Tunnel of Love, The (1958): Flat Romantic Comedy, Starring Doris Day and Richard Widmark

Tunnel of Love, a flat, uninspired romantic comedy, was directed by choreographer-dancer-singer Gene Kelly in black and white and on a low budget.

Doris Day Glass Bottom Boat

Photo: Day in her other bad film, Glass Bottom Boat.

Based on the Broadway hit play by Peter De Vries and Joseph Fields, the story centers on a married suburban couple, played by Richard Widmark and Doris Day, who show no screen chemistry. Widmark, a man of many talents, but no comedic skills, was simply miscast.

Our grade: C (** out of *****)

For reasons that are unexplained, the couple are unable to conceive a child and decide to adopt, but the road to adoption is full of obstacles and misunderstandings.

Neither the leads nor the supporting actors (Gig Young, Gia Scala) seem particularly interested or involved in the material, and all that Kelly (who doesn’t star) can do as a helmer is transfer the theatrical material to the big screen without any spirit or energy.

Doris Day seldom mentioned this picture–one of her worst–in interviews, though it should be noted that in the following year, she made one of her best comedies, Pillow Talk, opposite Rock Hudson, which would garner her her first and only Best Actress Oscar nomination.