Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 13, 2018


Doris Day and Louis Jourdan 
JULIE (1956). Written and directed by Andrew L. Stone.

Julie Benton (Doris Day) is married to her second husband, Lyle (Louis Jourdan), a famous concert pianist. However, Lyle is not only pathologically jealous, but Julie comes to realize that he may have murdered her first husband, who was supposedly a suicide. Julie seeks help from old friend Cliff Henderson (Barry Sullivan), as well as the police, but their hands are tied. She is convinced that Lyle is going to kill her as he promised ...

Doris Day and Barry Sullivan 
Julie is unusual in that the movie seems to begin in the middle of the story. More often pictures of wives with sinister husbands show the courtship, wedding, and early days of the marriage until it starts going south, but Julie gets off with a bang: our girl rushes off after Lyle has caused an off-screen scene at a gathering. This is followed by a well-done and exciting sequence in which Lyle and Julie drive off and Lyle nearly causes the car they're in to crash as it goes crazily careening down a coastal highway.

Day is in control!
The often under-rated Doris Day gives a very vivid and convincing performance as the tormented and frightened heroine, who finds herself in a terrifying position faced by many women whose husbands and boyfriends refuse to let them go and are psychopathic to boot. Jourdan may underplay too much, but he's effective enough as Lyle, and Sullivan is more than solid as the concerned Henderson. The movie's climax, in which stewardess Day winds up piloting an airliner, may seem absurd (although it actually plays out convincingly), but it's generally tense and very well acted by all. One could argue, however, that it might have been better if the wife vs psychopath scenario had played out in a more intimate manner.

Julie is well-directed by Andrew L. Stone, who keeps things moving so the audience won't ask too many questions, and Leith Stevens' [The Bigamist] score is effective backup to the proceedings. Frank Lovejoy (a cop), Ann Robinson (another stewardess on the plane), Jack Kelly ( a co-pilot) and Barney Phillips (a doctor on the flight), among others, are good in supporting parts. Aline Towne, Pamela Duncan, and Mae Marsh appear in smaller roles. Four years later Day played another terrified spouse in the equally entertaining Midnight Lace. Stone also directed the creditable Steel Trap.

Verdict: Doris in the cockpit! ***.


angelman66 said...

Doris truly was underrated as a dramatic actress. Even though this drama is overwrought, I still prefer it to the Rock Hudson-James Garner "sex comedies" or the early Warner Brothers period musicals. To me, Doris's very best is Love Me or Leave Me--just watched it again the other night.

William said...

I agree about "Love Me or Leave Me" and about those sex comedies, although one or two were funny and well-played. Doris had something going for her, that was for sure!