I’m not a big fan of many comedy movies. If I do watch this type of film, it’s almost always a classic from many years ago. One that I have enjoyed is Send Me No Flowers, which was first released in 1964. This is a fun film to watch with a cast who were very skilled at comedy.
Doris Day and Rock Hudson were a beloved screen couple in the late 50s and 60s. Doris was America’s sweetheart, and a big box office draw. Rock was immensely popular after appearing in Magnificent Obsession and Giant.
It was only natural that they would star together on the silver screen. Doris and Rock appeared in three movies together, and all were successful. Send Me No Flowers was the final one. Tony Randall also acted in a supporting role in all three. Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back preceded this film. If you like screwball comedies, you will probably enjoy Send Me No Flowers.
George Kimball (Rock Hudson) is happily married to Judy (Doris Day) and they live in a nice suburban neighborhood. Arnold (Tony Randall) is their friend and neighbor. George is a hypochondriac who takes many “pills” each day. Judy puts sugar in capsules and gives them to George,who is unaware of course that he’s taking placebos. He has a medicine cabinet that is always full of pills for every ailment you can think of. Judy is very good natured and doesn’t let George’s hang ups about his health bother her.
One day George is at his doctor’s office and overhears a phone conversation. The doctor is talking about a patient who is dying, and George assumes the doctor is talking about him. “At last my hypochondria is paying off” George says. He decides to keep this from Judy. However, George does confide in Arnold, who takes the news badly. Arnold hits the bottle, as he cannot contemplate losing his friend.
George decides he wants to find a suitable husband for Judy to marry following his death. He enlists Arnold to help him. The viewer knows from the outset that George is healthy and not dying, so the story is not depressing or dark. It’s funny to watch as everything starts to go wrong.
Many misunderstandings occur, including Judy thinking that George is cheating on her. Eventually he tells her he’s “dying” but things get even funnier when she finds out he’s not. It’s very well played by Rock, who certainly had talent for comedy. However, I really think Tony Randall stole the show as Arnold. He had several very funny and memorable scenes.
The three actors all had chemistry and it showed on the screen. In some ways Send Me No Flowers was ahead of its time. Judy receives a grocery order that included organic food and carrot juice. Although organic food is widely bought today, this was not the case in the 60s. The movie also gently pokes fun at the pharmaceutical industry.
Doris, Rock and Tony Shine in This Charming Film
There are several scenes that are good for a few laughs. My favorite is when Arnold finds out that George is not really dying. He doesn’t react the way you would expect him to. Instead of saying how relieved he is, a drunken Arnold goes on a rant. “I spent days and days writing your eulogy!” he screams. I don’t think it’s easy to act as a drunk, but Tony pulls it off admirably.
Paul Lynde is hilarious in a small role. George goes to see him to buy a cemetery plot. All of these actors were very popular in the 60s. It has been 50 years since the release of Send Me No Flowers and is one of Doris Day’s classics. Watching this film is one way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.
The Friendship of Doris Day and Rock Hudson
Doris and Rock became good friends when they met in the 50s, and it continued until his death. In 1985 Doris was starting a new show, and she invited her good friend to visit her Carmel ranch and do an interview.
Rock’s appearance shocked everyone. No one realized that he was so ill until seeing him on her show. The interview was highly publicized and rumors spread as to what was wrong with Rock. He was a very private man, and had not even confided in Doris. Eventually he revealed he was suffering from AIDS. He died just a few weeks later. Rock was only 59 when he died. Tony Randal passed away a few years ago. Doris Day has celebrated her 90th birthday.