Doris, Rock and Tony Makes 3
Judy Kimball (Doris Day - The Thrill of It All) is happily married to her husband George (Rock Hudson - A Gathering of Eagles) who is a sleeping, walking, talking hypochondriac who at the slightest ache or pain is straight down the doctors. During one of those visits George over hears his doctor on the phone receiving some bad news about a patient, except George mistakes that news for his own and jumps to the conclusion that he has just weeks to live. Not wanting to worry Judy he enlists the help of their neighbour and best friend Arnold (Tony Randall - Let's Make Love) to get everything in order for when the end comes and that includes finding a suitable replacement husband for Judy to provide her companionship after he has gone. But George's behaviour leads to Judy becoming suspicious as to what he is up to.
Doris Day and Rock Hudson surprisingly only made 3 movies together all of which saw them team up with Tony Randall. Now whilst "Pillow Talk" was genuinely very good and "Lover Come Back" although very similar to "Pillow Talk" was still entertaining their third and final movie together "Send Me No Flowers" just doesn't quite work. The good news is that Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Tony Randall are all great fun to watch and the storyline is thankfully not just a rehash of what they did before. But "Send Me No Flowers" has that feeling of being an idea for a sitcom episode rather than a full blown movie and struggles for being so.
The opening scenes to "Send Me No Flowers" is what makes it feel like a sitcom with George and Judy being your average married couple living in a lovely house etc etc. It even has the obvious throw away comedy moment with Judy accidentally locking herself outside of the house in her night gown, totally irrelevant to the story but delivers that sense of being light hearted comedy. And that light hearted theme continues as we meet George, a total hypochondriac who has a medicine cabinet to rival a chemist. Oh it's all fun stuff, but it's lightweight humour that is more at home in a 60s sitcom than a movie, and the whole domestic set up with their neighbour Arnold being a close friend just adds to that feeling.
Even when "Send Me No Flowers" moves to the main part of the story with George mistakenly thinking he is dying and so sets about preparing for his death, it carries on feeling like it's an idea for a sitcom . But at 100 minutes it feels a little long winded, scenes are dragged out and repeated to try and fill it out and whilst watching George and Arnold trying to find a new husband for Judy is amusing they go on a little too long. It's one of those issues which always occur when writers try to turn a short comedy story more suited to 30 minutes on TV into a full length movie.
Despite this drawn out sitcom feel "Send Me No Flowers" still works which is thanks to the trio of Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Tony Randall. Doris Day puts in stellar work giving us those over the top facial expressions as the exasperated wife and Rock Hudson is amusing as a hypochondriac especially when he thinks he has just a few days to live. Plus Tony Randall, yet again playing the best friend, delivers comedy over the top ness when he tries to help George put his affairs in order. The trio work so well together that it all feels very comfortable and natural even though they are playing distinctly different characters to what we've seen before in their other movies together.
What this all boils down to is that "Send Me No Flowers" is as you would expect a fun movie which thanks to Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Tony Randall has enough moments and scenes which will amuse. But it has a feeling of a 60s sitcom and not just in looks, the whole storyline feels likes it's more suited to a 30 minute TV show than a full on movie.