Produced by 20th Century Fox, ‘Move Over, Darling’ was a comedic hit when launched back in 1963. The film stars Doris Day as Ellen Wagstaff Arden—the wife who had been lost at sea and returned five years later. However, upon coming home, she found out her husband was off on his honeymoon with his new wife. With James Garner as her husband, Nicholas, and Polly Berden as the second wife, Bianca, this film brings smiles through both farcical and slapstick comedy.
Throughout the film, Day has no limits to what she’ll do to get a laugh from the audience. Sometimes it’s as simple as falling off a chair, other times it’s as major as impersonating a Swedish nurse to get Nicholas away from Bianca. Her gimmicks may steal the show, but the strong personalities of the other characters definitely add more fun to the film. Ranging from the clingy and haughty Bianca to the plotting mother-in-law to the flustered Nicholas, it is rare to have a dull moment in the film.
While the humor is entertaining, it is also interesting to pay attention to the gender roles in the film. There are numerous occasions when Nicholas asserts his superiority as the male of the house. His life insurance is worth $100,000 while Ellen’s is $50,000, and when a notary comes for a signature from Ellen, Nicholas says, “She’s not signing anything unless I read it first”. Later on, Nicholas and Stephen (a man on the deserted island with Ellen) argue over who Ellen should be with based on how much time they had had with her.
Despite the predefined gender roles, this movie is still a refreshing blast from the past. The humor is innocent, but can still give audiences of all ages a good laugh. If you’re not a Doris Day fan already, get ready to become one after watching, ‘Move Over, Darling’.