Lover Come Back, 1961, Universal Pictures. Starring Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall. Directed by Delbert Mann. Technicolor, 107 minutes.
Hard-working advertising executive Carol Templeton (Doris Day) has met her nemesis in laid-back advertising executive Jerry Webster (Rock Hudson). Jerry is a womanizer who believes a curvaceous young lady can sell anything—making his job fairly easy. For Carol, it’s a little more complex. Wine, women and song are no way to land an account in her mind, and she’s tired of losing out to a man who thinks—and acts—differently.
That’s not to say Jerry is without his problems. One is Rebel Davis (Edie Adams), a local showgirl looking to make it big. She’s been relying on Jerry for her break into show business, namely television, and is disillusioned when she finds out just how empty his promises are.
To keep her in line, Jerry swears he’s got the perfect product for her particular talents–Vip. He makes her the “Vip Girl” and shoots a series of provocative TV ads. What no one knows, however, is there’s no such thing as Vip. When his boss, Peter Ramsey (Tony Randall) unwittingly airs the ads in a saturation campaign, he puts Jerry and the Ramsey & Son advertising agency at serious risk.
Jerry is thrown into a wild scramble to create Vip, whatever it may be, and now Carol is prepared to beat him to the punch and obtain the Vip account. Throw in some mistaken identity and a budding romance, and you’ve got what makes Lover Come Back tick.
Hudson later recalled that working on the film was “like a picnic” with the two stars frequently bursting into laughter. At one point, while filming the beach scene, one of the crew members noticed that Hudson’s bathing suit wasn’t quite covering all of him. “No one laughed harder than Doris,” Hudson said.
The New York Times film critic wrote, “Pillow Talk was but a warm-up for this springy and spirited surprise, which is one of the brightest, most delightful satiric comedies since It Happened One Night.” Despite this strong review, only one among many, Lover Come Back was nominated for only one Oscar, Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen. Tony Randall also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Considered by many the best of the three Doris Day-Rock Hudson films, Lover Come Back is fresh, sexy and funny, a perfect blend for a romantic comedy. Well worth the watch for classic movie fans.