Pillow Talk (1959)

So here is a movie I’ve avoided for years, because by this point in Hollywood history, the romcom is getting increasingly licentious and overt, and kinda gross. And taken as a harbinger of what’s to come, yeah, Pillow Talk is squarely in that category with a tomcatting Rock Hudson wooing an uptight 37-year-old Doris Day. But as an isolated film, it’s pretty cute. And while Doris Day was way too old for the part, she could’ve pulled it off except, as The Flower noted, the fashions of the era were not the older woman’s friend. (Of course, Day does pull it off because we, the audience, politely don’t notice her age.)

What?!
Or that Rock is actually checking out the cameraman.

The story is that Hudson and Day share a party line and she can’t ever make calls because he’s busy wooing women over the phone. Her frustration leads to a contretemps where he basically accuses her of not getting any, and I guess that’s close enough to home that it gets under her skin. Later, of course, he sees her, falls in love, but realizes he can’t possibly admit who he really is, ’cause he’s been such a jerk to her. This leads to a series of amusing torments he inflicts on her with his asymmetrical information.

It’s cute. Not great, but cute. Rock makes a convincing heterosexual. Tony Randall does not. (Though he is also charming in this.)

Old dad couldn’t keep his mouth shut, of course. I mentioned that it was ironic that Hudson did one of his bits as a flaming stereotype. She inquired as to why that was ironic and I had to break the news to her. She was…disappointed. “Other girls got Rock for two decades! I only had him for two hours!”

In my defense, I don’t quite get the appeal.

Well, maybe I get it a little.
I guess if you like strong jaws, full heads of hair, broad shoulders….

A subplot with Thelma Ritter has her being oblivious to the affections of Allen Jenkins, the elevator operator. Thelma Ritter, of course, comes up all the time in our viewing, even for just a moment. But Jenkins was also a mainstay of TV and movies for decades, one of those guys (if you’re of a certain age), you see and say “Hey, it’s that guy!”

Director Jack Gordon would go on to direct the James Garner/Doris Day vehicle Move Over, Darling, which is probably also fine and cute.

I guess my thing is I compare them to the great romcoms of the late ’30s/early ’40s. And compared to that…

Too many hungry people losing weight.
Too many people, sharing party lines.

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