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That Touch of Mink(1962)
A rich businessman and a young woman are attracted to each other, but he only wants an affair while she wants to save her virginity for marriage.
For more about That Touch of Mink and the That Touch of Mink Blu-ray release, see That Touch of Mink Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on August 1, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Cary Grant, Doris Day, Gig Young, Audrey Meadows, John Astin, Dick Sargent
Director: Delbert Mann
» See full cast & crew
That Touch of Mink Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, August 1, 2013
What a difference either one year or five years, depending on how it's looked at, can make. In 1962, Cary Grant, then 58, settled into a familiar role as a lothario chasing after a pretty woman, played by Doris Day, then 38, in That Touch of Mink, which became one of the Top 5 films of that year at the box office. That's a twenty year difference between the two, for those who aren't especially good at math. A mere year later, in 1963, Grant insisted that Charade (also available in this edition) be structured so that his co-star Audrey Hepburn, then 34, chase him, due to the twenty-five year difference in their ages. There have long been disparities between male stars' ages and those of their female co-stars, something that has angered successful women actors of a "certain age" who feel they're being bypassed in favor of younger ingénues. But in the case of That Touch of Mink, the age difference is really a non-issue for a couple of reasons. Doris Day never really had the same gamine quality that Audrey Hepburn did, and in fact she seems more or less the same age as Cary Grant, despite his ever so slightly gray hair (something else that had changed by the time Charade rolled out a year later). But even given the age difference, obvious or not, there's an underlying class difference that's more salient in this ebullient comedy, one which holds up surprisingly well and delivers some solid laughs along the way, even if it's not particularly subtle and in fact is has a rather undeniably smarmy subtext. Grant portrays gazillionaire Philip Shayne, who is being chauffeur driven (in his Rolls Royce, of course) one rainy Manhattan morning. Cathy Timberlake (Doris Day), a working girl (not that kind, of course—Day is once again here the Perpetual Virgin), is standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross when Shayne's passing limousine drives through a mud puddle and covers her in dirty detritus. There's "meet cute" and then there's "meet sloppy", which of course soon cascades into all sorts of unexpected opportunities and problems. If That Touch of Mink never quite attains the giddy heights of some of Day's other romantic comedies of the late fifties and early sixties, it's still an often hugely winning affair (no pun intended, considering Shayne's proposition which sets the main plot in motion), with some nicely arch supporting performances from the likes of perennial second lead Gig Young and Thelma Ritter wannabe Audrey Meadows.
It turns out Cathy is actually unemployed and had been on her way to the Unemployment Office. There to pick up her weekly unemployment check, Cathy instead has to weather the lecherous obstacle course raised by the clerk assigned to her, Beasley (John Astin). Though Cathy may indeed not be sexually experienced, she's no dummy, as her interchanges with Beasley make completely clear. Cathy then heads off to the local automat (for those unfamiliar with the relic of a bygone age, you could insert coins in little slots and retrieve cheap food), where her cynical roommate Connie (Audrey Meadows) works. Cathy and Connie have a little scam worked out where Cathy deposits a coin to open the little window to get her food, which allows her access to Connie, who then provides her with one item after another. Unfortunately this time Connie's shenanigans are noticed by her boss (an uncredited Richard Deacon from The Dick Van Dyke Show). It turns out men, including Connie's boss, simply find Cathy irresistible, which has led to Cathy having been fired from one job after another once the various bosses' wives had found out.
In the meantime we also are introduced to the private world of Philip and his all in one financial advisor and all around lackey, Roger (Gig Young). Roger is a walking thesaurus of various Freudian issues, and he also drinks heavily, something he blames on his analyst. Roger was a prominent Princeton economics professor whom Philip hired, and then "ruined" by paying him well and introducing him to the high life. However, Philip isn't all (mock) bad—it turns out he actually felt very bad about splashing Cathy, and had had his driver go back around the block to see if she was all right, but she had disappeared by the time they got back there. Just by chance, he then sees Cathy entering the automat, which is housed in a building across from Philip's high rise. Philip has Roger go down to apologize and offer to pay for any damages. Roger is thrilled when Cathy goes off on the situation, saying that if she had the chance, she'd give Philip a piece of her mind. Roger takes that opportunity to have Cathy voice all the supposed frustrations he's experienced, and drags Cathy up to Philip's office. Once introduced to Philip, however, things change markedly, as it's obvious that Cathy is entranced.
That sets the film off on its main storyline, where a spontaneous day spent together (including a well done vignette at Yankee Stadium replete with cameos from Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris) leads to Philip propositioning Cathy. Cathy actually hears a proposal, though, and is conflicted about whether or not to accept a "no strings attached" arrangement. That Touch of Mink is really rather unexpectedly progressive in its dealing with this subject, at least for the relatively chaste time of 1962. Cathy gets an earful from the always opinionated Connie, while Philip has much the same happen with Roger. A series of escalating developments finally does lead to a trip to Bermuda for the pair, but things do not go swimmingly, as might be expected. Cathy is ultimately looking for a wedding ring, while Philip is merely looking.
That Touch of Mink has some very clever comedic bits, with some acerbic banter injected into the mix, especially from Connie and Roger. There's a subplot involving Roger's therapist (the always amusing Alan Hewitt) assuming that Roger's recounting of the amorous adventures of Philip and Cathy are actually about Philip and Roger, leading to a number of now quaint (if not slightly objectionable) seeming but still pretty funny punch lines. The film is probably a bit too repetitive for its own good, but its fairly fizzy and often rather ebullient, lifted by typically buoyant performances from its star pair. This is not laugh out loud hilarity (though there are a couple of moments, including some great sight gags involving Young, that are laugh out loud funny), but more of a gently amusing sex farce that proves age differences have little detrimental effect on well written comedy.
That Touch of Mink Blu-ray, Video Quality
That Touch of Mink is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Olive Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. Though the elements here have quite a bit of minor speckling and a few minimal scratches, this is actually one of the nicer looking catalog releases we've seen from Olive, especially in terms of the lustrous color, which does not look very faded, if at all. While flesh tones creep just slightly toward the brown side of things, otherwise this is still a really bright and beautifully vivid presentation, one which shows off the nice location work as well as a glut of fashions Day is adorned by throughout the film. While just a bit on the soft side, That Touch of Mink still offers very nice fine object detail and maintains a crisp, precise looking image that suffers from no egregious compression artifacts.
That Touch of Mink Blu-ray, Audio Quality
That Touch of Mink's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix has some surprising depth for an older mono track, something that helps George Duning's charming glockenspiel inflected score sound spry and magical. Dialogue is mostly very clearly presented (I had a few transitory moments where Audrey Meadows wasn't quite as loud as the rest of the film, but that could simply because she kind of yells throughout most of it). Fidelity is excellent, though there's negligible dynamic range.
That Touch of Mink Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
No supplements are offered on this Blu-ray disc.
That Touch of Mink Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Doris Day and Cary Grant both excelled at light comedy, and while That Touch of Mink is probably not the best film in this genre that either of these iconic stars made, it still has a wryly humorous ambience that carries it through its less effective moments. While Grant and Day are effortless in this exercise, most of the laughs come courtesy of Meadows and Young, both of whom have some great lines and, in the case of Young, business that really helps elevate the overall comedic impact of the film. Delbert Mann's direction is pretty unobtrusive, the film is bright and colorful, and though we know there's no doubt we're going to get to a happy ending, making the journey with these characters is quite a bit of fun. This Blu-ray features excellent video and audio and comes Recommended.
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