Send Me No Flowers (1964)

Fifty-seven years ago tonight, the film Send Me No Flowers premiered. It is a classic Doris Day and Rock Hudson movie and also has Tony Randall. This film is so comforting and classic time capsule of mid-century cinema.

send me no flowers 02

Directed by: Norman Jewison
Produced by: Harry Keller
Screenplay by: Julius J. Epstein
Based on: Send Me No Flowers 1960 play by Norman Barasch & Carroll Moore
Starring: Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tony Randall
Music by: Frank De Vol
Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp
Edited by: J. Terry Williams
Production company: Martin Melcher Productions
Distributed by: Universal Studios
Release date: October 14, 1964
Running time: 100 minutes
Box office: $9,129,247

George Kimball (Rock Hudson), a hypochondriac, lives with his wife Judy (Doris Day) in the suburbs. Judy learns from the milkman that their neighbors, the Bullards, are getting a divorce, and shares the news with George.

Over lunch, George is appalled as a bachelor acquaintance, Winston Burr (Hal March), gleefully describes how he contacts women who are getting divorced and pretends to console them, hoping to seduce them while they are vulnerable.

George visits his doctor after experiencing chest pains. He overhears his doctor, Ralph Morrissey (Edward Andrews), discussing a patient who has just a few weeks to live. George assumes that Morrissey is talking about him and is distraught. On the train home he tells his friend, Arnold Nash (Tony Randall), that he will die soon. He has decided not to tell Judy, knowing it will upset her. Arnold solemnly assures George that he will deliver the eulogy at his funeral.

That night, George dreams about Judy marrying Vito, an irresponsible young deliveryman more interested in her inheritance than love. He visits a funeral home operated by Mr. Akins (Paul Lynde) to buy a burial plot. He decides to find Judy a new husband and asks Arnold to help him.

On a golf outing, Judy’s golf cart malfunctions and she is saved by her old college beau Bert Power (Clint Walker), now a Texas oil baron. George agrees with Arnold that Bert would be a great husband for Judy. During an evening out, George forces Judy to dance and talk with Bert. When George runs into the newly divorced Linda Bullard (Patricia Barry), who is there with Winston, he takes her to the coat room and warns her about Winston’s intentions. She thanks him and kisses him in gratitude. When Judy sees them, she storms out, thinking that he is pushing her to spend time with Bert so that he can have an affair with Linda. George then tells Judy that he is dying.

Upset, Judy insists that George use a wheelchair. But when she sees Dr. Morrissey and he tells her that George is fine, she thinks George is lying to wriggle out of the consequences of his affair. She rolls him out of the house and locks him out, announcing her intention to divorce him. George spends the night at Arnold’s house, during which time George’s various demands and idiosyncrasies cause Arnold to strike, one by one, many of the complimentary remarks about George he had planned on making in his eulogy. George, in desperation, asks Arnold for advice on how to stop Judy from leaving him. Arnold insists that George, although he is innocent, must pretend to confess to Judy that he has had an affair, assure her it is over, and beg for forgiveness.

The next day Judy leaves to buy a train ticket. George follows her to the train station, where, following Arnold’s advice, he makes up a story about an affair he had with a Dolores Yellowstone (a name he has made up) and shows Judy the stub from the $1000 check, made out to “Cash,” he had given “Dolores” to leave him and go away to New York. The scheme fails utterly when Judy will not forgive him. She goes home to get her bags. There Mr. Akins happens to drop by to deliver the burial contracts for George’s and Judy’s plots and shows her George’s $1000 check, made out to “Cash.” She then realizes George had made up the Dolores Yellowstone story only so he could surprise her with the purchase of the cemetery plots. When George arrives at the house, she lovingly forgives him.

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