Alphabetical Movie – Lover Come Back
Lover Come Back is a perfect example of 60’s feminism viewed through the lens of Hollywood Producers who were, unfortunately, men.
Which means they had no idea what the hell they were doing.
The story involves a man (Rock Hudson), who is a sexist jackass and a woman (Doris Day) who dislikes him because he’s a sexist jackass. So he behaves like the “perfect man” for her and she falls for him.
Day plays a competent advertising executive and Hudson plays a far less competent one who has the important skill of knowing how to make other guys happy. He doesn’t have to put together the best campaign because he gets his clients drunk and laid.
Fortunately, it’s the sixties so all of his clients are men. His plans work perfectly.
So she’s competent but has to work twice as hard as he does just to get ahead. He’s pretty much a complete tool but is successful because he works in an industry (advertising) where being a tool is a benefit. That’s something we’ve all learned from “Mad Men.”
Eventually, she has to try to seduce a client (who is Rock Hudson in disguise) in order to win an account because her actual skills in advertising are irrelevant. Unlike Hudson, who doesn’t have to put his own body on the line to impress clients, Day has to do the seducing herself.
Because if you are a woman trying to make it, I guess, you are going to have to prostitute yourself one way or the other.
The ultimate prize at the end of the film, by the way, is just ending up with Hudson. It isn’t earning clients because she is the better worker (even though she is).
I shouldn’t get so annoyed by such movies. Yet it bugs me because they pretend they are doing a good thing by showing Day as a competent career woman and then they turn the movie into a romantic comedy where I’m supposed to be hoping she’ll end up with the guy who has been treating her like shit since the beginning of the movie.
To balance his horrible behavior, she is written to be shrill and difficult, which is why she can’t get a man.
Maybe she just can’t get a man like Hudson. Not Hudson’s fake “perfect” guy but rather his real “jackass” guy. Is that such a problem?
Instead, Hudson has to pretend to be a sort of effeminate charade of himself to be attractive to her. Given what we later learned about Hudson, this transition is somewhat ironic.
The film deals in stereotypes that make both main characters look like people who don’t deserve to be with anyone but each other. I guess it’s a good thing they were in the same movie.
Mainstream movies don’t keep up with feminism anyway. If they did, it seems like there might be more movies with female leads. Somebody might have already made a Wonder Woman movie, for instance.
Doris Day seems like the perfect feminist for a man. She is pretty, competent and aggressive but only until she lands her man. She poses a threat to men but one that is easily defeated by a romantic attachment and a glass ceiling.
Now it could be that I’m reading too much into the movie simply because I really don’t like Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies. Or it could be that part of the reason I don’t like them is that I don’t like the archetypes their characters represent.
Either way, I wouldn’t like to see any women I know end up with Rock Hudson. Not that he would have been interested…