For, Friday, April 10, 2015

It’s a birthday month for that ever-youthful freckle-faced singing star of two decades of memorable movies, Doris Day.

Depending on your source, Day turned either 91 or 93 on April 3, and to celebrate her odd-numbered birthday, both Universal Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video have released “Essential” DVD sets this week.


Both sets carry the same title: “Doris Day: The Essential Collection.”

And if you’re a Day fan, I guess they are. (But it may be a problem for those placing orders for one or the other over the phone.)

As you might expect, both sets are also made up of previously released titles. (Of course, at this point only one of Day’s films has never been on DVD, her penultimate picture, “Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?”)


                Doris Day, Rock Hudson, 'Pillow Talk'

The Universal collection features Day in the middle period of her 20-year film career, leading with her three classic comedies with Rock Hudson and Tony Randall, “Pillow Talk” (1959), “Lover Come Back” (1961) and “Send Me No Flowers” (1964). Also here is Carl Reiner’s spoof of TV, “The Thrill of It All!” (1963, with James Garner), and two thrillers, “Midnight Lace” (1960, Rex Harrison) and Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956, James Stewart).

Warner’s is more than twice as big and concentrates mostly on musicals, with no less than 15 titles, ranging from some of her earliest films in the 1940s (“Romance on the High Seas,” “My Dream Is Yours,” “It’s a Great Feeling”) to the 1950s hits (“Tea for Two,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “On Moonlight Bay,” “April in Paris,” “By the Light of the Silvery Moon,” “Calamity Jane,” “Lucky Me,” “Love Me or Leave Me,” “The Pajama Game”) to three from the 1960s (“Please Don’t Eat the Daisies,” “Billy Rose’s Jumbo,” “The Glass Bottom Boat”).

Day was a top box office star for much of her career, and when she quit, she quit of her own volition in the late 1960s because the scripts she was receiving weren’t up to snuff and she wanted to go out while she was still a star. And that’s just what she did.

After that, she had a couple of TV shows and appeared on a few others, but she’s spent most of her time as an animal activist.

Day’s fans, however, will always think of her in connection with the films they love, many of which are included in these new DVD sets.