheart of Judy, Bert Power (Clint Walker), who has it all - looks, money, err... Anyway, George starts forcing Judy and Bert together, which might not be the wisest thing under the sun, especially when he is caught in a compromised situation with another not-so-near neighbour.

    When you see who wrote the screenplay, you can guess that it will be a good one - Julius J. Epstein. That is exactly what we get and whilst not quite as tight as the story afforded Pillow Talk, it certainly is much tighter than that for Lover Come Back. Whilst the dialogue is not always so snappy, the pacing of the story is almost spot on, and with what now seems to be some rather sly digs at American society of the period, the result is a rather enjoyable romp. With the focus more on Rock Hudson, the sweetness factor is down and as a result Doris Day is also a bit more bearable than usual. Whilst Rock Hudson still has a tendency to hammy performance rather than actual acting, his limitations this time suit the role very well indeed. However, Tony Randall carries this one off with aplomb and is the arguable highlight of the film. With the assured direction of Norman Jewison pulling the strings, the whole film holds up much better than say Lover Come Back over the course of the past forty years.

    Of the three films making up the Doris Day Collection, this is by far and away the one I enjoy the most. Simple, good screenplay, minimal doses of Doris Day sweetness and decent performances across the board are all ingredients that go into making this an enjoyable film. It has aged a little nowadays but it still ranks amongst the best stuff that Doris Day ever did. People who have done the back lot visit at Universal Studios in Hollywood might well recognise some of the settings used in the film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Whilst this is again an unrestored transfer, the quality improvement seen in Lover Come Back continues - although this is hardly surprising as it is three years younger than that film.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The one immediately noticeable aspect of this transfer is that the soft gauze filter has finally been thrown out! As a result the transfer is much more consistent, with very decent sharpness and detail throughout. This is readily apparent when you freeze frame the film during playback - everything is much sharper than in the previous two films. There still remains a consistent light grain throughout the transfer but aside from early on in the film where it is quite noticeable against the light, pastel coloured walls it really is not that noticeable. The transfer is slightly clearer than the previous film and this certainly is the best looking of the three films making up the Doris Day Collection.

    The colours here really are very nicely handled, with a degree of vibrancy to them that has been absent in the earlier two films. Whilst there are less flashy colours here, the palette has a much stronger degree of saturation and tone, with the result that this is a really natural looking transfer in all respects. The only possible issue I could come up with is the fact that colours of the interior shots are just noticeably less glossy than the exterior shots. There is no indication of over saturation or colour bleed in the transfer. Just on the odd occasion, I did wish for a bit more oomph to the blacks, but otherwise there are no real complaints here. It should be noted that for about six minutes around the 50:00 minute mark onwards, there is a whitish tinge to the colours which may be the result of some lighting flare.

    There are no obvious MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts are restricted to some minor aliasing (most noticeably in the pathway at 40:13) and shimmer. There is some minor posterisation in Rock Hudson's face around 2:49 but this is not that big a deal. The biggest problem with film artefacts in the transfer is the rather obvious reel change markings in the top right corner of the frame at 19:08, 37:30, 57:31 and 76:26. It is a pity that a slightly more original source could not have been used for the mastering, for otherwise the transfer is blessed with only minor specks.

    This is an RSDL formatted DVD, but once again (and despite an eagle eye) I cannot detect where the layer change is located.

    The same subtitle options are available on this DVD as for the previous two films from the collection. Of course I failed to vary the ones I checked out and pretty much in all respects they are the same as those on the earlier two DVDs. The only comments to add are that there is the odd spelling error (63:00: "You've kidding" instead of "You're kidding") and the dialogue deletion here is a bit more obvious and extensive at times.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The missing Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack from Lover Come Back makes a reappearance here, bringing the total number of soundtracks on this DVD back to five: an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a German Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and the Spanish effort. Not that it makes the slightest bit of difference to the soundtrack that I checked out of course - the English one.

    This is another decent soundtrack in most respects, and you will have no problems hearing and understanding everything here. There are no indications of any audio sync issues with the transfer.

    The original music score again comes from Frank de Vol, although this time he is credited simply as de Vol. Must be delusions of grandeur or something. Aside from the title song sung by Doris Day, which frankly is garbage notwithstanding the source of the song, this is another uninspiring effort overall, with little to pass comment upon. Which of course means that it must be doing its job fairly well!

    This is a surprisingly much improved sounding effort, and there is actually some presence to the soundtrack that has been absent from the earlier two films. Indeed, there was almost some indication of bass in the sound, even though it remains strictly 2.0 stereo. This is a much smoother sounding effort, with less straight centre channel bias than previously. Clean and clear, definition is quite good and there is little evidence at all of any background blemishes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Don't get me started on another completely underwhelming misuse of the DVD format...

Menu

    The same presentation as the other two films in the collection.

Theatrical Trailer (2:00)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Aside from a slightly hissy sound, and a few film artefacts floating around, this is actually pretty good quality throughout. Definition is good, contrast generally good and colour good too.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Whilst there are no definitive reviews of the Region 1 release that I would like to rely on, all the information I could find points to a similar content for the Region 1 release barring soundtrack and subtitle options. I would presume the Region 2 release is the same as the Region 4.

Summary

    Send Me No Flowers is the strongest contribution to the Doris Day Collection in my view, with a good film given a good transfer. Just don't bother about the extras package, which represents another sad black mark against Universal in this regard. I remember the days when Universal DVDs were something to look forward to, with a decent bunch of production notes and bios as a minimum. Pity that we cannot get anything for this collection barring the trailers - which really are almost a defacto standard nowadays as opposed to being a real extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Friday, October 10, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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