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Move Over Darling

Move Over Darling

By Patrick Samuel • March 18th, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 3/5
20th Century Fox/Second Sight 

Release date: March 21st 2011
Certificate (UK): PG
Running time: 99 minutes
Year of production: 1963

Director: Michael Gordon

Cast: Doris Day, James Garner, Polly Bergen, Thelma Ritter, Fred Clark, Don Knotts

It’s one of the most famous movies never completed. Marilyn Monroe and Dean Martin had originally been contracted to star in 20th Century Fox’s screwball comedy, Something’s Got To Give in 1962, a remake of the 1940 movie My Favourite Wife which starred Irene Dunne, Cary Grant and Randolph Scott.

Unfortunately the film ran into complications. Most of them were caused by Monroe failing to show up to shoot her scenes and even when she did show up, she didn’t know her lines, much to the frustrations of director George Cukor, cast and the rest of the crew. Although she was fired and then re-hired, the actress died before shooting could resume and the movie, with only 30 minutes of usable footage of Monroe, was never completed, at least, not as Something’s Got To Give.

Move Over Darling

It was given a new name; Move Over Darling, new director; Michael Gordon and new stars; Doris Day and James Garner.

The story begins with lawyer Nick Arden (James Garner) representing himself in court before a judge to have his wife Ellen (Doris Day), who disappeared 5 years previously in a plane crash, declared legally dead so he can remarry, this time to Bianca (Polly Bergen).

As fate would have it, that’s exactly when Ellen is rescued and comes back to look for her husband and her two young daughters, who have been told that “mommy drownded”.

Move Over Darling

What then ensues is the screwball comedy of how Nick deals with his formerly dead wife’s resurrection and tries to keep Bianca from finding out. Nick’s mother, Grace (Thelma Ritter) offers to help Ellen win her husband back but soon grows tired of her son’s unwillingness to resolve the situation and reports him for bigamy, leading to a climax right back at the courthouse where we first began.

Thelma Ritter gives a wonderfully funny supporting performance while its main stars Doris Day and James Garner are as you would expect them to be. Although they play comedy cards very well, there is nothing surprising or extraordinary, but taken as a whole, it is an amusing and cute film to watch.

Move Over Darling

The appearance of Don Knotts as the shoe clerk whom Ellen ropes in to pass of the other man she spent 5 years with on a deserted island is all too fleeting, as are Ellen’s scenes with the children who are treated as inconsequential to the story, despite the impact that Ellen’s return would have on their lives.

The DVD has no special features which is surprising considering the number of documentaries which have been made and the rough footage that’s out there.

Move Over Darling

Despite its shortcomings it has its charm and moments of fun but misses what Monroe and Martin brought to the unfinished Something’s Got To Give; sensuality and a high doses of sex appeal. Although, from watching what remains of Something’s Got To Give, it misses the charm and fun of Move Over Darling! Cukur’s version is sombre and swings more toward melodrama than screwball comedy. If only there was a way to move something over.

Marilyn Monroe in Something’s Got To Give

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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