“I like joy; I want to be joyous; I want to have fun on the set; I want to wear beautiful clothes and look pretty. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that’s all I want. I like it. I like being happy. I want to make others happy.”
– Doris Day –
The story of me and Doris Day is one that I shall always cherish. What I can mainly say is that, from the moment I first heard about her, she only brought me goods in my life. Doris Day is, to me, a synonym of “success” and “optimism”.
Today, the retired actress celebrates her 95th birthday. We were long confused on her birthday date, but it has just been confirmed that the actress was born in 1922 (and not in 1924 like she and most people thought). And we’re glad she’s taking it with humour! And, I have to honour to be born the same day as her (but several years later)! What a luck! Marlon Brando, Jan Sterling, Alec Baldwin and Leslie Howard are also among my birthday twins. My friend Michaela from Love Letters to Old Hollywood is, this weekend, hosting The Doris Day Blogathon in honour of this fabulous actress and singer. I obviously considered necessary to pay her a tribute, explain to you how she became one of my idols.
Before going further, I want to thanks Michaela for hosting this amazing blogathon! You can read the other entries here.
The first time I heard of Doris Day, it was via one of her songs. There was this radio program called “Tout un Cinema”, which unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore. Only film musics were played in this show, so, it obviously was a real treat for cinephiles like me. I remember I was on the road with my cousins and their parents. I had spent a few days with them at their cottage in the country and we were coming back to Montreal. We decided to listen to the program and the animator, Rémy Girard (one of Quebec’s greatest actors) introduced it with a Doris Day’s song: “Oh Me, Oh My!” from the musical Tea for Two. This song is a cute, simple and joyful one. Maybe not the deepest thing Doris ever sang, but it remains a sympathetic one.
And “Oh Me, Oh My” became my first Doris Day’s inspiration. But we’ll come back to that later.
If I heard my first Doris Day’s song in the summer (or was it autumn?), it’s during the following winter vacations that I saw my first Doris Day’s film. This one was The Man Who Knew Too Much, which was part of an Alfred Hitchcock’s DVD Box set I had received for my previous birthday. I knew that Doris was better known for her romantic comedies and her musicals, so this suspense was an unusual one. Well, Doris Day proved to be a brilliant actress. The Man Who Knew Too Much reveals her capacity to play drama and, introduces her most well-known song: Que Sera Sera (unfortunately, too many people don’t know that this song was first written for an Alfred Hitchcock’s film). This scene where she [spoiler alert] learns that her son has been kidnapped always breaks my heart. 😦 Anyway, as I’ve probably mentioned it before, this film became my favourite Hitchcock’s film, my mother’s too (well, I think. Anyway, she loves Que Sera Sera) and it encouraged my sister to see more films by the master. This is, of course, not only due to Doris Day’s convincing performance and lovely singing voice, but also to the excellent suspense, and Day’s brilliant co-star, the one and only James Stewart.
But let’s come back to “Oh Me, Oh My!” I’ve previously told you that this song inspired me. How? Well, after these winter vacations, I had a class in CEGEP to develop our creativity. For our final project, we had a very vague theme imposed to us and we had to use it for a personal creation. It could be anything we wanted. At the time, the song was always stuck in my head, so I used it to write a play! This one was a one-act comedy entitled “Oh Me!” and was the story of a girl who decides to learn the song for a “Sing Doris Day contest”. However, she decides to learn it word by word, so the process isn’t going very fast (and the irony is that it is a pretty easy song). I was surprised to see that people loved the play and I succeed with a pretty good note (don’t remember the exact result, but it was over 90%). This is one of the factors that encouraged me to study screen writing!
I also had to see more Doris Day films and listen to her music. So, I didn’t make long to buy some of her CDs and films. In cinema, her presence never failed to illuminate the screen. Her films are the feel-good movies by excellence (my favourite example being Romance on the High Seas). She was a true star and she was rarely overshadowed by other actors or actresses. She could play comedy and drama both in excellent ways. The chemistry she had with other actors is one that inspires nothing else than true friendship (we can think of Rock Hudson)! Her dynamism and joie de vivre never fail to make me smile and say: “I want more Doris Day!” And, even if the film isn’t excellent (Please, Don’t Eat the Daisies), there would be at least one positive element about it, and that’s Doris! It’s too bad that Mrs. Day is in this category of the too underrated actresses like Marilyn Monroe. Yes, she received an Oscar nomination, but I think her acting skills deserved much more credit than they received. I read this interesting article about Doris in a Photoplay magazine where she is quoted saying: “I want all my pictures to be entertainment and I’ll never talk about art or doing anything “different” and “serious”. I hope my pictures can make people forget their troubles and start dreaming wonderfully.” We can’t think indeed of a better form of entertainment than bright Technicolour musicals. However, when Doris Day said that, she was quite at the beginning of her career and we know that she did play in more serious pictures and proved to be excellent in all forms of entertainment. Whatever if she wants it or not, she’ll always be a highly celebrated ARTIST.
Doris Day the Singer is the one I discovered first. I’ve listened to some of her songs very often and now can easily sing them! Her voice is a lovely one and matches her personality perfectly. I remember, one day, I was dining with my father and we were listening to one of my Doris Day’s CDs and when “Love Me or Leave Me” started playing, my father exclaimed “That is Doris Day? My God! It’s so great!” Well, not exactly in these words, but something like this. And I’m fortunate to have her as one of my very favourite singers, because my parents also like to listen to her during supper 😉 (Madonna and Debbie Harry are less suitable for a quiet family supper). It’s the kind of music that you can enjoy while doing various activities. Doris Day’s life objective is to make us smile and make our lives better. We feel that she transmits all her love to us via her songs (and her films). As I often said, Doris Day’s music is the best cure when one has the blues. If I have a down, I can always get over it with a song like “It’s a Great Feeling” or “There’s a Bluebird on your Windowsill”!
What I also admire about Doris Day is her courage. We know that, despite being a very cheerful person, she didn’t always have it easy. As I read in the Photoplay article, her rise to stardom was a difficult one, and her four weddings were unfortunately far from being perfect. But, Doris managed to always give us a smile and see the brighter sides of life. She’s a true inspiration.
Last time Doris Day gave me success was this semester. I was doing a team oral presentation about American female stars of the 50s and I talked about Doris Day. We got an A! How awesome! I tell you, she is my lucky charm!
Before living you, it’s top list time!
First, here are my 5 most favourite films (I would have like to do a top 10, but, unfortunately, I’ve just seen 9 of her films. I know, I know, I need to see more! I think I’m more familiar with Doris-the-Singer!)
An honourable mention to Love Me or Leave Me, in which she gives a marvellous dramatic performance and sings some of her best songs!
And now, here are my heum.. 25 most favourite Doris Day’s songs. Sorry, but I can’t limit myself to a smaller number. I love too many of them! The top is not in a particular order, because I find it more difficult to rank songs than films! But #1 IS my #1!
#1 Favourite: Sugarbush (What an excellent song to cheer you up! “Sugarbush I love you so!” 🙂 )
If I Were a Bell
Lullaby of Broadway
It’s a Great Feeling
There’s a Bluebird on Your Windowsill
A Guy is a Guy
I Can’t Give You Anything But Love Baby
Oh Me! Oh My!
Tea for Two
On Moonlight Bay
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
Love Me or Leave Me
Shaking the Blues Away
Que Sera Sera
I’m in Love
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
Doris Day will never stop to make my life better. She will always be remembered for her brilliant acting/singing career, but also for her appreciated involvement in animal rights. Today, she lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea and she is the most lovely 95 years old lady of California!
Today, we’re celebrating something important: the legendary Sidney Poitier is 90, and he’s still with us! For the occasion, I’m hosting the 90 Years of Sidney Poitier Blogathon. Click here to read all the marvellous entries.
The first Sidney Poitier’s film I saw was In the Heat of the Night. I remember renting it at this video store that, unfortunately, doesn’t exist anymore and, like most 1967 films, truly enjoyed it. As two of the participants indicated it in their article, it’s a shame Sidney wasn’t Oscar nominated for his role. I honestly believe it’s one of his best performances. It’s full of strength, determination and charisma. You know, that kind of performance that shows us what great acting is. Anyway, just for that “They call me Mister Tibbs!” moment alone he should have been nominated.
But, luckily, Sidney won the Oscar in 1964 for his brilliant performance in Lilies of the Fields (1963). A most deserved Oscar as, I believe, it’s his best performance (well, for the films I’ve seen so far). Just like his the film itself, is portraying of Homer Smith is touching and honest. He doesn’t fail to make us smile, and share out his anger toward Mother Maria! The most amazing thing about this Oscar win is that Sidney was the first African-American actor to win an Oscar (the first actress was Hattie McDaniel for her performance in Gone With the Wind (1939) as Mammy). And it was about time! Just take a look at this speech. Golden moments like this one don’t happen often at the Academy Awards.
He’s so happy 🙂 ❤ Anyway, that moment just makes me smile so much! On another note: Anne Bancroft is gorgeous.
So far, I’ve seen 10 Sidney Poitier’s films (I know, I have many more to see) and I never was disappointed. Well, the only one that I might have liked a little less is Something of Value. I don’t know, it was a bit too dramatic. But never Sidney Poitier failed to impress me. As I told it, he kills it with that determination, the clarity of his speech, his presence, his wisdom… And that laugh! My, I love it. It just warms your heart, don’t you think?
Sidney was a man of many talents. Not only he could act, but he could also:
And even sing! (Warning: for those who haven’t seen it, this is the final scene of Lilies of the Fields! )
Ok, where is that musical starring Poitier now? Is there one? Because if yes, you have to let me know asap. And if no, well… too bad.
Sidney Poitier was not only the first African-American actor to receive an Oscar, but he also was one of the first one to be cast in leading, various and serious roles (other than a servant or a singer in a club, like it was often the case in classic films). And he rocked it and proved that not just white actors were able to play all kinds of roles. (And, between you and me, he’s better than some of them… hahaha). Sidney has always shown the greatest example of anti-racism through his films. In The Defiant Ones, he proves that an African-American and a caucasian can become friends. In Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, he proves that love between two persons of different ethnic groups is possible. In In the Heat of the Night, he proves that black men deserve to be respected as much as white men are, etc. Well, it’s more the film itself that proves all this, but let’s say he’s the proud representative of anti-racism movies. He’s a legend and everybody should be proud of him for what he brought to the divine art of cinema.
There is much more I would like to know about Sidney Poitier. I’m familiar with his work as an actor, but, I’d like to know more about his life (other than what I can read on Internet…). So, biographies’ recommendations are quite welcome here!
In 1992 Sidney Poitier received his AFI Life Achievement Award. His friend Harry Belafonte (who will also celebrate his 90th birthday quite soon – March 1) payed a tribute to him by singing Amen. We can see Sidney he’s thrilled and it’s personally one of my most favourite YouTube videos ever!
Faithful to my habits, I’d now like to present you my top 10 Sidney Poitier’s film! Honestly, it’s a hard job because, as I’ve said, I really love all his movies. But, let’s give it a try:
1- A Patch of Blue (this one is my favourite for sure)
2- To Sir, with Love
3- Blackboard Jungle
4- Lilies of the Fields
5- The Defiant Ones
6- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
7- No Way Out
8- In the Heat of the Night
9- Edge of the City
10- Something of Value
Well, that gives you a rough idea.
Happy 90 birthday Sidney Poitier! You are one of a kind!
Paul Dupuis is not a name that rings a bell to many people of my generation. However, if I talk about him with my grandparents or older people, they’ll remember him as this handsome man with a very deep voice who was “great in Les Belles Histories des Pays d’en Haut“. He was one of those French-Canadian actors that had his notoriety, but who is, unfortunately, a bit forgotten nowadays. On my side, if I hadn’t seen Madness of the Heart, I would probably have not come across him. When I watched this British film for the first time, this handsome young man, who was cast as Margaret Lockwood’s love interest, picked my curiosity. So, I checked what was his name: Paul Dupuis. Hum, that’s sounded French! It was even better, he was Quebecois (or French-Canadian if you prefer). Last year, in my class on Quebecois cinema, I decided to do my final essay on films of the 40’s and the 50’s, but, to tell you the truth, that was mainly an excuse to see more Paul Dupuis’ films. 😉 I don’t regret it, because I saw some interesting stuff, movies that, just like Paul, are not remembered very well today.
I’m really not an expert on Paul Dupuis and I’ve seen only three of his films, but I’ve chosen to write about him because I think he deserves more recognition. And if, like me, you like to discover new actors, well, there you go. I, however, have a sort of obsession with him and sometimes I can spend hours looking for articles and videos about him on the web. Quite a stimulating activity. It’s mostly through this research that I discovered myself a real fascination for the man. Paul Dupuis was one of a kind, and he was much more than a “simple” movie star.
With the help of all my readings, I created this mini-biography that I hope you’ll find complete and informative.
Who Was Paul Dupuis?
Birthday and college years
Paul Dupuis was born in Montreal on August 11, 1916. He was the son of Carmel Girouard and Pierre-Louis Dupuis, a juvenile court judge. From 1933 to 1934 he did classical studies at Collège de l’Assomption. Paul Dupuis’ love for acting started when he attended Collège St. Laurent and was part of the amateur theatre group “Les Compagnons de St. Laurent” (or simply “Les Compagnons”) create by Father Legault, to whom he owned his love for the theatre. In an article from La Voix de Shawinigan, Gabriel Langlais describes Paul Dupuis as “father Legault’s spiritual son”. Later, after Paul became an established movie and stage actor, he eventually became the assistant director, actor, professor, and director at Les Compagnons, at the request of Father Legault. His passage at Les Compagnons is well remembered for his successful performance in Shakespeare’s Henry IV as the leading role, in 1951.
It’s important to know that, despite his talent for acting, it was a bit by accident that he became an actor. Yes, he spent glorious times performing with Les Compagnons, but Paul first worked (briefly) as a newspaper cartoonist. He also worked as an announcer and director at Radio-Canada and joined CBC in 1937 and was sent, not long after, in London, as a War Correspondent. Meanwhile, he married Jacqueline-Thérèse Godin (daughter of Joseph-Eugène Godin et Hortense Mongenais) at St. Léon de Westmount church in 1939. They had two children, Pierre-Louis and Marie. In 1945, Paul, who then was a journalist, not an actor yet, made an important war reportage entitled Mort du Soldat Bourdage au Front in which he talked about the death of Private Bourdage and made a glorious portrait of him. However, the soldier was not really dead! His trace was lost after an explosion and he was declared dead, but a bit too early. Fortunately, this allowed Bourdages to see Dupuis’s wonderful tribute to him.
The raise of an actor
Paul Dupuis’s first on-screen role (or should I say “appearance) was in Yellow Canary, a 1943’s British spy movie. He, however, was uncredited. Paul Dupuis first important role was in 1945’s Johnny Frenchman, a film about a Breton Fisherman directed by Charles Frend and also starring Patricia Roc, Paul Walls and Françoise Rosay. It’s a screen-test arranged by his friend Gerry Wilmott (who also worked at Radio-Canada) who led him to obtain an important role in the film. Paul then became a revelation, both in Europe and in his native country, Canada, where the film was first screened at Imperial Theatre in Montreal during Spring 1946. Johnny Frenchman was praised for its quality. An article from Independent Exhibitors Film Bulletin said about it that it had “a realism impossible to duplicate in Hollywood-made product.” The same journalist wrote that he and his co-star Patricia Roc were “natural and appealing as the British-French romantic pair.” Journalist Marc Thibeault also described him as a future big star of British Cinema in his article “Johnny Frenchman”, avec Paul Dupuis, une agréable surprise. Due to his success in the film, Paul Dupuis signed a long time contract with J. Arthur Rank in the 40’s.
From 1945 to 1951, he starred in about 15 films in England, including The White Unicorn, Passport to Pimlico, Madness of the Heart, The Reluctant Widow and Sleeping Car to Trieste. For many of these roles, only goods were said about Paul Dupuis:
For their performance in the comedy-thriller Sleeping Car to Trieste, Paul Dupuis and his co-stars Derrick de Marney and Jean Kent were said to be “prominent in the action” in a Showmen’s Trade Review article of April 1949. Another article from the same magazine qualified his performance in Passport to Pimlico (June 1949) of “convincing”. Moreover, a July 1949’s article praised Paul Dupuis’ performance in Madness of the Heart (his second film alongside Margaret Lockwood, the first one being The White Unicorn) and said about it:”Paul Dupuis proves his ability with a sincere, clear-cut characterization as the French husband.” The film has its faults, but, like many Margaret Lockwood’s films from the 40’s, it was a commercial success. There is no doubt on the convincing performances of the actors: Paul the French gentleman, Margaret Lockwood, his blind wife, and Kathleen Byron as the mean and jealous woman. The film was directed by Charles Bennett, most well-remembered for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock as a screenwriter (Blackmail, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The 39 Steps, Sabotage, Secret Agent, Young & Innocent, Foreign Correspondent and Saboteur).
Paul’s career in Europe was not only spent in England but also in France where he starred in L’Inconnue de Montréal, Les Pépés font la loi,Passion de femmes, etc.
Despite his success in Europe in the 40’s and 50’s, and his international reputation, Paul’s heart really belonged to Canada, and I believe the importance of his career, his unique persona was really created in his native country. In a June 1951’s article for Photo Journal, Paul Dupuis was quoted saying ” Il faut quitter le Canada pour l’apprécier. Je n’ai jamais été un immigré. Les années passées loin de mon pays on été pour moi des années d’exil, malgré le succès qu’on s’est plu à me reconnaître en Europe.” ( You have to quit Canada to appreciate it. I never was an immigrant. The years spent far from my country were, for me years, an exile, despite the success I had in Europe.). This was his answer to the question ” Why are you coming back?” (to Canada). Interestingly enough, after the shooting of Madness of the Heart, Paul had a desire to go back to Canada with a Norwegian Cargo (as the road was more adventurous), but he had to cancel as the boat reservations were already all booked and he was requested to star in the film The Romantic Age (Edmond T. Gréville, 1949)
Paul’s first film made in Quebec was La Forteresse, a 1946’s film directed by Fédor Ozep in which he plays the role of an author-compositor suspected of murder. His co-stars were Nicole Germain, Jacques Auger et Henri Letondal. The exteriors of the film were shot in Quebec City and Montmorency Falls. That’s the second Paul Dupuis’ film I saw and he didn’t fail to impress me.
In Canada, Paul was also seen in Étienne Brûlé, Gibier de Potence, Ti-Coq, or Les Belles Histoires des Pays d’en Haut on television. Actually, if you mentioned Paul Dupuis to a Quebecois, it’s more likely Ti Coq and Les Belles Histoires that will ring a bell. These are the productions he is most well-remembered for here. He grabbed the attention of writer Claude-Henri Grignon, author of Un homme et son péché and that’s how he obtained the role of Arthur Buies in the radio version of the novel as well as the television adaptation (entitled Les Belles Histoires des Pays d’en Haut). I have to be honest, I never saw Paul in Les Belles histories, but I’ve heard only goods about it. Paul Dupuis himself liked the character and found him to be quite appealing. As for Ti-Coq, this cinematographic adaptation of Gratien Gélinas’ play (also director by Gélinas and also starring Gélinas in the leading role), his role is small, but appreciable and convincing. What I like about it is that he inspires wisdom.
The theatre man
” Actually, I would like to appear in the theatre, but I would have to be sure that the play and the part are just right for me, otherwise I think such an experiment would do me harm than good.” (Paul Dupuis, interviewed by Anthony Firth for Picturegoer, 1949)
We all remember that Paul’s interest in acting started while he was an actor for Les Compagnons de St-Laurent. His onstage career, however, didn’t stop there. While he was in England, he played in West-End London’s theatres, but, once again, his artistic heart truly belonged to Canada. There, we saw him on stage in Ten Little Indians in 1953 (presented by the Canadian Players), Henri IV (as I mentioned earlier), or again in Claudel-Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher in the role of Brother Dominic. The play was staged by Jan Doat ( stage director at l’opéra de Paris) and bandmaster Wilfrid Pelletier. The premiere took place at the Palais du Commerce in July 1952 and opened the Festival 1953. Paul was chosen by la Société des Festivals de Montréal to star in the play, alongside Claude Nollier.
Radio and television
In the 60’s, Paul Dupuis forged an important radio and television career in Canada, putting his cinematic career a bit aside. On the television, he was the animator of Voix de Femmes, a feminine magazine where Mme Françoise Gaudet-Smet was revealing to women the secrets to be a good housekeeper and where Thérèse Casgrain was defending women’s legal rights. He was also seen on the cinematographic television show: Billet de faveur. He often made important reportages for Radio-Canada, both on radio and television. I remember my uncle mentioning a coffee commercial with Paul Dupuis. I tried to find more information about it, but without success.
Apart from being recognized for his acting talent, his charm and his beauty, it seems that Paul Dupuis also had a magical speaking voice, which could surely assure him a successful radio career. Journalist Fernand Côté, said of Paul Dupuis that he was excellent to read texts and to give them all their “flavour and texture” and that he had a “convincing voice tone”. His voice was also said to be “amused, malicious and tragic”. On the radio, Paul Dupuis played the role of Julien Bédard in Jeunesse Doré, was the narrator of Une demie heure aver… directed by Madeleine Gérôme, reader for the special program of l’Organisation des mesures d’urgence, narrator for the show about the arctic Au Pays du Long Sommeil by André Morin (although I’m not sure if this was a television or a radio show…), animator for Billet de Faveur, etc.
Despite his success on the radio and television in the 60’s, Paul Dupuis mysteriously put an end to his career in 1970. In 1976, he was found dead at the Nymark hotel in St-Sauveur, where he lived. He was only 60. He was buried at the Côte-des-Neiges Cemetery. Now, I’m a bit confused by the subject since, an article from The Montreal Gazette says that he died of natural causes, while Claude Jasmin, writer and once Paul Dupuis’s neighbour, implicitly mentions a suicide in his blogging article ” Mort à St-Sauveur”. The writer mentions Paul’s difficult personality (which led him on the “blacklist”), alcohol problems, and his career downfall (which could indeed eventually lead to a suicide). Is it all true? Just like the man, I think this will remain a mystery and for the moment the sources on the subject are a bit limited. However, Paul Dupuis was much more than that, and he will always be remembered for the goods he brought to journalism, cinema, radio and television.
Yes, because Paul Dupuis was much more than a simple actor, he was a real personality, one of a kind. Interestingly enough, when he was criticized about his look, his answer on the subject was a bit similar to Ingrid Bergman’s one: while being interviewed by Anthony Firth for Picturegoer in 1949, he said to the journalist “At the beginning of my career, I have been told that my nose is not right to which I only answer: so what? I do not consider myself a glamour boy of the screen, and if my nose can stop me from becoming a good actor then I might as well look for another profession.” Well, take me like I am or don’t take me at all! That’s the spirit. Paul loved his acting profession and it was much more about talent than physical look for him. However, don’t get me wrong, he was often known as “the handsome Paul Dupuis”.
Paul had a unique personality. Known as a very private man, he inspired both fear and respect, was a man of fine tastes, an independent, he was very polite, etc. Paul didn’t like to talk about himself, but he loved talking about his passions and interests. He appreciated music and his tastes were various: while he enjoyed Gregorian chants or Mozart, he also found a real revelation in blues and rock and roll, especially with Elvis Presley’s music. Paul also loved to read, especially authors of the 18e century. He loved nature, car rides (for him, to drive from St-Sauveur to Montreal and vice versa every day was not a problem), animals (especially horses and dogs), etc. His other hobbies were squash, singing, but what he liked to most was painting, as it is written in Anthony Firth’s article. Paul also was an eccentric of his own kind. For example, as it is revealed by Fernand Côté, if he has to go to the Place des Arts (an important concert hall in Montreal) after a day of horse riding, he would go wearing horse riding’s outfit! Fernando Côté also said of Paul Dupuis that, despite some of his life challenges, he chose meditation and reflection instead of wickedness and aggressively. Paul was a wise and thoughtful man.
As you can see, it is quite surprising that Paul Dupuis is a bit forgotten today, despite his success while he was alive. If I’ve seen only three of his films: Madness of the Heart, La Forteresse, and Ti-Coq, it’s really by reading all these articles about him that I became a fan. I mean, he was such a brilliant man!
I recently bought this autograph on eBay!
And also this old magazine with Paul on the front page.
I hope I succeed to give you an accurate life portrait of this magnificent French-Canadian man. It required a lot of research, which I had, fortunately, mostly done before I even
consider writing this article. If you wish to watch his films, why don’t you do like me and start with Madness of the Heart? 😉