I’d never seen the film before, and for the first 15 minutes or so, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. It started out on a fairly hokey note, with Debbie Reynolds‘ backwoods girl Tammy rescuing Peter (Nielsen) when his plane crashes near the houseboat where she lives with her moonshiner Grandpa (Walter Brennan).
Once Tammy found herself a visitor in Peter’s ancestral Southern mansion, the movie quickly won me over. Innocent, direct Tammy’s honest opinions lead to some amusing moments and help Peter’s parents (Sidney Blackmer and Fay Wray) and his aunt (Mildred Natwick) discover what they truly want in life.
Reynolds and Nielsen are a charming pair in what turns out to be a gradual, tender romance. I liked that there was never any awful misunderstanding or other clichéd romantic problem. The fadeout set to the classic theme music brought a happy tear to my eye. Plain and simple, it’s a feel-good movie.
The title song by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans is sung by The Ames Brothers over the opening credits. Reynolds’ gentle, heartfelt performance of the song, sitting on a window seat late at night, is the loveliest scene in the film. Indeed, it’s a quintessential ’50s movie moment which lingers in the memory.
Nielsen’s obituaries have largely focused on the comedy roles for which he became so well known in the last part of his career. When I think of him, first and foremost I think of his roles as a handsome leading man of the ’50s and early ’60s. This movie was released the year after Nielsen appeared in the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet. He’s quite good in a sincere performance as a nice guy who gradually realizes Tammy’s all grown up and the woman he’s meant to be with.
The cast also includes Mala Powers, Louise Beavers, Philip Ober and Craig Hill. It was directed by Joseph Pevney (The Crowded Sky) and was filmed in Technicolor and CinemaScope. The movie runs 89 minutes and is available in a nice print on DVD along with Tammy Tell me True and Tammy and the Doctor.
Laura G. is a proofreader and homeschooling parent who is a lifelong film enthusiast. Laura’s thoughts on classic films, Disney, and other topics can be found at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, established in 2005. Visit her website at http://www.laurasmiscmusings.blogspot.com.