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  Do Not Disturb I See England I See France
Year: 1965
Director: Ralph Levy
Stars: Doris Day, Rod Taylor, Hermione Baddeley, Sergio Fantoni, Reginald Gardiner, Maura McGiveney, Aram Katcher, Leon Askin, Lisa Pera, Michael Romanoff, Albert Carrier, Barbara Morrison, Dick Winslow, Britt Ekland, Raquel Welch
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mike Harper (Rod Taylor) has been taken by his job from America to the United Kingdom where it is hoped he will revive the fortunes of the woollen manufacturers he works for in Europe. His wife Janet (Doris Day) accompanies him and is enchanted by the foreign land and its strange customs, making a special effort to get to grips with the currency which should come in handy for the taxi drivers, but what she most wants is a nice place to live. To that end she settles on a country house in Kent, just thirty miles from Mike's place of work - but he's not as happy as she is...

Do Not Disturb was one of the movies Doris Day made at the behest of her third husband, who also happened to be her producer, Martin Melcher. He pretty much forced her into contracts with movie studios to perform in productions she simply did not want to do, not liking the quality of the scripts she was getting, but having no say in the matter because Melcher had signed on the dotted line. When he died of a heart attack three years after this effort, she discovered he had squandered her fortune without her knowledge, so it's safe to say Doris would rather have forgotten about most of her sixties movies.

Watching this one, you can well see why as the tone was consistently ridiculous, leading her character into situations where she had to act the fool as Janet's marriage heads into trouble due to her needless jealousy which affects her husband so much that he begins to get jealous as well. Based on a stage farce, rather than being laugh out loud funny most of it was pretty annoying as the misunderstandings were piled one on top of another, and the arguments Janet and Mike get into would be easily resolved if Janet were not so paranoid about what her husband was getting up to with his new secretary Claire (Maura McGiveney, an English actress perhaps best known for infamous TV flop Turn-On, so bad it was cancelled part way into its first episode).

What viewers in Britain and France were most taken by was the film's conception of life in their respective nations. It was plain to see this had never left the Hollywood studio to create London and Paris, so you had such scenes as Doris finding a fox which was being hunted in the countryside and petting it only to tell off the foxhounds for trying to get it, or Janet and Mike trying to find the local railway station but having trouble with confusing signs and ending up being halted by a group of birdwatchers seeking the "first cuckoo of spring". Paris enters into the plot halfway through because Janet is spirited away there by antiques dealer Paul Bellari (Italian smoothie Sergio Fantoni), hoping to get her own back on Mike, who she thinks is up to hanky panky with Claire.

He isn't, but Paul sees a chance for some extra-marital engagements with Janet, so we spend the rest of the movie in a Paris where even five year old children down gallons of wine, and every bar erupts with the sounds of a one man band. Doris also has the chance to play football in the street, which winds up with her booting the ball into a pair of long johns suspended above her head to dry, which should give you some idea of the sense of humour employed here, and how idiotic it was. As she gets more and more drunk (all anyone does in France is get plastered, apparently) the danger of Janet being unfaithful looms - if you'd never seen a Doris Day movie before, in which case you may feel genuine tension when she and Paul get locked in his shop together overnight. Climaxing with an only in the movies event staged with businessmen who are not allowed to take their wives along but take a young lady instead, we are treated to Janet sneaking in and dazzling the crowd by shaking her arse to get a grape out of her dress and... urgh. Sometimes it's so stupid you just have to laugh. Music by Lionel Newman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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