Move Over, Darling
|Move Over, Darling|
1963 Theatrical poster
|Directed by||Michael Gordon|
|Produced by||Martin Melcher
|Written by||Bella Spewack
|Music by||Lionel Newman|
|Cinematography||Daniel L. Fapp|
|Edited by||Robert L. Simpson|
Move Over, Darling is a 1963 comedy film starring Doris Day, James Garner, and Polly Bergen and directed by Michael Gordon. The picture was a remake of a 1940 screwball comedy film, My Favorite Wife, with Irene Dunne, Cary Grant and Gail Patrick. In between these movies, an unfinished version entitled Something's Got to Give began shooting in 1962, directed by George Cukor and starring Marilyn Monroe (who was fired and died soon after) and Dean Martin.
Ellen Wagstaff Arden (Doris Day), a mother of two young girls named Jenny and Didi, was believed to be lost at sea following an airplane accident. Her husband, Nick Arden (James Garner), was one of the survivors.
After five years of searching for her, he decides to move on with his life by having her declared legally dead so he can marry Bianca (Polly Bergen), all on the same day. However, Ellen is alive; she is rescued and returns home that particular day. At first crestfallen, she is relieved to discover from her mother-in-law Grace (Thelma Ritter) that her (ex-) husband's honeymoon has not started yet.
When Nick is confronted by Ellen, he eventually clears things up with Bianca, but he then learns that the entire time Ellen was stranded on the island she was there with another man, the handsome, athletic Stephen Burkett (Chuck Connors) - and that they called each other "Adam" and "Eve."
Nick's mother has him arrested for bigamy and all parties appear before the same judge that married Nick and Bianca earlier that day. Bianca and Ellen request divorces before the judge sends them all away. Bianca leaves Nick, while Ellen storms out, still married to Nick, declared alive again. Ellen returns to Nick's house unsure if her children will recognize her. Her children welcome her home, and so does Nick.
- Doris Day as Ellen Wagstaff Arden
- James Garner as Nick Arden
- Polly Bergen as Bianca Steele Arden
- Thelma Ritter as Grace Arden
- Fred Clark as Mr. Codd
- Don Knotts as Shoe Clerk
- Chuck Connors as Adam
- Edgar Buchanan as Judge Bryson
- John Astin as Clyde Prokey
- Pat Harrington, Jr. as District Attorney
- Max Showalter as Hotel Desk Clerk
The film's script was written by Hal Kanter and Jack Sher, reworking an earlier script written by Arnold Schulman, Nunnally Johnson and Walter Bernstein, which was an update of the 1940 My Favorite Wife by Leo McCarey and Bella & Sam Spewack (The 1940 film is referenced by Ellen while she is giving Bianca a massage). The story is a comedic update of the 1864 poem "Enoch Arden" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, hence the lead character's last name. This was the seventh film version based on the Lord Tennyson poem.
The film was originally to be a comeback vehicle for Marilyn Monroe, under the working title of Something's Got to Give. Dean Martin was cast as Nick Arden after the initial choice James Garner was committed to doing The Great Escape and the director was George Cukor. Marilyn Monroe was fired early in its production cycle for often not showing up for shooting, ultimately appearing in only about 30 minutes of usable film. At first, they tried to continue with Lee Remick in Monroe's place, but Martin balked at working with anyone else. Monroe was re-hired but died before she could resume filming, and that version was never completed. Unable to complete the movie, and having already sunk a considerable amount of money into the production and sets, 20th Century Fox went ahead with the project, albeit with a new title, new director Michael Gordon, and a new cast (with the exception of Thelma Ritter, who was also cast as Grace Arden in the Cukor version).
James Garner accidentally broke Day's rib during the massage scene when he pulls her off of Bergen. He wasn't aware of what had happened until the next day, when he felt the bandage while putting his arms around Day.
The film utilizes some of the interiors and stage-built "exteriors" from the original Cukor production for the Arden home, which were based on Cukor's actual Beverly Hills home at 9166 Cordell Drive. However, the on-location exteriors for the Arden home for the Gordon production were filmed about three miles west at 377 South Mapleton Drive in Holmby Hills. The original neoclassical house seen in the film has since been replaced by an enormous Italianate structure.
The producers scheduled the scene with Doris Day riding through a car wash for the last day of shooting because they were concerned that the chemicals in the detergents might affect her complexion. When the scene went off without a hitch, they admitted their ploy to Day, then used the story in promotional materials for the film.
The movie grossed $12,705,882 in the United States, becoming one of the biggest hits of the year and helping to keep 20th Century Fox afloat after Cleopatra. It earned $6 million in US theatrical rentals.
- "Move Over, Darling" – Music and lyrics by Joe Lubin, Hal Kanter and Terry Melcher (Day's son) arranged by Jack Nitzsche. Sung by Doris Day and chorus (featuring ace West Coast session singers the Blossoms, featuring Darlene Love, Fanita James, and Jean King). during the opening credits and played as background music at the end. Reached #8 in the British singles chart in 1964 for Day and in 1983 for Tracey Ullman.
- "Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)" from Lohengrin (1850) – Written by Richard Wagner. Played when Nick and Bianca arrive at their honeymoon hotel
- "Beautiful Dreamer" – Music and lyrics by Stephen Foster. Played as background music during the memorial service for Ellen
- "Twinkle Lullaby" – Music and lyrics by Joe Lubin. Sung by Ellen (Doris Day) to her children.
- Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p253
- Box Office Information for Move Over, Darling. The Numbers. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
- Garner, James & Winokur, Jon The Garner Files: A Memoir Simon & Schuster; (November 1, 2011)
- Solomon p 229. Please note figures are rentals.
- James Garner Interview on the Charlie Rose Show
- James Garner interview at Archive of American Television
- Move Over, Darling at the Internet Movie Database