20th Century Fox
Doris Day, Richard Harris, Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, Edward Mulhare
It's easy to see why an awkward curiosity like 1967's Caprice
would be relegated to an asterisk at best in film-history textbooks. It's too arty and self-referential to appeal to a mass audience and too conventionally, even stupidly, written to appeal to the art-house crowd. It begins a subversive satire only to demand later it be taken as a serious romantic thriller. So it's lingered in a limbo between visionary and quotidian, embraced mostly by Frank Tashlin auteurists happy to find pieces of postmodern popcorn in an otherwise kernel-filled movie. Tashlin was an animator before moving on to films, and his background is obvious here. Caprice
may find its stale plot points inspired by the trendy espionage thrillers of the day, but the aural tapestry and wacky, rubbery antics are pure Looney Tunes. Tashlin's style shines through, echoing A Woman Is a Woman
(Doris Day's character passes by a theater marquee showing Caprice
in one Brechtian moment) as much as Charade
. There's much love to go around for this bizarre movie, which is granted a Criterion-level treatment from Fox: a commentary track, three featurettes and archival radio interviews from stars Day and Richard Harris.