Movie Review

That Touch of Mink

"Adult Sophisticated Comedy!"
(6)
That Touch of Mink Movie Poster

US Release Date: 06/14/1962

Directed by:Delbert Mann

Starring

Average Stars:
Reviewed on: January 28th, 2010
Cary Grant and Doris Day showing what real movie stars look like.

Cary Grant and Doris Day showing what real movie stars look like.

That Touch of Mink is almost exactly like those Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedies of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The one big difference being that Cary Grant is filling in for Rock Hudson. A few of the supporting players have been changed as well. Gig Young is in the Tony Randall/slightly effeminate sidekick role and Audrey Meadows is the wisecracking loyal friend ala Thelma Ritter. It was released in 1962 and is the only movie Day and Grant made together. This was late in the game for both stars as they would each be finished making movies within the next ½ dozen years. In fact Grant would appear in just 3 movies after this one and Day an even 10.

Boy have societies' views on sex changed in the last 50 years. The main premise (and the only tension) in this fluffy comedy comes from the fact that Doris Day is a virgin and has to decide whether or not to give it up to Cary Grant without first getting a ring on her finger. Now when you consider that Day was in her late 30’s at the time this movie was filmed the idea becomes a bit harder to swallow. Then when you consider that this is Cary Grant, playing a multimillionaire with all the charm and money in the world at his disposal, the idea becomes downright ludicrous. Or at least to modern sensibilities. At that time premarital sex was no laughing matter. At any rate you have to buy this idea or the whole movie will fail for you.

Clearly modern idea’s about sexual harassment and domestic violence didn’t exist then either. In one scene a man at the unemployment office threatens not to give Day her check unless she goes on a “date” with him. In another scene a man tells Grant that his wife doesn’t want to sleep with him any more. Grant asks him what he did about it and the man casually says, “I belted her.”

The talents of these two great stars make this movie a delight. They both had comic timing up the yin-yang. Sure it’s silly and predictable but the ride is such a joy and done with class and gusto. The script is filled with humorous double entendres and the laughs come quickly. There is a funny running gag about gay marriage that was ahead of its time. And fans of the New York Yankees will get a kick out of Grant and Day’s first date. He takes her to Yankee Stadium and gets her good seats, which turn out to be on the Yankee bench. Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra all appear in a cameo and Day gets in an argument with the ump.

In my opinion Doris Day is not given her due as a legendary movie star. As of this writing she is still living at the age of 87. At her peak she was the top box office star in the world (male or female) for 5 consecutive years. And can you think of another actress, living or dead, who starred romantically opposite Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, James Cagney, Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Kirk Douglas and Ronald Reagan? I can’t.

Anyway check out her talents and those of Cary Grant in this thoroughly entertaining romantic comedy from another era. They sure don’t make’em like this anymore.

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Reviewed on: January 29th, 2010
Mickey Mantle, Doris Day, Cary Grant and Roger Maris in That Touch of Mink.

Mickey Mantle, Doris Day, Cary Grant and Roger Maris in That Touch of Mink.

Patrick, you had me at Cary Grant, but then you threw in the Yankees and I had to watch this movie immediately!

Sure, a lot of the attitudes towards sex have changed since this movie was made, but what really struck me was how the plot could still be used today for a romantic comedy. I mean, yeah premarital sex is pretty much a given these days, but you could still make a movie about a rich playboy who doesn't want to get married and just wants the girl to be his mistress, and the girl has to debate with herself whether or not she wants to travel around the world with him. Although you'd be hard pressed to find anyone to star in it today who is in the same class as Cary Grant.

The biggest change in attitudes is that while every man here is shown to want sex, every woman is shown to just accept the fact that every man wants to have sex with her and that men are allowed to use every means in their power to get it. Okay, so maybe that's not so different from today. I guess it's not the attitudes that have changed, but simply sexual harassment laws!

You mentioned both Grant and Day Patrick, but I found some of the biggest laughs to come from the supporting characters. Gig Young as Roger gets some great lines, "You know the trouble I have sleeping? Well, I've solved it. Just before you go to bed you put three tranquilizers in a jigger of brandy and you drink it. You still can't sleep but you're so relaxed that you don't worry about it." And I also liked Meadows as the smart mouthed best friend, "For 2000 years we've had their children, washed their clothes, cooked their meals and cleaned their houses. And what did they give us in return? The right to smoke in public. We sold out for a cigarette - and you don't even smoke!"

I won't deny Day's popularity, but I've never been a huge fan of her work. Don't get me wrong, she's got comic timing and a certain kind of charm, but it's a dated charm. You look at Grant and he's timeless, which is probably why he was able to play a leading man in so many different decades, but Day seems much more stuck in that one particular window of time. Maybe it's just a result of the types of films she made. She is funny here, but a little old for the part.

As a Yankees fan I did enjoy seeing Maris, Mantle and Berra in their little cameo despite the horrible line readings. It was a nice little addition to an already funny, if dated, movie.

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Reviewed on: June 28th, 2011
Does this girl look as if she wants men to notice her?

Does this girl look as if she wants men to notice her?

Considering that a man wanting to be with an attractive girl is as normal as humanity can get, That Touch of Mink is not at all dated, and Day's reaction to Grant's proposition is not odd.  After knowing Day for a day, he asks her to be his vacation whore.  He intends to get sex and companionship, while she gets a new wardrobe and a free trip around the world.  He is clear on what he wants.  That may be an easy decision for some women, but she has only known him for a day and they have yet to have sex, let alone kiss.

I was on her side until she accepted the clothes and got on the plane.  Those acts were an acceptance of payment.  For her to turn down any of his sexual advances after that makes her a gold digging tease.  You do not accept payment if your not willing to part with your product.  At least she returned the clothes, and intended to pay him back, but it never should have gotten that far.

Marilyn Monroe had just died the year before.  Her career was spent playing women who flirted with rich men.  Her characters were always considered dumb, and less moral, yet she always knew what she was doing.  Day played characters with higher morals, but were far more stupid.  She was always the victim to men who found her attractive, and never knew how to handle the attention.  Day's friend states at one point, "Men take a look at you and suddenly their wives don't understand them."  Poor Doris Day wore tight skirts, dyed her hair platinum, packed on the makeup and then was shocked when men noticed. Monroe often played a tease, but it was with a goal in mind and not out of ignorance. 

Near the end of the film, Day uses her sexy voice and invites the unemployment guy, Beasley, on a date to make Grant jealous.  She hangs up the phone calling the guy a snake.  Sure, the guy is a bit slimy, but at least he is honest with his intentions.  Day is again just acting the tease.  She has the high moral standing to not have premarital sex but she thinks nothing of leading men on.

Day may have been a decent looking woman, but she was not worth the effort.  She begs Grant to fly back to Bermuda with the promise of sex, only to renege yet again.  Why Grant is so desperate to bang her in particular is never made clear.  He could easily have so many other women with far less stress and travel time.  If he actually liked her for more than sex then he should have treated her with more respect, and that does not mean just getting a better hotel room as he states to the slimy unemployment guy.

That Touch of Mink is a battle of the sexes.  On one side we have a rich older bachelor whose money and charm has gotten him laid more times than he can probably remember.  On the other side is a middle aged woman who uses her virtue as a weapon to capture a rich husband.  Beasley understandably wants to have sex with Day, but Day finds that repulsive. Grant is willing to pay her for it, making her a prostitute, and that she finds charming.  Neither Grant or Day are playing high moral characters, but because they are such charismatic stars we let them off easy.

The Yankees cameo was brilliant.  The year before was the famed summer of 1961 in which Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle had a season long home run competition that eventually led to Maris breaking Babe Ruth's single season home run record.  At that point in time they were probably the two most famous men in sports.

Did you enjoy Eric's review? Give this review a thumbs up. +4

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