Play It Again – That Touch of Mink

Play It Again – That Touch of Mink. By Jess Lomas.

Play It Again is a weekly feature in which classic-film connoisseur Jess Lomas revisits a revered motion picture from the annals of movie history, to see if it holds up… or if it has aged terribly. And yes, it takes its name from a famously misquoted Casablanca line (hey, whatever; it fits!).

A woman who wants to get married before being bedded, and a man who wants an affair without the commitment. It’s hardly a revolutionary plot line that makes That Touch of Mink such a delightful film. Instead, it is the pairing of the darling Doris Day, the eternal virgin, with the charismatic Cary Grant in Delbert Mann’s 1962 romantic comedy.

Grant plays Philip Shayne, a wealthy businessman with his eye on Cathy Timberlake (Day) after his car splashes her with mud while she’s en route to a job interview. While Cathy soon falls head over heels for him, it is her friend Connie (Audrey Meadows) who sees his playboy ways and attempts to save her from ruin. Philip’s assistant Roger (Gig Young) also weighs in as a guilt-ridden accomplice to Philip’s womanising. A trip to Bermuda together poses several moral challenges for Cathy, even when Philip discovers he may be falling in love with her.

There have been many criticisms thrown at this film over the years; most notably that both leads were too old to portray both the virgin and the foxlike pursuer, with the film marking Cary’s last such role in his career. That Touch of Mink was in fact something of a comeback for Grant, whose recent films, save North by Northwest, had not lived up to his previous successes.

Written by Stanley Shapiro (Pillow Talk) and Nate Monaster, the picture would not resonate with critics as much as Shapiro’s previous film starring Day and her go-to partner Rock Hudson, Lover Come Back. It did however earn three Oscar nominations, including Best Screenplay, and was the second highest grossing film of the year.

That Touch of Mink is a classic battle of the sexes flick with a sharp screenplay brought alive by the hilarious performances of two of the genre’s best. Of course, comparing its plot with the latest rom-com playing in cinemas will have most viewers scoffing and switching off. However in the context of the period, this is one of the more under-appreciated gems exploring sexuality.

Discuss: That Touch of Mink!

2 Responses to “Play It Again – That Touch of Mink”

  1. And that ending! So utterly hilarious! Hee hee hee.

    I confess I loathed this film for a very long time until I watched it again recently — going through a Doris Day phase — and suddenly the penny dropped and I realised exactly the context and the slyness of the comedy. And still the ending took me totally by surprise, made me roar with laughter. :p

  2. Also, how adorable is Gig Young? I feel quite guilty for loving him so much in the two films I’ve seen so far, considering the havoc he wreaked in his personal life. Such a great actor, what a waste of a talent.

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