31 July 2006 | Isaac5855
A New Screen Coupling Creates Box Office Magic
By 1958, Doris Day's career was on the downslide and something drastic needed to be done to revive her career. 1959'S PILLOW TALK redefined Doris' image and created an entirely new genre of the "will she or won't she" sex comedy as well as introducing one of the greatest romantic screen couplings in history...Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Day plays Jan Morrow, an interior decorator who shares her phone line with Brad Allen (Hudson) a song-writing playboy who ties up Doris' phone by singing love songs (actually the same song) over the phone to the parade of women in his life. Day's attempts to get a private phone line fail and she and Hudson begrudgingly come up with a system to share the phone which Hudson doesn't stick to. Tony Randall plays Jonathan Forbes, a rich playboy who is a client of Doris' and Rock's best friend, who is crazy about Doris but she doesn't feel the same way. One night, Brad discovers Jan at a nightclub and knowing she already hates him, pretends to be a wealthy Texan in order to romance her and this is where the fun begins. Yes, the story is dated because party lines are virtually a thing of the past but it is the linchpin upon which this story delightfully plays out. Director Michael Gordon cleverly uses split-screen images to put Doris and Rock together on screen in seemingly compromising positions, very adult for 1959 and watching Brad pretending to be cowboy Rex Stetson, trying to romance Jan while Brad tries to advise Jan over the phone about what a cad Rex is, is a lot of fun. Day lights up the screen here, in a luminous performance that earned her her first and only Oscar nomination. Hudson, previously only seen in dramatic films up to this point, turns out to be gifted farceur and interviews in his later years, always credited Doris for teaching him how to do comedy. Randall is comic perfection as Jonathan as is Thelma Ritter, who was also nominated for an Oscar for her work as Jan's housekeeper. A delight from start to finish that introduced a new movie couple that would give Fred and Ginger and Spenceer and Kate a run for their money.