Please Note: Review Contains Plot Lines and Spoilers.
Send Me No Flowers; Stars Rock Hudson (George Kimble), Doris Day (Judy Kimble), Tony Randall (Arnold), Edward Andres (Dr Ralph Morrissey), Clint Walker (Bert Power), Paul Lynde (Mr Akins), Hal March (Winston ‘Winnie’ Burr).
Released in 1964 by Universal and is in colour.
This movie was the last of the three movies in which Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall all stared together. The previous two being ‘Lover Come Back’ in 1961 and ‘Pillow Talk in 1959’. All three movies are classics and I enjoyed each very much.
Send Me No Flowers starts with an opening song sung by Doris Day called ‘Send Me No Flowers’. This is another one of those songs from movies that can stay in your mind for some time. Even while writing this blog post, I can hear it in my head! It is a nice tune and is played in the background several times throughout this classic film.
We see George Kimble (played by Rock Hudson) lying in bed asleep dreaming about different types of commercials, each selling different medical cures. Everything from headache pills to stomach ache cures. Tossing and turning he finally awakes; and like every other morning he heads to the bathroom for his daily dose of pills and throat sprays from his large and well stocked bathroom medicine cabinet. You see, George is a hypochondriac and spends his entire day (and dreams) preoccupied about what disease or injury is going to kill him; although he doesn’t believe he is a Hypochondriac. After jumping into a hot steaming shower and testing his temperature with a thermometer; you see by the reaction on his face the temperature reading is high. But he overlooks the fact he is in a hot shower.
While he is upstairs showering and going through his morning medical routine, Judy (played by Doris Day – his wife), is downstairs doing her morning routine of collecting the newspaper, eggs and milk delivery off the front porch. The problem is her hands are so full she accidentally shuts the door on herself while trying to remove the morning paper from the mail slot in the door. Locked outside she now yells for George to help. He of course is too busy in the shower and medicine cabinet. Upset, she trips and drops all her groceries, smashing the milk bottle and breaking all the eggs. With broken eggs now all over her slippers, she climbs back inside the house through an open window. But not without a wolf whistle from the neighbourhood delivery boy happily looking on.
Finally at breakfast, George tops up on some more vitamin pills; he is also very concerned about the pain he has in his chest. Worried, he made an appointment with Dr Morrissey (played by Edward Andres) later that day. We also hear that their neighbours ‘The Bullard’s are getting a divorce.
Later that morning at a meeting with Winston ‘Winnie’ Burr (played by Hal March); we see Winston (who plays a sleazy, womanizing character), call Mrs Bullard for a get together that night. This is his way of getting closer to her, at a time when her marriage is falling apart and she is vulnerable. Although of no consequence to George at the time, he later remembers Winston’s way of picking up woman when in a similar position.
Off to the Doctor’s appointment later that day, he meets up with Dr Morrissey. He explains to the doctor about the pain in his chest; and especially how painful it is when he pokes it. So, the doctor tells him not to poke it! After an examination, he is told it is just simple indigestion and not to worry; but the Dr gives George some pills to take home with him. While there, George is also curious as to how his test results went for his previous cardiogram. The Dr tells him it hasn’t arrived back yet, so George heads to the bathroom for some water to take his first pill. While doing so, he overhears Dr Morrissey talking to a heart specialist (Dr Peterson) on the phone. Without hearing the whole conversation, he wrongly assumes the diagnosis that he hears, is actually his own. So now leaving the Dr office, he assumes he is dying of a heart problem and only has weeks to live. He believes the ‘indigestion’ diagnosis was just told to him by Dr Morrissey, as a gesture of kindness so he wouldn’t worry.
On the ride home on the train with Arnold (played by Tony Randall & next door neighbour), he tells him the diagnosis he just “received”. Upon hearing the news Arnold gets drunk, and also volunteers to write the eulogy and take care of the funeral plans. They decide not to tell Judy, but plan to ensure she is looked after when George passes on. So now both Arnold and George begin the quest to find Judy a new husband.
First stop for George is to pay for his burial plot. So he meets up with Mr Akins (played by Paul Lynde) of the Green Hills Funeral Home. Together they set him a plot space, and while there he decides to go all out and buy one for Judy and her future husband also. Paul Lynde plays a great part in the movie; a quirky odd character, and a perfect fit.
Paul Lynde was best known for his role as Uncle Arthur in Bewitched.
George, Judy and Arnold head to the golf club for a day out. At this stage Judy still doesn’t know of George’s illness. While Judy is playing Golf elsewhere on the course, George and Arnold head out to look over potential prospects for Judy to re-marry. One by one they all get crossed off the list for one reason or another. But one man who finds Judy is Bert (played by Clint Walker). Her golf cart goes out of control on the course and Bert saves her on his horse. Bert is a large and powerful man; who is also a rich oil magnate. It also turns out that he and Judy went to the same college together. Although George is not happy with Bert and his obvious affection for Judy; Arnold suggests that Bert could be Judy’s future husband, the man they have been looking for. George decides to go along with it for Judy’s happiness.
Clint Walker played in the TV series Cheyenne. But he is also recognized from the 1967 movie ‘The Dirty Dozen’ alongside Lee Marvin.
George decides to leave a recorded message for Judy to let her know she shouldn’t feel guilty about marrying Bert when he is gone. He lets Arnold (who is now constantly drunk since hearing the diagnosis on the train), hear the message, who then hits the bottle harder, now more upset.
George, Judy and Bert are all out together at a dinner dance. It is here George tries to push Judy into dancing and spending more time with Bert. While standing back and watching everyone dance he meets up with Winston and Linda Bullard (the woman Winston called on the phone at the beginning of the movie). Winston brags at his new conquest. George is unhappy with this, so tells Linda what Winston is up to. She is very glad and hugs and kisses him with thanks. This is where Judy walks in and catches them both in the act. Upset, she now thinks that George’s distant and cold behaviour is now due to him having an affair with Linda.
With no option, George tells her about his upcoming death, his diagnosis. Now treating George like a terminal patient, Arnold and Judy care for his every need, including wheeling him around in a wheelchair. Arnold still gets around drunk.
Arnold and Judy try to reach Dr Morrissey but he is out fishing; so they continue George’s home care alone. Later while Judy and George are in bed talking about old times, the doorbell rings. It is Dr Morrissey now back, and delivering fish he caught on his fishing trip. It is here Judy learns that George is not sick at all. She is furious. She once again thinks this was a cover-up by George to hide an affair with Linda. George still thinks he is really dying. Just for a little while, Judy doesn’t let on to George she knows. But soon does! Along with George outside, she throws his medicine products all over him and out the window. Kicked out, he is now Arnold’s roommate.
Sharing a room and a bed together, makes for good comedy between George and Arnold.
Upon hearing of their marital problems, Winston Burr tries his sleazy tricks on Judy and invites her out for a drink. George overhears Winston talking to Judy on the phone, and knows what that means.
George calls Dr Morrissey and finally gets the true diagnosis; he isn’t going to die. He tells Arnold, who feels put out after all the work and heavy drinking he has done, on the assumption George would die soon.
George tries to explain the whole story to Judy, but she wants nothing to do with him and turns to Bert for advice.
Now with Judy hating him, George is unsure what to do. So he goes next door to ask Arnold (a lawyer) for some advice on getting Judy back and to love him again. Arnold tells him to confess to an affair with a woman (even though it isn’t true). It would be the quickest way to get her to forgive him. Just tell her what she wants to hear and she will forgive and forget.
But before he gets the chance, Judy heads for the airport. Finally catching her and using Arnold’s advice, George admits to an affair with a woman named Dolores Yellowstone. The Yellowstone part was quickly thought up on the spot by looking at a national park poster on the wall. He even uses the cheque book receipt of $1000 (he actually used to pay for the burial plots) as proof that he tried to pay off the woman to leave him alone. The problem is, it backfires on him. Judy hates even more now. George isn’t happy with Arnold.
The saving grace is Mr Akins turns up at the house with the receipt for the burial plot, which matches the cheque stub for $1000. Judy now realizes there was no affair after all and George was telling the truth all along. George comes home for one last try to explain. She forgives him. Then the doorbell rings, it is Winston Burr with flowers to meet Judy. He meets George’s fist instead.
Send Me No Flowers is a really fun and good feeling comedy. You can clearly see the friendship between the three actors and especially between Doris Day and Rock Hudson. It is in the top of my favourite’s movies and probably my favourite Rock Hudson movie. I can’t think of any other movie like it, and to me that is what makes it so special. A classic old movie from a time in film history we will not see again, unfortunately.
Who Else Could Have Played The Part?
This is so hard to decide. I think Rock Hudson is the best actor for the part. But I think Cary Grant had the same comedic talent as Rock Hudson and would have suited this part also.
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