Thursday, October 22, 2015

Midnight Lace (1960)

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“Practical jokers have particular talents. Not commendable, but highly special.”

            I do not like films that have to deal with stalkers and someone being psychologically tortured by a stalker. And then of course no one ever believes the person who is being stalked they usually think the person is imagining everything and just going barmy. I hate those kinds of stories to absolutely no end. I do not mind films that are intense but this kind of tension with a stalker and someone being driven to insanity I just do not like. I had no idea that Midnight Lace dealt with a young woman being stalked and driven mad, all I knew about it is that Myrna Loy was in it and if that woman is in a film I have to see it!
            Kit Preston (Doris Day) was walking home from in incredibly thick fog when she hears someone call out to her from behind a statue. The voice is comical yet menacing. It tells her that she does not have long to live. Kit is well frightened but when she gets home her husband Anthony (Rex Harrison) calms her down and the moment is taken out of her mind.
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            Unfortunately, the voice comes back and tortures Kit mercilessly. It calls her house constantly to tell her she does not have long to live and other things. Anthony takes her to the police station to speak to a detective. The detective thinks that Kit is just trying to get Anthony’s attention since he is never really home.
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            Kit tries desperately for someone to believe her and tell Anthony that they too heard the voice. Her aunt Bea (Myrna Loy) comes into town. For a while Kit is very happy and does not really tell Bea what is going on. Kit has a complete meltdown in front of Anthony and Bea when Bea picks up the phone and the caller just says he was getting back to Kit. Bea knows that Kit is not making this stuff up but Anthony seems like he is taking the side of the detective.
            There are plenty of other players in this mystery of who is stalking Kit and you will not know how the major players are until the very end.
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            As I said I watched Midnight Lace for Myrna Loy. I adore this woman so much I will sit through anything she is in, including a Doris Day film. I am not a massive fan of Doris Day there is something about her I cannot get into so there was no way I would have seen this film had Loy not been in it. Of course Loy steals the whole film in my opinion. She was as just as sharp and witty as she was in her most well-known films in the thirties and forties. And I have to say Loy’s red hair and amazingly light blue eyes were a joy to see in color she was so stunning.
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            Producer Ross Hunter wanted to work with Myrna Loy. He produced Pillow Talk with Doris Day and Rock Hudson. In Loy’s fantastic autobiography Being and Becoming, Hunter is quoted as saying about Loy:
I had always wanted to work with Myrna, and the part of Doris Day’s worldly aunt in Midnight Lace made it possible. I’ve never worked with anybody who gave so much to a role. She made a good role excellent. And she always looked great… Myrna cares- that’s why she’s a star. It’s rare in this town that a star remains a star so long. She’s a dependable friend, too, which is even rarer.
When Day has exhausted herself from filming Kit’s breakdown scene and had to be sent home Hunter explained, “We would’ve lost a day’s shooting if Myrna hadn’t stepped in unflustered to do an unscheduled scene in one take. She was ready. That’s a star!”
Loy herself said she enjoyed working on the film. At this point in her career she was fifty-five and no longer considered a real leading lady. She said she had spent so long and worked so hard to become a leading lady and at this time she had to learn to step aside. In my opinion, whatever Loy was in, either as a leading lady or a side character, she was always the main attraction. Her sharp wit immediately takes the cake as soon as she starts talking to Day in this film.
Rex Harrison I am not a real huge fan of either. He does not bother but he does not entertain me. He is just kind of there.

Midnight Lace was alright. It took me some time to get through it because I got bored. Plus, I knew who the real stalker was and what the deal was almost as soon as one of the characters was introduced. As I said, I am not a fan of stalker story lines and I am also not a big fan of Doris Day’s so I kind of ignored some of the scenes. Despite my dislike of the story line and the leading actress Midnight Lace is worth watching at least once, especially for Myrna Loy in color. 
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