That Touch of Mink


1962
Directed by Delbert Mann
Written by Stanley Shapiro and Nate Monaster

A romantic comedy starring Cary Grant and Doris Day, about a wealthy businessman's amusingly problematic involvement with a straight-forward country girl and her three soy-eating lesbian monkeys. Okay, just the girl. The following is a strangely exhaustive run-through.

Day is Cathy Timberlake, a sweet, um, Doris Day-type girl from Upper Sandusky, daughter of a schoolteacher and druggist. She works a "computing machine," and you see in the movie that it's UNIVAC. It seems that she's a punch card operator, because she mentioned memorizing code numbers for different cities, so, say, if there were a finite number of cities, she could either keep a list of the 2- or 3-digit codes, e.g., 011, or memorize them. Anyway, at the beginning of the movie, Cathy gets splashed with mud from a passing Rolls-Royce while on her way to a job interview.

Cathy drowns her troubles at the automat with some free food, courtesy of her roommate Connie (the great Audrey Meadows). She's a firecracker, though, and gets her chance to vent when a man (Roger) approaches Cathy on behalf of the Rolls owner to offer her money and gets an earful: not only would she refuse the owner's money, but she'd like to throw it in his face, in person. Roger the factotum is ecstatic by this display of ethical vitriol and drags Cathy by the arm out of the automat to meet his boss.

Roger's boss is Philip Shayne (Grant), "a forceful, dynamic man, used to getting his own way." As soon as Cathy sees him, she swoons, as any sentient being would, and totally forgets her threats of giving him paper cuts with his own money. Shayne asks her on a date and she waits at home staring at the phone, willing it to ring. Not good. But eventually he calls and we hear some snappy repartee with a split screen. From there it's a whirlwind of activity for our dubious heroine as Shayne arranges a chic Bergdorf Goodman fashion show just for her. She picks out some things to wear to their upcoming jaunt to Bermuda. Actually, she goes before Shayne, on a Pan American plane, on which she is the only passenger. The one stewardess (as they were called then) tells her "Mr. Shayne bought every seat."

By the way, Doris Day and Cary Grant have no chemistry, as far as I'm concerned. Moving on.

So, in Bermuda, a dazzled Cathy is wearing a beige suit with a white bow the size of a middle-aged cat by her throat. She also becomes paranoid: when she sees the bed with Shayne in the room, she filters everything he says as direct come-ons, when the viewer sees that Shayne is talking about something else; she also imagines a pool raft, horse carriage and elevator as that bed, with them on it. In her fear, she tries to turn him off: "There's something you should know about me. My uncle's a socialist." Shayne replies, "I appreciate you telling me. But what what we have transcends all politics."

That night, Cathy is so nervous that she gets a rash on her face and ends up isolating herself in the bedroom, spots of white cream all over her face. She tells Shayne how awful she feels, that she knows how much he must have spent on the trip. Shayne goes down to the pool and sits by a man playing cards. They talk about women: Shayne lauds Cathy's "purity, virtue, honor - all the things that drive a man to drink." The man mentions how he beats his wife and how much he and Shayne have in common. "Yes, we could pass for brothers," says a droll Shayne. Later, Shayne complains to Roger that he flew 800 miles to a tropical paradise and "spent half the night playing gin rummy with a bookie from Detroit."

Cathy, in the meantime, wants Shayne to "remember (her) as a woman," decides to go back to Bermuda, and calls Shayne from there. Shayne is at a restaurant with a gorgeous Italian lady named Isabella, who has a great attitude toward interpersonal affairs. I find it hard to believe that Grant's character would leave this creature out of La Dolce Vita to be with Cathy and her...hair. They should have ended the movie right then, but Shayne goes to Bermuda. In her infinite wisdom, Cathy drinks a bottle of Scotch, and Shayne finds her almost passed out on the bed, the empty bottle on her right big toe, and dressed like Peter Pan. Hot!! He props her up by the balcony, calls room service, and orders "as much hot coffee as you can carry. I need a chaser for a fifth of Scotch." (wha- ??)

Any reasonable person in Cathy's place would have arranged a new identity and found work as a little league hockey mascot somewhere in central Canada, but Cathy sends Shayne a statement and a money order for $3, to be paid each week until she reimburses him for his Bermuda expenses. Shayne says that there is "war, famine, death, pestilence, and Miss Timberlake." He tells Roger to find her a husband - "a simple, dull, unimaginative man." Roger advises Cathy to date a total loser in order to make Shayne angry. And she does.

Her date - a clerk at the unemployment office - tells her that they could have a tv dinner at his apartment. On their date, he picks her up in a 'Phil's Poultry Market' truck, which belongs to his brother-in-law. On the way back home he needs to make a delivery in Hoboken. In the truck he hands her a bottle of Muscatel, "for the lady's pleasure," and says that there are paper cups in the glove compartment. Swank.

Shayne tells Roger he should be grateful to the man for taking Cathy off his hands, but follows her on her date. When they stop at Al's Motel, Shayne walks up to her at a phone booth, and basically proposes. He carries her off on his shoulder as she says "We can't get married. I'm inhibited and unstable." Later Shayne says that he meets this girl and "five days later he's wandering the streets of New York in a bath towel and riding in a truck with chickens."

I've left out an entire subplot concerning Roger and a head shrinker, but why don't you just rent it or check TCM. Most importantly, it has Cary Grant, but it's also quite funny. Audiences at the time expected Doris Day to be paired with Rock Hudson; Cary Grant was a surprise. But it was a smash hit. And how can you lose with Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Maris in a brief scene involving Cathy yelling at the umpire of a baseball game?

Awards

  • 1963: Golden Globe (won) for Best Motion Picture - Comedy
  • 1963: Oscar (nomination) for Best Art Direction, Best Sound, Best Writing, Story and Screenplay
  • 1963: Golden Laurel (won) for Top Comedy, Top Female Comedy Performance (Day), Top Male Comedy Performance (Grant) and Top Male Supporting Performance (Young)
  • 1963: WGA Screen Award (won) for Best Written American Comedy

Main Cast

Gig Young
Roger

Audrey Meadows
Connie

Alan Hewitt
Doctor Gruber

John Astin
Mr. Everett Beasley

Dick Sargent
Young Man (Harry Clark)

Mickey Mantle
Himself

Roger Maris
Himself

Yogi Berra
Himself

Cast and Award info from imdb.com

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