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George At 

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Caprice


One of the stranger entries in the 1960's "how do we possibly complete with the UK cinema's OO7?" sweepstakes, 1967's CAPRICE plays almost like a spoof of the genre 50 years after its release.

Doris Day was nearing the end of her film career when she took on the role of corporate spy Patricia Forster. Playing cloak & dagger with secrets between two huge fragrance companies, this female OO7 seems to switch alliances every five minutes when she isn't dodging bullets, hanging off rooftops or jet setting from Paris to Manhattan.

Richard Harris followed up his role as King Arthur in "Camelot" the same year, playing fellow spy Christopher White, who has ten times more chemistry with the endless parade of models on 60's style display throughout than he does with Day.

Many of the scenes could be dropped into an Austin Powers movie uncut and provide untold laughs.

The filmmakers are trying so hard to be current (or should I say Mod Swinging Sixties baby!) that it's just awkwardly hilarious.

Day is better than you might expect. It's easy to dismiss her for the TV personality she became in the 70's than remember she was a huge box office star with respectable dramatic turns in Hitchcock thrillers like "The Man Who Knew Too Much".

But she and Harris are stranded on an island of absurdity in Caprice. I laughed more than a few times, but I'm not sure I was supposed to.....

By the time Ray Walston (South Pacific) was in drag and shooting at Doris and the same very bad Europe street on Fox's backlot was trotted out as an exotic location for the tenth time, interest dwindled.

At one point, the film is trying so hard to be 60's cool that Doris follows a suspect into a theatre playing "Caprice" starring Doris Day and Richard Harris.....in 1967, that might have been groovy, now its just painful.

Richard Harris hated the film so much that he refused to ever see it. Doris hated it too, often saying it was one of her three least favorite films and telling how her ex-husband signed her to do the film before she ever saw the script.

I think we can consider this celluloid evidence of justified cause for that divorce.

For all its travels through the big money world of fragrance titans, CAPRICE sure does stink.

I'll give it a D in honor of Doris.

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