Doris Day sacrificed a lot for box-office success. But that doesn’t mean she was a victim.
The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door
by David Kaufman
$29.95 List Price
A film professor I had in college, a hard-core Jesuit who swore by Doris Day, had convinced himself that she was the greatest actress in Hollywood history. The reasoning went something like this: She 1) was conversant in all genres, 2) was an accomplished actress, singer, and dancer, and 3) projected a complex persona that was demure but with an undercurrent of feline menace. It annoyed me to no end. For any young and precious cineast, Day was not a subject for serious inquiry, as were, say, the Nouvelle Vague and Buster Keaton. But everyone who took that class—the History of Musicals—knew that, once we savored Astaire, Kelly, and Richard Rogers, we would have to endure a few hours of proselytizing for Day, along with a screening of what is arguably her best film, the Ruth Etting biopic Love Me or Leave Me.
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