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MOVE OVER DARLING
DVD region 2. Second Sight.

Move Over DarlingThis 1963 remake of My Favorite Wife had a troubled beginning – originally starting life as Something’s Got to Give, the film was halted when star Marilyn Monroe was first fired for not showing up on set several times, and eventually abandoned when the rehired Monroe died, and co-star Dean Martin declined to continue with anyone else. But, having invested plenty of money in the project, 20th century Fox were reluctant to give up entirely, and so the project was retooled as a project for Doris Day – downplaying the more sexual elements of the story, and co-starring her for the second time with James Garner.

The is probably the best known of Day’s films that didn’t co-star Rock Hudson, and rightly so – it’s a sharp, witty comedy that might seem dated today in terms of sexual attitudes, but still works as a smart little movie, complete with a classic title song.

Move Over darlingDay plays Ellen Wagstaff Arden, who is presumed dead after being lost at sea. In reality, she has been stranded on a desert island, and after five years is rescued and returned home, only to find that her husband Nick (Garner) has had her declared dead and remarried that morning. Realising that she has to stop him consummating his marriage to Bianca (Polly Bergen), she follows him to the honeymoon hotel, where Nick finds himself with two wives – and unable to bring himself to tell his new bride that their marriage isn’t legal after all. To complicate things further, he discovers that Ellen wasn’t along on the island – she shared her time there with muscular Stephen Burkett (Chuck Connors), with the couple affectionately calling each other ‘Adam and Eve’…

While not exactly at the cutting edge of Sixties changing mores, Move Over Darling benefits tremendously from some snappy dialogue and appealing leads – Garner excels as the put-upon accidental bigamist, and Day is suitably wholesome and feisty (it’s intriguing to think how the film would’ve turned out with Monroe and Martin, both rather more wordly!). At times, the story plays like a sophisticated bedroom farce, and isn’t about moments of slapstick, not least of all in the unlikely car chase that ends the film.

If you are a fan of Fifties and Sixties sex comedies – and who isn’t? – then you probably don’t need my recommendation to pick this up. If you are unfamiliar with the genre though, this is a good place to start.

DAVID FLINT

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