On a Tuesday evening after a long brawl with work and long overdue chores I decided to relax by popping in GOOD MORNING, MISS DOVE starring the ever wooden Jennifer Jones. I wasn’t expecting much but the premise of a strict and disciplinarian mature schoolteacher who succeeds in changing the lives of her students pricked up my ears. I mean, how would it not? It’s Jennifer Jones we’re talking here, the queen of over the top films such as DUEL IN THE SUN, RUBY GENTRY or INDISCRETION OF AN AMERICAN WIFE. It’s a no brainer, really. I was so prepared to smirk all the way through. Well, as it turns out the joke was on me since GOOD MORNING, MISS DOVE is a pretty involving little film.
Oh don't get me wrong, it’s still syrupy and dated and even cringe-worthy at times (I‘m talking mostly about Chuck Connors, here, whose turn as an ex-student slash policeman reaches almost the rank of sociopathic creepiness) but despite those facts I did find myself drawn into this story of ordinary folks and their many problems; especially those of our main character whose option to save the rep of her deceased but crook dad comes with a spinsterish price (all seen through flashbacks). Her deteriorating health is also another matter, but thanks to the care of former student turned local doctor Robert Stack (TV’s THE UNTOUCHABLE) she is saved. And to commemorate this turn of event, she gets a big dose of love—not from the man she pushed away (another flashback), though that would have been oversentimentally peachy keen, but from the entire town which just can’t see itself going on without their favorite but still prissy schoolteacher. Cue in a touched Jennifer Jones and you, the spectator, reaching for a box of Kleenex from all this melodrama.
GOOD MORNING, MISS DOVE is based on a novel by Frances Gray Patton and it also stars SISTER ACT Mary Wickes. It is directed by Henry Koster who a few years before had been nominated for an Oscar for THE BISHOP’S WIFE starring the duo pairing of Cary Grant and Loretta Young. He then had a successful streak with HARVEY (1950), MY COUSIN RACHEL (1952) and THE ROBE (1953). This Jennifer Jones vehicle is fluffier than his usual fare but the end result is still quite attractive if you don’t mind its very traditional ways. Remember, this is just a few years before the swinging ‘60s and the flower power trend. Imagine how different it all would have been had it been in that era. Anyway, pick up GOOD MORNING, MISS DOVE. Like me, you’ll get caught up in it despite its cotton candy sweetness.
Until next post—Martin