Tonight: Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall in the 1961 romantic comedy Lover Come Back—not to be confused with the 1946 comedy of the same name, also made at Universal, starring Lucille Ball and George Brent.
Actually, the title is misleading insofar as that the Doris Day-Rock Hudson version doesn’t reflect the title at all. They weren’t lovers as the title suggests. But it was a good title, so they used it.
In 1960, 1961 and 1962, Day was the #1 box-office attraction in the world and Rock Hudson was #2 box-office attraction.
She was 37 years old in 1961; he was 33.
She was 5-feet, five-inches tall; he was 6-feet, 4-inches tall.
She liked black guys; he preferred white guys.
Each was an Oscar-nominated performer.
Together, they made what Ephraim Katz referred to as “pseudo-sophisticated bedroom farces,” each of which suggested a kind of “sophomoric sexuality.”
Day was forever the virginal heroine, pure to the end, pursued by her would-be seducer.
Oscar Levant quipped, at the time, “I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.”
Of the three Day-Hudson ribald comedies, this one, their second together, was the best. Pillow Talk was their initial effort and supporting actor, Tony Randall, was so good in it that he was back in the cast for this reteaming.
Universal released Lover Come Back on December 20, 1961.
Ad lines included: “A riotous new twist in the art of gentle persuasion.” And “Those Pillow Talk playmates are at it again.”
The cast included many who would shine in their own TV series in the future, and one big movie star in his final film—Jack Oakie.
June Wilkinson can be seen as a stripper on a standee.
Edie Adams was the wife of comic Ernie Kovacs in real life.
And any film with character actors like Billy Benedict and Emerson Treacy cannot be without interest.
The domestic film rental was $8.5 million—a big hit!
The writing team of Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning received an Oscar nomination for their effort. Randall was nominated for a Golden Globe.
The New York Times hailed Lover Come Back as “the funniest picture of the year.”
The Washington Post insisted, “Blonde Doris has never been more attractive or spirited, and Hudson has become an adept farceur.”
Variety declared, “This is a funny, most-of-the-time engaging, smartly produced show. The farce has Rock Hudson as would-be conqueror of Doris Day, who as the victim of a who’s-who deception, plays brinkmanship with surrender.”
Ross Hunter, who produced Pillow Talk and several other Day vehicles, said, “No one realized that under those dirndls lurked one of the hottest asses in Hollywood.”
Her comment: “When I’m in love, I want to make love with that man all the time.”
Yes, sir, America’s virgin! La-dee-da! La-dee-da!”
So now, from 1961, Lover Come Back!