Lucky Day finds Silver
Doris Day was such a remarkable talent that she could turn around even the lamest of musicals and movies, but sadly like any star she also had her off days and "Luck Me" must have come when she was having a few off days. Actually reading David Bret's Doris Day biography you learn that "Lucky Me" came whilst Day was suffering anxiety attacks and on the cusp of a nervous breakdown which helps explain why "Luck Me" is not as good as normal. That usual sparkle which Doris Day effortlessly delivered is missing and other than the comedy of co-star Phil Silvers "Lucky Me" is sadly a routine and lifeless musical which has a couple of memorable song and dance scenes but little else.
Having been fired from their gig, vaudeville group Hap Schneider (Phil Silvers - Carry on Follow That Camel), Duke McGee (Eddie Foy Jr.), Flo Neely (Nancy Walker) and the superstitious Candy Williams (Doris Day - Calamity Jane) are forced to work as staff in a hotel to pay their way having tried to scam a free meal. But their luck changes when they learn that staying in the hotel is successful song writer Dick Carson (Robert Cummings - Saboteur) who becomes acquainted with Candy when her superstitions force him to crash his car. But their budding romance struggles when Candy learns that Dick already has a girlfriend and so the hopes of Candy and her friends treading the boards again seem a distant dream.
"Lucky Me" starts with a musical number which to be frank is rather unmemorable as Doris Day as Candy Williams totters down a street singing "The Superstition Song" and trying to avoid various things such as walking on cracks and going under ladders. Sadly it doesn't get much better either as the storyline develops into an almost routine romance, well it is a Doris Day musical so what do you expect. But it is lifeless with nothing especially memorable happening as it builds the set up of the vaudeville group forced to work in a hotel as maids and staff to pay their way before Candy gets acquainted with successful musical writer Dick Carson and the rest, well it doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out what happens.
It doesn't help that there is not a single musical scene which stays with you once things are over. The best one is a double act between Doris Day and Phil Silvers as they camp it up singing "Men" but even that doesn't really linger in your memory for more than few minutes. It almost feels like the various musical numbers are leftovers from other productions thrown into this because it needed various musical numbers and as such they don't fit in. Even the opening number "The Superstition Song" which sort of feels like it belongs just doesn't feel as polished as you would expect.
As already mentioned Doris Day was not having a good time when "Lucky Me" was made and it shows, because the energy and sparkle which she delivered so brilliantly in other movies is nowhere to be seen. It's like her heart wasn't in it because although she sounds as great as ever when singing the performance feels stiff and uninterested. It doesn't help that there is no spark of magic or chemistry between her and Robert Cummings who plays Dick Carson although Cummings does quite well to deliver some humour out of a very weak character.
The only reason why "Lucky Me" doesn't end up being completely void of anything decent is that casting of Phil Silvers as Hap Schneider. In the scenes where Silvers gets to deliver more than just a couple of words they are genuinely good fun with his quick fire repartee and excellent comic timing but through no fault of his own or Doris Day's he doesn't get anywhere near enough screen time because "Lucky Me" was a Doris Day movie and not a Phil Silvers one. In fact the only time that Day comes alive and looks like her old self is in the few scenes she shares with Silvers.
What this all boils down to is that out of all the musicals which Doris Day starred in "Lucky Me" is one of the least memorable. It feels forced and functional with no real natural flow or real energy to any aspect of it. Even the various musical numbers are pretty forgettable and although Doris Day sings them as beautifully as ever it is Phil Silvers who stops "Lucky Me" from being completely below par.