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PILLOW TALK (1959)
An amorous playboy song writer, and a proper lady interior decorator, who hate each other because of having to share a partyline phone, find love and romance, despite the songwriter's original motivations.
Director Michael Gordon's "Pillow Talk" is fun, frothy, romantic comedy entertainment.
Promotional Lines... "It's what goes on when the lights go off!"
"It's about sex, but it's squeaky clean!" "One of the best bedroom comedies of the '50's."
The opening of the film shows us the problems of womanizer Brad Allen (Rock Hudson) and Jan Morrow (Doris Day) in having to share a telephone, known as a party line, which was a reality in some places in the late forties, early fifties. Every time that Jan Morrow picks up the phone to try to conduct business, she hears Brad Allen seducing a new woman, by playing the same song and singing it on the phone, always claiming that it was inspired by the current woman on the phone with him. To Brad, women were just challenges to seduce and conquer.
Needless to say, Jan despises Brad, not only because he hogs the phone, but also he represents the opposite of her ideal man; one who is honorable, loving, considerate, romantic and respectful of women, wanting a lasting relationship. Brad dislikes Jan, because she interrupts his phone calls, disapproves of his life style, and complained about him to the phone company.
It seems that Brad and Jan have a mutual friend that they didn't realize. One of Jan's clients of her interior decorating business, is millionaire Jonathan Forbes (Tony Randall), who also is an old college buddy of the amorous Brad. The twist is that Jonathan is head over heels in love with Jan, who sees Jonathan as just a good friend, and not marriage material because he has a bad marital track record, having had three marriages already.
Jonathan, who had hired his good friend, Brad, to write some songs for an upcoming Broadway musical, makes the tactical error or confiding to Brad his love for Jan, and also tells Brad her troubles with the phone hog she is forced to share a phone with.
Later, when Brad meets her in person, quite by accident in a restaurant /bar, when her escort passes out drunk, he comes to her rescue, pretending to be a wealthy Texan, Rex. He starts to court her mercilessly, because he sees her as a challenging woman to conquer, and wants to have a little fun, as well as a little revenge. While pretending to be her ideal man, with hopes of even getting her into the sack, humorous romantic complications ensue, fully entertaining the audience.
This hilarious, sparkling screenplay, by Russell Rouse, Maurice Richlin, Stanley Shapiro, and Clarence Greene, won an Oscar. With Clever plot twists, witty dialog, humorous situations, great pacing, and a talented cast, one sees why it won. Although mild by today's standards, Hudson's attempts to get Jan in the sack were considered risque for it's day.
In one scene, the gallant, romantic Rex, has taken the love-smitten Jan on a horse-drawn buggy ride through the park, himself holding the reins, with Jan sitting next to him, and the carriage driver sitting in the back. While spinning a rustic story to Jan, the film makers let you hear what they all are really thinking or worrying about, a la "Annie Hall," which is quite funny, especially the carriage driver's thoughts.
Some other favorite scenes are those between Randal and Hudson. The contrast between easygoing snakey playboy Hudson and the love-struck, worry wart Randal, living in the shadow of his father's legend, provides much humor.
Doris Day was nominated for the best actress Oscar for her role as Jan, considered to be "one of her freshest, sexiest, and funniest performances."
Rock Hudson is very convincing as the womanizing playboy who despite himself falls in love with Jan. Rock has a talent when it comes to comedy, which he fully displays in this screenplay.
Day and Hudson together were sizzling on screen, both as sparring partners and being a couple in love. This is the first, and some would say the best, of the Hudson/Day romantic teamings. Hudson and Day have great chemistry on camera. They supposedly got along pretty well when the cameras WEREN'T rolling, and the mutual affection translates nicely to the screen.
Tony Randall and Thelma Ritter provide great support, and added much to the film
Tony Randall does a great job, as the jealous, rejected suitor of Jan, that wants the best for Jan, and tries to protect her from the machinations of his revengeful, woman-loving friend, Brad.
Ritter in particular, as Jan's smart mouthed maid, often with a hangover, has perfect comic timing, whether listening in to romeo Brad's phone calls, or offering Jan unsolicited comments and advice. Ritter, a much beloved actress, made a distinguished career playing cynical, plain speaking women. With her performance in this film, she was nominated for best supporting actress.
The film is "a brightly ingenious example of cinematic know - how" and is enjoyable for the whole family.