Five years to the day after his wife Ellen disappeared in the sea after a plane crash, lawyer husband Nicholas has her declared legally dead, remarries and sets off to Monterey with new wife Bianca.
The same morning, Ellen arrives home after being rescued by the Navy from a desert island and follows to try and prevent the honeymoon developing further. Nick, still in love with Ellen, is delighted to see her but finds he still can't break the news to Bianca, while Ellen equally hasn't got round to telling the children she is their mother. Could get complicated.
Doris Day ... Ellen Wagstaff Arden
James Garner ... Nicholas Arden
Polly Bergen ... Bianca Steele
Thelma Ritter ... Grace Arden
Fred Clark ... Mr. Codd (hotel manager)
Don Knotts ... Shoe clerk
Elliott Reid ... Dr. Herman Schlick
Edgar Buchanan ... Judge Bryson
John Astin ... Clyde Prokey
Pat Harrington Jr. ... District Attorney
Eddie Quillan ... Bellboy
Max Showalter ... Hotel desk clerk
Alvy Moore ... Room service waiter
I really like this Doris Day flick. Doris does more slapstick in this feature than all her other movies put together. James Garner thinks Doris has been dead for 5 years. He is now on his honeymoon with new wife Polly Bergen and guess who shows up after being rescued off a deserted island? You got it. Doris hilariously ruins the honeymoon (this was when couples waited until the honeymoon to make love, YEAH RIGHT!) Anyway, Polly is quite frustrated not getting any action from James Garner. Several scenes are classics. especially when Doris poses as a Swedish Masseur and practically beats Polly to a pulp. The best scene of all is watching Doris drive a brand new 1963 Imperial Conv. into a car wash and then accidentally putting the top down.
Don Knotts makes a funny cameo as a randy shoe salesman and Edgar Buchanan (Petticoat Junction) is funny as a surly Court Judge. Thelma Ritter is always funny and she is up to par here. This movie was apparently re-worked for Doris Day after the death of Marilyn Monroe who was essentially filming the same movie when she died. Even the sets were basically the same. I guess 20th Century Fox needed the money after the Liz Taylor fiasco "Cleopatra" almost put them in bankruptcy. Overall, a very cute, sexy (for the era) funny movie. They don't make cute movies like this anymore. Too bad.
This is the somewhat "infamous" film that has the distinction of being Marilyn Monroe's final film (titled "Something's Got to Give"), however she doesn't appear in any scene of it whatsoever. That's because by the time this film ended up being made, she was sadly already dead. Nevertheless Doris Day, James Garner, Polly Bergen and Don Knotts step in to replace Marilyn, Dean Martin, Cyd Charisse and Wally Cox and the results are simply hysterical.
This is a classic early 1960's "Kennedy-era" screwball comedy with jokes, gags, comic pratfalls and the like. Who out there will ever be able to forget Doris Day as the scheming "Swedish Nurse" and Thelma Ritter as the up to no good meddling mother-in-law? Move Over, Darling is a film that I like to watch at least twice a year whenever I need a good laugh.
My only wish is that Rock Hudson would have teamed up with Doris yet again to reprise their earlier success of "Pillow Talk". James Garner to me always seemed a bit wooden in the role of Nicholas Arden. Both Polly Bergen and Thelma Ritter singlehandedly steal the show.
One final note: in the original "Something's Got To Give" film that Marilyn did,
I recently saw the original version of "My Favorite Wife" starring Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott and Gale Patrick. Through the years, I have collected practically all of the scenes that Marilyn Monroe filmed for the sequel, "Something's Gotta Give" with Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse and I own the last version, "Move Over, Darling" starring Doris Day, James Garner, Polly Bergen and Chuck Conners.
Quite frankly, I didn't like any of them. "Wife" is rather dated and was considered "cute" when it came out to favorable reviews. "Something" was never finished because of an inept Marilyn Monroe who proved once again that she was no professional and ended up getting fired. The script was dusted off a year later, after Marilyn's death, and Doris Day, the #1 Box Office Star in the World, stepped in and filmed "Move Over," without a hitch, and the picture became a big hit, but was met with mixed reviews.
The director, Michael Gordon, must have put a lot of pressure on his actors to "make this one funny". Doris Day had a couple of very funny scenes, despite the mostly unfunny proceedings. Her scene in the department store with Don Knotts was wonderful. Comparing Marilyn's try in the same scene with Wally Cox, which was awful, Doris was brilliant. Shown on tv, this scene is always cut for some strange reason. Boy, is it needed. She was also good in the car wash scene, proving once again that she will do anything for a laugh.
Edgar Buchanan was very funny as the absent-minded judge and Thelma Ritter was in her usual form: great. James Garner was just loud and Polly Bergen, a bit too "obvious" for my taste.
The stylist who did Doris Day's hair and wigs must have just gotten out of the insane asylum. They changed her hair, mid scene, and changed it back. Maybe they shot the scene twice with different hair and spliced them together. Anyway! So you won't go crazy if you see it, the scene is when she asks Garner, "did you tell her that you loved her?" during his honeymoon with Bergen.
Chuck Conners seemed to be having a ball, but there wasn't much to his part.
Perhaps Marilyn Monroe's version would have been alright if she had completed the film. As Tony Randall said of her, "if you were standing there watching her do a scene, you'd say 'awful, she'll never get by...but the next day when you saw the rushes, MAGIC on the screen'"! Randall had high praise for Miss Day calling her 'brilliant'. But, in "Move Over, Darling" she was just adequate.
* A re-shot version of Something's Got to Give (1962), the film Marilyn Monroe was working on when she died.
* The movie that Ellen describes to Bianca while giving her a massage is My Favorite Wife (1940), of which this is a remake.
* Doris Day proved what a trouper she truly was when James Garner accidentally broke her rib (during the massage scene, when he pulls her off of Polly Bergen). Garner wasn't even aware of what had happened until the next day, when he felt the bandage while putting his arms around her.
* 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 detergents used in the car wash might affect the star's 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.