CLASSIC REEL : Pillow Talk

Cast: Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall and Thelma Ritter

Year of release: 1959

Directed by: Michael Gordon

Plot:  A womanising bachelor constantly bickers with a woman over the telephone party line they share. But after he finally meets his beautiful adversary in person, he goes out of his way to court her,  by assuming another identity.

Nope... not that kind of pillow talk- when a couple has an intimate conversation after sex. Considering this comedy was set in the 1950s- and when Hollywood was still censored- don't expect any sex scene at all, but a funny and delightful film about deceit and mistaken identity, all in the name of love.

Pillow Talk was the late Rock Hudson's first romantic comedy and the first of three comedies he starred with the lovely Doris Day- who at 97- is still with us. And almost every aspect of the film takes us back to a simpler time; when there was more pastel, far less baring of the flesh in films, when the internet and mobile phones were non existent, and the use of  rotary phones and 'party lines'- a telephone line being shared by more than one subscriber, which means you can pick up the phone and hear more than one person in conservation with another person... which must have been SO annoying back then, I can't imagine such a thing working in this digital era.

Doris Day played Jan Morrow, a single and independent woman who works as an interior decorator for wealthy clients, one of them named Jonathan (Tony Randall) constantly urging her to marry him even though he's been married- and divorced- more than once and choosing to ignore Jan's gentle refusals. And she has a nagging problem, the dude who shares her telephone party line, Brad Allen (Hudson), constantly keeps the line busy by talking to his various girlfriends and she is forced to listen to them as she waits for him to hang up so she can use the phone. Honestly, HOW did people manage back then? Anyway, Jan is a no-nonsense woman who cannot stand Brad because of his womanising and inconsiderateness and Brad, in turn, choose to annoy Jan even more and gets angrier with her after she reports him to the phone company and dismisses her as a jealous and prissy spoilsport.

But that all changed when he spots her at a club and realises who she is via eavesdropping, and  Brad is immediately smitten, yet knowing how she feels about him despairs over how he can court the beautiful Jan. Hence, the beginning of a funny yet sweet charade as Brad introduces himself to Jan as Rex, a humble rancher from Texas- along with a fake Texan accent, which to everyone's surprise- she readily falls for, finding this charming country gentleman a lot better than the annoying Brad she fights with over the phone.

For the rest of the film, viewers would keep their fingers crossed and rooting for Brad as he courts Jan and wondering what she would say when she finds out the truth. We are treated to constant split screens as Jan first argues with Brad and then shares loving conversations with 'Rex' while they are both in bed- hence the film's title,  'Pillow Talk'.

This film which won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay is a delightful, funny and sweet love story; several of its elements used in the 2003 Down With Love- starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor; with Tony Randall (who played Jonathan) making a cameo appearance.


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