27 March 2006 | blanche-2
highly enjoyable suspenser
Doris Day, as an American married to an Englishman, is being terrorized in "Midnight Lace," also starring Rex Harrison, Myrna Loy, Roddy Mcdowall, and John Gavin. A scary voice speaks in the fog and calls her up on the phone - but she can't get anyone to believe her, even her beloved aunt (Loy) who wants to help but has her suspicions about her niece's mental health. The "midnight lace" is a neat title that refers to some sexy pajamas Kit (Day) buys for her Venetian trip with her husband (Harrison).
The film is based on a play, "Matilda Cried Fire" and probably owes part of its plot to "Dial M for Murder," which was also a play and made into a film by Hitchcock. John Williams is on hand in this film as in "Dial M" as a police inspector.
Unlike "Dial M for Murder," the film abounds with red herrings, so there are plenty of suspects. Roddy Mcdowall is the slimy son of Kit's housekeeper, and John Gavin is an attractive man who at one point comes to her rescue. There's also her neighbor, Peggy (Natasha Thompson). The acting is very good, the biggest and most dramatic role belonging to Day. Few people have enjoyed the variety of career that Day did. A wholesome-looking singer and vivacious actress, she was in in films from 1948. When she was in her late thirties, producer Ross Hunter took advantage of her prettiness and beautiful figure and moved her into glamor roles, making her the #1 box office star. If she's a little over the top in spots here, it's more the material than the actress, and she creates a very sympathetic and likable character. Loy, at 55, is beautiful and sexy. Harrison doesn't have a great deal to do, and Gavin is - well, Gavin, very handsome and charming. Herbert Marshall is part of the cast as well, and along with McDowall, Williams, and Thompson, make up a strong supporting cast.
This movie isn't as good as some others of the same type, but it is very enjoyable and well produced. One of those great Sunday afternoon movies.
Some trivia: A poster mentions that Harrison was distracted during the film because of the death of his wife, Kay Kendall. He was also distracted by the fact that he and Roddy McDowell had done a play together, for which McDowell had won a Tony. The elevator scene where they are all in the elevator together took a while to film so they were all stuck in a small space. McDowell said something and Harrison said, "Yes, and you can stick that Tony up your a** too."