My Six Loves (1963) w/ Debbie Reynolds
An actress vacations in Connecticut, but finds more then rest awaiting her there.
As we've mentioned in our review of I Love Melvin, Debbie Reynolds is often cast as someone in the entertainment world. Sometimes she's a character on the periphery of show business, such as a low-wage model who ditches her career for marriage in It Started with a Kiss. At other times, she's the cream of show biz society, as in The Gazebo, where she's so wealthy and famous she's being blackmailed.
My Six Loves (1963) sees the Reynolds character as an actress who everyone loves. We start with a shot of a telegram which the actress reads in a voice over. It outlines her busy schedule.
The film then continues under the credits with shots of New York's swankiest spots, including Sardi's. And we are introduced to Reynolds in the flesh in the latest outrageous fashions - a poufy, dusty rose hat on her head resembling an out-sized shower cap. She's a famous actress exhausted by her own success who must retire temporarily to the countryside for a much-deserved rest.
Enter 6 abandoned children (and 1 dog) living in the woods who the unmarried, childless star wishes to comfort. Enter Cliff Robertson as the local clergyman and potential love interest. You can see where the story is heading.
Actor, choreographer and Broadway "doctor" Gower Champion directs this, his first of only two feature films. He had directed televisions shows and commercials, but his best direction was onstage. He was yet to direct Broadway hits Hello Dolly! and 42 Street. John Anthony Gilvey's, well-researched and detailed book, Before the Parade Passes By: Gower Champion and the Glorious American Musical, is the best biography I've seen on this talent. And -bonus- the book is approved by Champion's wife, choreographer and legend Marge Champion.
Watch for Eileen Heckart (The Bad Seed) as Reynolds' assistant, sounding board and comic foil. Hans Conried is on hand as a hilariously condescending, cravat-wearing playwright. Alice Ghostley and Darlene Tompkins are a hoot as the recalcitrant housekeeper and her obnoxious daughter Ava, respectively.
There is nothing deep here. It's meant to be charming and appeal to the entire family while giving you the glamour of Debbie Reynolds. A more engaging sitcom movie -complete with mother and father figure, multiple children, a hairy dog, the strain of family on a career- is Please Don't Eat the Daisies with Doris Day and David Niven. However, My Six Loves will do for a rainy afternoon if you love its main stars.
Have you seen My Six Loves? What did you think?