ARTE TV commissions new documentary film “What A Difference A Day Made: DORIS DAY SUPERSTAR”
Published: March 14, 2009

A quirky, new documentary film about Doris Day will debut in Europe on the small screen in time for her birthday.

“What A Difference A Day Made – Doris Day Superstar” is a brand new documentary film, that has been produced by Andrew Davies and André Schäfer for Florian Film, a German production company based in Cologne. The project was commissioned for the European culture channel ARTE TV for broadcast prior to Doris Day’s 2009 birthday.

I do think it is an unfortunate situation that when the words “biography” and “Doris Day” are used in the same sentence one becomes a tad uneasy. I think I can speak for the majority of DD admirers when I say most of us empathise with the star’s wishes to live a peaceful existence without any more unscrupulous individuals trying to make a fast buck out of her life. But on saying that no one can deny the fact that it is human nature for us to be genuinely interested in how such a truly special and talented lady came to great prominence.

I am relieved to report that this latest biographical offering is nothing more than that. It is an endearing account of Doris Day’s life and career delivered in a quirky and fun way. It’s as cute and as wholesome as the lady it is about – offering a fascinating insight into Doris’s distant Germanic roots, her hardworking days in Hollywood and twilight years retired with her dogs in a picturesque and pet-friendly town. There is not a hint of tabloid spin but instead serious and respectful journalism which actually enables Joe Public to impartially appraise the woman who is a cultural icon of the 20th and 21st century.

What I commend most of all is the German production team have not tried to compete with the “authorised” 1998 A&E Biography which I consider to be the most definitive television programme about Doris Day (especially as it features many of Ms. Day’s co-stars and friends who have sadly since passed away). It instead delivers a cheery, “tongue-in-cheek” study which is remarkably refreshing and enjoyable to watch.

The nuts and bolts of what you can expect are a healthy dose of movie, television and song clips which represent all facets of Doris Day the entertainer; unique material from private archives; all-new interviews with actors Philip Brown, Peter Graves, Jackie Joseph and Noah Keen, biographers Pierre Patrick and Tom Santopietro, Doris Day fans, childhood acquaintances and even distant relatives from Germany. This is all wrapped up with some fascinating on-location filming of historical landmarks and buildings relevant to Doris Day’s family, career and life from her birth place of Cincinnati, her current home town of Carmel-by-the-Sea to the German province. A 2008 telephone conversation between Doris and the film’s makers is also notably contained which occurred during Doris’s annual “birthday” call-in on her local radio station with DJ Ed Dickinson [where the production team were visiting].
My only slight criticism about this film is it could have paid a little more attention to the wonderful work Doris and her animal organisations undertake. Other than that it is apparent throughout that those involved have taken due care to compile a project which is merely a timely reminder of what a difference having Doris Day has made to the world.

Although a limited run of promotional DVDs were produced for the European press a general release will not go ahead. I understand from the production makers this is because the cost to clear the music featured is cost prohibitive.

“What A Difference A Day Made – Doris Day Superstar” will be aired in Germany and France on April 2nd (ARTE, 90 minutes) and in the Netherlands on March 29th (AVRO) in a shorter version (52minutes).