Pillow Talk (1959) – Michael Gordon

Pillow Talk, the flirty, fun comedy starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson is the next recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book following my screening of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The key element to the film is something a lot of people won’t understand these days, the shared party line. Long before private phones, there were shared phone lines, and this is the central point to the film.

Doris Day plays Jan Morrow, an interior decorator in New York. She shares a party line with composer Brad Allen (Hudson) who is a bit of a rogue and philanderer. When Jan does some work for Jonathan Forbes (Tony Randall) he develops feelings and plans for her.

He confides all this in one of his best friends, Brad.

When Brad meets Jan by chance, he pretends to be a tourist from Texas, Rex Stetson (though his accent is horrible), and woos her. Jonathan won’t be put off from his perceived unrequited love, so he hires a detective to track down Stetson.

The film is surprisingly fun as the two of them begin to fall for one another despite their best intentions.

pillow

It’s funny to think that the film was considered risque at the time, where as now, it seems to feel like it plays it safe, and is just a lot of fun. There’s some fun dialogue, some not so subtle innuendo, and a lot of split screen phone calls. In fact the split screen allows for some fun gags, and the banter is truly enjoyable.

The film earned Day an Oscar nomination, lets her sing a couple of songs, and lets the two of them look like they are having a great time.

The sex comedies of the 50s and 60s could be hit or miss, but this one works wonderfully, and the reveal when Jan realises who she’s with is brilliantly executed, and fantastically played, setting up the climax of the film rather nicely.

I mean, of course there is a happy ending, after revenge is had by both parties for everything they’ve gone through, and Brad and Jan get to have their happily ever after.

Watching it now, it’s hard to see what was so risque about the film, but at the time it must have seemed rather bold, and edgy, coupling nicely with the fun and flirty nature of the film. I think at the time, this probably would have been a fun date movie.

Now, it’s just retro fun.

Pillow Talk 1

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