Movie style: Lover Come Back
Also known as: Doris Day Wears a lot of Fucking Hats.
I recently watched a great Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Tony Randall movie, Lover Come Back. The story is a classic Rock & Doris flick, sort of a rehash of Pillow Talk set in the Advertising world of the early 1960s. So it’s not a surprise that you can spot some major influences on Mad Men in the set design and costumes. Though, because it’s a Rock & Doris flick, it’s definitely way more over the top than Mad Men. First example: The pastiche of hats above.
It’s also quite a visual feast with Doris’ smart little suits and the glorious sets and architecture of early 60s New York. The costumes were designed by “Irene” who had previously done the gowns for Miss Day on her last movie, Midnight Lace. Her career abruptly stopped after Lover Come Back, so maybe the costumes weren’t seen as quite the success as I see them? Or maybe it was those hats…
One of the opening shots is of the lobby of the ad agency Doris works at. Look familiar? Matt Weiner has to have seen this movie because both Sterling Cooper and SCDP borrow heavily from this shot. Look at the lettering on the wall? And the wide open glass and metal hallways.
Also, check out her sharp suit. She’s got a tightly tailored black dress under a white backwards jacket. The impracticality of that is awesome. She can’t even take it off without help from her secretary (Alice, from The Brady Bunch!). Without that jacket, her black dress and gloves look almost dominatrix-like. Doris is a woman in charge. Sure, she is always getting horribly duped by Rock, but for her time, she was a great feminist icon.
Later, Doris runs into some floozies coming out of a potential client’s hotel room. They’ve been up all night with Rock Hudson. Doris and her puff pastry hat do not approve.
One of those floozies gets an endorsement gig where she gets married in an awesome gold lurex bathing suit. Only floozies get married in bathing suits.
Doris refuses to suffer Rock & his floozies lying down, so she takes him to the local ethics board to try to get him censured. This suit is one of my favorites. The white jacket is fully lined with the same gray flannel as her dress underneath. It has high slits up the sides so when she walks you can see both the dress and inside of the coat kick up. And I love the little bows on the dress. So simple and lovely.
As Doris meets Rock (thinking he is someone else, of course) we begin to see her wardrobe soften and include warmer (more feminine?) colors. I’m no fan of pink, but even I like this bright cheery suit with the wacky hat. Rock does too, apparently, as they spend the day together and before you know it, they’re frolicking on the beach together…
… in a semi-translucent bathing suit. Doris! I’m quite shocked. But maybe this is the effect of Rock Hudson. Hang out with him long enough and you start wearing see-through clothing. And check out this hat she puts on! Rock seems to think it was a questionable choice.
Now fully in love and delusion, Doris invites Rock up to her apartment for a romantic dinner. Doris has previously mentioned that champagne makes her behave inappropriately, so she is a teetotaler. So when we see her in this lovely champagne-colored number with a beaded over-jacket that looks like champagne bubbles – you can see where this might end.
Here, Doris contemplates that slide into champagne hell, in her glorious yellow, robin’s egg blue and Chinese red kitchen. If I ever get a mid-century modern kitchen, I think I may decorate it just like this.
In one of the final scenes, Rock is talking with his secretary and damn if this doesn’t look exactly like Don Draper and Peggy from the final scene of The Suitcase. It’s like a cleaner, less tragic version of that very same shot.