"I took Doris Day out of the kitchen and into the bedroom."
- Ross Hunter, Producer, Pillow Talk
Pillow Talk premier mayhem as women fight to get a closer look at Rock Hudson.
7 October 1959
A NICE, OLD-FASHIONED DEVICE OF THE THEATRE, THE TELEPHONE PARTY LINE, SERVES AS A QUAINT CONVENIENCE to bring together Rock Hudson and Doris Day in in what must be cheerfully acknowledged one of the most lively and up-to-date comedy-romances of the year. "Pillow Talk" is the item, and it was dually presented last night at the Palace and the new Murray Hill Theatre, 160 East Thirty-fourth Street.
"Bring together" may be slightly ambiguous and misleading to describe the precise liaison that the telephone accomplishes here, for the first result of the two principals' sharing the same line is a cool and remote antipathy. Miss Day as a fashionable interior decorator and Mr. Hudson as a successful song writer in New York initially insult each other as unidentified voices at either end of their party line.
Particularly, Miss Day hates Mr. Hudson because every time she picks up her phone she hears him burbling the same corny love song to an amazing variety of cooing girls. And he hates her because her angry interruptions convey an image of an envious old maid.
But once the romantic song writer gets a secret peek at Miss Day and realizes how wrong is his impression, the "bringing together" begins, and the telephone and Mr. Hudson's impersonation of an ardent Texan are combined to "push the romance from there.
It is really the clever, witty screen play that Stanley Shapiro and Maurice Richlin have prepared from a story by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene that accounts for much of the sparkle in this film. Their devices are crisp, their dialogue funny and their cinema mechanics are neat. Frequent clever use of a split screen make for fresh and appropriate drolleries. With a CinemaScope screen to play on, they and director Michael Gordon have much fun.
And this fun is transmitted to the audience in an easy and generous flow of ingeniously graphic situations and nimble repartee. The opportunity for the tricky song writer to court the lady through a wicked pretence of being a high-minded Texan is in Mr. Hudson's groove, and he carries off the delicate deception with surprising dexterity.
"You give me a real warm feeling," he softly drawls to Miss Day. "like a potbellied stove on a frosty morning."
What girl could resist that line?
Well, certainly not the young lady played fiercely and smartly by Miss Day, who has a delightful way of taking the romantic offensive against a man. Her dudgeons are as chic and spectacular as her nifty Jean Louis clothes, and her fall for Mr. Hudson's deceptions is as graceful as a ski-run down a hill. Singing is kept to a minimum, but Miss Day does cut loose a couple of times, very pleasantly, as usual. Perry Blackwell also sings two bistro songs.
In support of Miss Day and Mr. Hudson are Thelma Ritter as an alcoholic maid and Tony Randall as a disappointed suitor, than whom no others could be more droll. Nick Adams as a wolfish Harvard senior almost steals one sequence from Miss Day, and Marcel Dallio, Allen Jenkins and Lee Patrick are fun in a couple of scenes.
Color and some likeable music brighten this pretty film, which has a splendid montage of New York in it. Thank Universal for the boon.
Rock Hudson, Doris Day and Tony Randall.
"Director Michael Gordon - working from Maurice Richlin and Stanley Shapiro's lighthearted screenplay - has infused Pillow Talk with an irresistibly breezy sensibility that's certainly reflected in the charismatic performances, with Hudson and Day's palpable chemistry together evident almost immediately (it's consequently not difficult to see why they remain one of the most enduring on screen couples in cinematic history).
The presence of Tony Randall within the supporting cast only cements the film's exceedingly agreeable nature, as the actor delivers as entertaining a performance as one might have expected (Thelma Ritter does an equally effective job as Day's sassy confidant). The only overt deficiency within Pillow Talk comes in its final 20 minutes, with the expected fake break-up lasting much longer than one might have liked - though that's a fairly minor complaint for a romcom that still holds up surprisingly well all these years later." - ReelFilm.com
"It's a film that seems loaded with in-jokes. Some play with the actors' roles — Rock Hudson played a Texan much more seriously in the dramatic Academy Award-winning epic Giant, and of course Doris Day can't get through the film without getting a chance to sing some fabulous songs even though he's the songwriter! Others play on the cosmopolitan nature of the City and the suburban-housewife role that 1950s America shoehorned on women. From the stereotypically grand music as the camera tilts up a skyscraper, to characters getting romantic help from their psychiatrists, to the overeager Harvard man who "dig[s] older women," Pillow Talk takes jabs at the things that were unspoken of of polite society, even though everyone knows all about them. There also seems to be some buried social commentary, as all the nightclubs feature lily-white sharply-dressed customers and black or Caribbean musicians. It does bring to mind Holden Caulfield's comments about white vs. black singers in The Catcher in the Rye.
Still other in-jokes must've been either unintentional or truly limited in their inner circle, as is the case when Allen toys with Jan by suggesting that Stetson is gay, and Rock Hudson dangles his pinky and discusses recipes until Jan practically begs him to kiss her to prove it isn't true. Come to think of it, the mere suggestion of homosexuality is audacious, as the next year's Kubrick epic Spartacus had to excise all hints that Laurence Olivier's commanding Roman Senator was bisexual. Maybe the Code Office let it go because Rock Hudson's character did not turn out to be gay." - Taoyue.com
Doris Day and Thelma Ritter.
"Doris Day is bubbly-as-chewing-gum, Rock Hudson is stoically naughty in a chauvinistic way, Tony Randall is believably insecure as the client and college buddy Jonathan Forbes, and Jan's alcoholic maid is played by Thelma Ritter in much the same role that she played in Hitchcock's Rear Window — the dour, slightly coarse working-class woman who thinks all this intellectual activity between the two leads is silly and they should just jump into bed. And it's rather fun to listen to the music score which punctuates every on screen action in that style that works well for comedies like this one." - Taoyue.com
In 2009, "Pillow Talk" was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant and will be preserved for all time.
"Is Pillow Talk a sacred cow?"
"Whenever the film is discussed, I generally hear it praised as one of the all-time great romantic comedies. Oh, that legendary chemistry between Doris Day and Rock Hudson, and that delightful screwball plot which just keeps piling on the comedy! I'm not so sure. Revisiting Pillow Talk was a surprisingly disappointing experience. Though the film certainly has its share of old-fashioned charms, this breezy little flick is a far cry from the comedies of, say, Billy Wilder.
Any film from the 1950s that makes an attempt to deal with sexuality is inevitably going to feel a little dated, but Pillow Talk handles sex in a downright childish manner. One particularly uncomfortable scene features a young suitor attempting to force himself on Day. She resists, and eventually resorts to threatening the young man with telling his mother if he doesn't stop. He pauses and looks at her for a moment. "It's your word against mine," he says, attacking her lustfully before she finally shoves him off. We're meant to laugh at the goofball antics of the horny young lad, but the creepy date-rape undertone kills any potential humor. Day's eyebrow-raising expressions at the audacious impropriety of people having sex become annoying after a while. The film spends considerably too much time giggling over the way people react to anything having to do with sexuality.
The sexual politics of the film have been analyzed to death, and I don't think they are a primary factor in preventing the film from attaining success, but they should be noted. The whole film is more or less based on the assumption that every woman needs a man. After all, what is an intelligent woman worth, if they haven't got a handsome husband by their side? As evidence of this, the film presents us with an old maid played by Thelma Ritter, a washed-up alcoholic whose complete lack of marriage has obviously ruined her life. On the other hand, single men are not desperate in the least, but rather millionaire playboys who treat love like a carefree game. Maybe they'll succeed, maybe they won't, but hey, there's always someone else to go after if it doesn't work out."
Clark Douglas, DVD Verdict - Read More
On the set of Pillow Talk
"Roly-Poly" song from Pillow Talk
AWARDS FOR PILLOW TALK
Best Original Screenplay - Maurice Richlin - 1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science
Best Original Screenplay - Stanley Shapiro - 1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture -Tony Randall - 1959 Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Best Picture - Comedy - 1959 Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Best Color Art Direction - Russell A. Gausman - 1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science
Best Actress - Doris Day - 1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or C - Doris Day - 1959 Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Best Color Art Direction - Ruby Levitt - 1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science
Best Drama or Comedy Score - Frank De Vol - 1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science
Best Supporting Actress - Thelma Ritter - 1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science
Best Color Art Direction - Richard H. Riedel - 1959 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science
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