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MIDNIGHT LACE, DEAR HEART

   

For Hicksflicks.com, Feb. 28, 2014

Two 1960s films that I have been frequently asked about over the years — as in, when are they going to be released on DVD? — have finally received their first disc showcases

The Doris Day/Rex Harrison thriller "Midnight Lace" (1960) has been released as an exclusive title on the TCM label, available at the website for the Turner Classic Movies cable channel, and the Glenn Ford/Geraldine Page offbeat romantic comedy "Dear Heart" (1964, b/w), available from the manufacture-on-demand site Warner Archive.

In "Midnight Lace," Day is an heiress newly wed to English financier Harrison and they have recently moved into his London mansion.

When Day begins receiving strange phone calls from an odd voice threatening to kill her within the month, she goes into a panic, especially as strange "accidents" begin to occur and she encounters strangers that appear menacing. After a time, however, her cries are viewed with skepticism and she begins herself to wonder if she's losing her mind.

This is a mystery whose solution isn't that difficult to figure out, and Day is required to do a lot of shrieking and crying, a bit too much, actually. But she holds her own, and Harrison, Myrna Loy and John Gavin are all fine in support. Also notable are the costumes and production design, which are colorfully lavish.

"Dear Heart" is a black-and-white quirky comedy about a womanizing greeting-card middle manager (Ford), a New Yorker who has decided to settle down and marry a wealthy small-town social climber (Angela Lansbury).

But then he meets down-to-earth, says-it-like-it-is Page, in Manhattan for a postal convention. She isn't beautiful or sophisticated but she's determined to find romance, and Ford seems a likely candidate.

The result is amusing and aggressively eccentric with a likeable cast that includes Mary Wickes, Barbara Nichols and a bevy of recognizable character actors.