New DVDs: Delmer Daves and Troy Donahue

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More midcentury melodrama this week. It was Douglas Sirk who first paired Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue in “Imitation of Life,” but it was Delmer Daves who made them America’s favorite teenagers with “A Summer Place” in 1959. Daves made three more films with Donahue — “Parish” (1961), “Susan Slade” (1961) and “Rome Adventure” (1962), all of them of interest for both aesthetic and sociological reasons, and all of which are included in the blandly titled “Warners Romance Classics Collection.” (There’s also a fourth film in the set, Norman Taurog’s “Palm Springs Weekend” — a sort of landlocked beach party movie that mainly serves to point up Daves’s sensitivity and sincerity.) My New York Times review is here.

Congratulations to Nicolas Saada, whose new film, “Espion(s)” opened in France on Wednesday. There’s a glowing review in Le Monde.

155 comments to New DVDs: Delmer Daves and Troy Donahue

  • Kent Jones

    Apropos of those weird sex scenes in RICH AND FAMOUS, I remember Pauline Kael writing that they felt more gay pick-ups. I also remember Cukor rhapsodizing endlessly to Gavin Lambert about TRASH and FLESH and LONESOME COWBOYS, so it’s interesting that he couldn’t bring himself to film sex himself.

  • david hare

    Yes the two scenes feel exactly like that. And – at least the first screw on the plane scene with the “jazzy” 80s fast cutting to the landing, screeching tyres etc doesn’t feel in any way Cukoresque. Nor does Matt disrobing to service Jacquie Bisset really. I thought the inclusion of Isherwood, Don Bachardy Morrissey et al as background guest wallpaper at Candice Bergen’s first Malibu party was amsuing – at the very least one wondered what on earth the future author of “Home Cookin’” had in common with these guys? Recipes?

  • david hare

    Brian I once saw a left wing theatre company semi-pro production of The Women played entirely by males in the 90s.

    Apart from being a deadly production in artistic and performance terms, the whole text actually played incredibly flatly, without a trace of humor.

  • Brian Dauth

    David: Luce’s play is horrid. I have never seen a stage production that worked. The screenplay is an improvement, but for me it is Cukor’s letting his actor’s run riot over the screenplay that saves the day (Cukor himself said that he achieved his effects through his actors).

    Add Cukor’s visual stylizations and modulations, and you get a film that works in an enjoyably bizarre way. I am not sure that Cukor’s approach here could be replicated outside of this script and cast, but as a one-off it is fabulous.

  • John Brewer

    We want Warner Brothers to release the TV series Troy Donahue was in Surfside 6 on DVD. Wouldnt hurt to release Hawaiian Eye and 77 Sunset Strip along with it.