Remembering Doris Day With Five Of Her Best Movies

William P. GottliebWikimedia Commons

Doris Day died at 97 on Monday.

Like many performers of her time, Day wasn’t limited to one talent. Having gotten her start as a big band singer, within a decade she was making the transition to the silver screen. However, despite her decades-long career as a film actress, she continued to stick to her roots, maintaining two concurrent careers as one of the most popular singers of her time as well as one of the most-recognizable Hollywood leading ladies of her generation.

In honor of the Hollywood legend’s lengthy film career, here is a look at her top five movies.

Pillow Talk (1959)

A decade after her first major motion picture, Day was, for the first and only time, recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for her role in this picture.

In it, Day stars as interior decorator Jan Morrow, who falls for the wacky schemes of womanizing Brad Allen (Rock Hudson), then later finds herself caught up in a love triangle once another man, Jonathan Forbes (Tony Randall), enters the picture.

The film was a critical hit, winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and earning Day her one and only Academy Award nomination. Though nominated for Best Actress, she didn’t win.

the poster for the 1959 film pillow talk
Featured image credit: Universal International PicturesWikimedia Commons

Calamity Jane (1953)

Hollywood has, for decades, relied on true stories for fodder for its films. And just as often, the industry takes vast liberties with the truth.

In Calamity Jane, Day played the titular character, who was a real wild west figure actually named Martha Jane Canary. The film, however, played up the supposed romance between Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok (in reality, they barely knew each other). The movie also glossed over some of the more complicated aspects of Jane’s life.

Move Over, Darling (1963)

With all the remakes, reboots, and re-imagining going on in the movie industry these days, you’d think that looking to old movies for material is a new thing. It’s not. Even in the ’60s (and indeed, for decades before), the movie industry recycled old material.

In this case, it’s a remake of a 1940 screwball comedy My Favorite Wife. Day plays Ellen Wagstaff Arden, a woman who had been missing for years after having gotten lost at sea, and suddenly re-emerges on the day her husband is set to marry another woman. Wacky hijinks ensue.

the poster for 1963's move over darling
Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Lover Come Back (1961)

This was Day’s second romantic comedy in which she starred alongside Rock Hudson (the first being Pillow Talk). In this 1961 romp, Day finds herself caught up in a web of lies and mistaken identity.

Love Me Or Leave Me (1955)

Unlike the rest of the movies on this list, which are comedies, this is a rare dramatic entry for Day. In it, she plays a woman (Ruth Etting) whose career track in a way that mirrors her own: coming from the music industry to make a name for herself in films.

The film is loosely based on Etting’s real life and focused on Etting’s marriage to a gangster.