"Based on the popular book by Jean Kerr, PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISY is probably the best of Doris Day's 1960s comedies--and it finds her surprisingly paired with David Niven. While the two may seem an unlikely couple, they have extremely good on-screen chemistry, and the film neatly balances its story between the two stars so that neither overshadows the other.Day plays Kate MacKay, mother of four hellions and the long suffering wife of esoteric drama critic Larry MacKay (Niven.) With her husband under seige by every actor, director, and producer in town, Kate decides to move the family to a home in the country--and in the process leaves her husband open to the temptations of Broadway star Deborah Vaughn (Janis Paige.) Before too long, Larry's swelling ego threatens their happy home.The cast is expert, with both Day and Niven extremely enjoyable and Janis Paige memorable as the Broadway siren who attempts to lead Niven astray; the supporting roles are also expertly handled by a cast that includes Spring Byington. The script is witty with a dash of sophistocated sparkle, and unlike most of Day's later comedies manages to avoid the feel of frantic farce. A truly enjoyable outing; pure fun all the way."
Domestic comedy at it's funniest
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 05/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Featuring Doris Day and David Niven in a brilliant screen pairing, PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES is a fresh and breezy family comedy, filled with lovely performances. When theatre lecturer Larry Mackay (Niven) becomes a critic for a very important New York newspaper, he soon begins to alienate all those around him, not least of which his ever-patient wife Kate (Day) and their four small children - affectionately referred to as "The Monsters"! A move to the country becomes the answer to their problems, but when Larry's New York schedule - and ego - starts running riot, Kate decides to take action...
This film was based on Jean Kerr's bestselling novel of the same name. Kerr's book was somewhat autobiographical. She was the wife of famed (and feared) New York theatre critic Walter Kerr, and their family did indeed move to a rambling old mansion in upstate New York. Jean Kerr, a famed author and playwright in her own right, also penned the long-running Broadway play "Mary, Mary" (a success on the stage for Barbara Bel Geddes; and later a film with Debbie Reynolds in the lead).
In PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES, Doris Day leads the charge with several musical numbers, including the Title Song, "Any Way the Wind Blows", and "Que Sera Sera" (which she had introduced the previous year in Hitchcock's remake of "The Man Who Knew Too Much"). She delivers a coyly-comedic turn as the flustered stay-at-home mother, and much of her performance still rings true today.
The supporting cast includes priceless performances from Richard Haydn, Patsy Kelly, Spring Byington; and the delicious Janis Paige, who plays the diva-esque leading lady of a Broadway musical who comes under the wrath of Niven's poison-pen! In reality, Paige had starred in "Romance on the High Seas" (the film in which Doris Day made her Hollywood debut), and she had made a big splash on Broadway in "The Pajama Game" (she was ironically replaced by Day for the film version). The Mackay children are played by Charles Herbert, Stanley Livingston, Flip Mark, and "Baby" Gellert."
"Doris Day copes with home, hubby and the mommy track!"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Light and fluffy, Please Don't Eat the Daisies has nothing, at least, overtly to do with daisies, but that shouldn't stop viewers, especially Doris Day fans, from appreciating this entertaining slice of romantic film history. Based on the semi-autobiographical book by Jean Kerr, this is one of Day's best films, and her pairing with David Niven, while not as convincing as her union with Rock Hudson, is certainly interesting and provides lots of light-hearted laughs.
Niven does quite a convincing job of playing Larry Mackay, a dashingly uppity New York theatre critic, and Day has fun portraying Kate, his attractive wife, who spends most of her time reprimanding their rambunctious children or trying to persuade her husband to move out of the city into the country in order to have more fulfilling lives.
Larry is a former drama professor. Now a professional drama critic for a big New York newspaper, his first assignment is to review a very bad play produced by his best friend, Alfred North (Richard Haydn). Larry not only pans the play, he pans the leading lady, too, a glamorous Broadway star, Deborah Vaughn (Janis Paige). By doing so, he makes enemies of both people.
Kate, while appearing supportive, secretly rolls her eyes behind Larry's back, wishing that he would just leave the pretentious theatrical lifestyle and spend more time with his family. Lately life for the Mackays has become a constant succession of cocktail parties, fancy nightclubs, high-priced restaurants, and mindless acquaintances. Kate feels left out, whilst Larry, intent on maintaining his integrity and popularity reluctantly drags Kate along.
Lots of eccentric loveable characters float in and out of the plot, Spring Byington as Kate's mother adds a sweet, old worldly touch; Maggie the housekeeper (Patsy Kelly) is straight out of a television sitcom; and there's a plump cab driver (Jack Weston) who has just written a play and wants Larry to read it.
Everything is cutesy, childlike, and innocent; with most of the drama taking place in the MacKay's New York apartment, and later, in their run-down country house. Even the children are supposed to be lovable, even though when we first meet them, they're busying themselves dropping bags of water on an unsuspecting passerby under their fourth-floor apartment window.
The children constantly fight or misbehave. The youngest is so awful he has to be caged. Most viewers will probably react to this with a mixture of abhorrence and uneasy humour. Even the Mackays' dog is supposed to be lively. He has to be carried wherever they go because he refuses to walk, and he's terrified of other animals, particularly cats and squirrels.
The interiors and the costumes are terrific and anyone who is studying 50's period detail would be well advised to check out this movie. And although Please Don't Eat the Daisies is not actually a musical, there are some songs. Doris gets to sing two numbers: "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," with a group of school children, and "Any Way the Wind Blows," with a small-theater company.
Both are bubbly and vivacious little rhymes that are lots of fun and showcase her inimitable talents as both a singer and an actress. In addition, Day gets to hum a few bars of her signature theme, "Que Sera, Sera," when she's having dinner with Larry in an Italian restaurant. Please Don't Eat The Daisies is a cute, delightful little film, which not only gives us an insight into the social mores of the 50's, but also makes you want to watch much more of the lovely Doris Day. Mike Leonard June 05. "
A "Day-lightfully" blooming Daisy!
Paul Brogan | Portsmouth, NH United States | 10/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MGM's domestic comedy, "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" was the Easter, 1960 attraction at NYC's fabled showcase, Radio City Music Hall. It repeated it's success there, nationwide, becoming MGM's second highest grossing film of the year. It's easy to see why after viewing this delightfully charming comic gem.Based on an amusing book by Jean Kerr, wife of famed theatre critic Walter, it is loosely based upon their own misadventures. The film version, produced by Joe Pasternak and directed by Charles Walters, relates the story of husband and wife David Niven and Day who, with their brood of children, decide to relocate to the suburbs after Niven nabs a position as theatre critic with a NYC newspaper. Adjustments are in order for all, and the laughs flow fast and free. Niven almost falls under the spell of seductress Janis Paige but returns to home and hearth by the final reel.Doris Day is, as always, a delight. She acts with warmth and skill, playing a mother with the same level of expertise she always displays when playing a successful career woman. She even sings a couple of songs in her usual top-notch style. In particular, her rendition of her hit, "Que Sera Sera", to Niven in an Italian restaurant, is very affecting in it's simplicity.Niven is polished and urbane and the supporting cast, which includes Paige, Spring Byington, Jack Weston, and Patsy Kelly keep the fun going at a rapid fire clip.An interesting side note: Paige was the female lead in Day's 1948 film debut, "Romance on the High Seas", which made Day an overnight star, many critics barely noting Paige's participation in the film. Paige originated the role of Babe in "The Pajama Game" on Broadway, which Day later received acclaim for in the 1957 film version. In "Daisies", Paige, in a supporting role, makes a very memorable comedy appearance."
The Snake Has All the Lines
Gord Wilson | Bellingham, WA USA | 02/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Compared to ghastly films like Prudence and the Pill, David Niven must look back on this film as one of his better efforts. It's a good enough entry in the Doris Day canon, and there is unmistakable chemistry between Day and Niven. That said, it falls short of Jean Kerr's bestseller on which it is based by missing the tone. The later TV show to my mind more captures the sense of the book, although usually movies come closer with the follow up TV shows a pale imitation of the original book.
My title comes from the book Kerr wrote after Please Don't Eat the Daisies, both books being unaccountably out of print. Both books also, in my opinion, being well worth tracking down. With this film out on DVD, the TV series, and maybe even the revival of Kerr's books, may not be far behind."