Cathy Timberlake (Doris Day) isn’t having the best day. Struggling to find a job, she is headed to the unemployment office to pick up a check when she’s nearly smushed flat by a passing limousine. She survives, but her outfit doesn’t, splattered with mud.
Philip Shayne (Cary Grant), the man in the limo, later spots Cathy from his office window and sends one of his employees, Roger (Gig Young), to make apologies. Roger offers Cathy money to replace her dress, but that’s not enough to make up for the trouble. Encouraged by her roommate Connie (Audrey Meadows), Cathy decides to pay Philip a personal visit and give him a piece of her mind.
Philip Shayne isn’t just a wealthy businessman, though. He’s a charmer, a ladies’ man… and soon after she meets him, Cathy is smitten. Is it possible for her to find love with this womanizer, or will their fling end in disaster?
Delbert Mann directs 1962’s That Touch of Mink.
I first watched That Touch of Mink in the early years of my Cary Grant obsession. Sad to say, it didn’t make much of an impression! I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t stick in my mind in the way of Charade, To Catch a Thief, or The Talk of the Town — all of which are still among my Cary favorites. I decided to revisit the film while housesitting for my sister a couple months ago, as it was one of few classic titles available on Netflix.
After giving the film a second look, I can’t say it’s moved any higher on my Cary ranking, or my Doris Day ranking for that matter. The two don’t work as well together in a rom-com as one may hope, though separately they were involved in some of the most delightful of the genre. It is interesting to see Doris play somewhat against type, but as fashionable and likable as she may be in the role of Cathy, she’s a little hard to buy as the “workplace temptress” unable to keep a job due to the jealousy of her bosses’ wives.
There are, however, some things working in the film’s favor. There’s a delightful ’60s fashion show sequence, the type quite frequently found in colorful, lighthearted Hollywood flicks. The New York Yankees (including Yogi Berra) have a dugout cameo, which is fun. Audrey Meadows is a trip as Connie, Cathy’s sassy roommate. There’s a secretary makeover “hair down/glasses off” moment that gave me a chuckle because it reminded me of Arrested Development.
Some of the dialogue has clever touches. Two quotes I took note of while watching: “Does a snake know he is a snake? He crawls on his stomach and thinks he’s a king, right?,” and “He’s so low, to bury him they’re gonna have to dig up!”
Little moments of fun aside, all of you fellow Cary Grant enthusiasts will be interested to know that in one scene, he catches a cab while wearing only a towel. Hubba hubba! Upon discovering that Cathy was almost killed by Philip’s car, someone tells her, “What a delightful way to go!” Clearly, Cary’s character is meant to have just as much appeal with the ladies as the actor himself, and since he’s unable to appear anything less than suave on screen, it’s 100% believable.
My opinion of That Touch of Mink hasn’t exactly improved with this re-watch, but it’s a decent flick. As much as it pains me to say, since I do love Mr. Grant, this probably would have worked a lot better as a Day/Hudson pairing. As it stands, though, the film is alright and worth a watch for fans of ’50s rom-coms, as well as my fellow Cary G. devotees.