Eye For Film >> Movies >> Pillow Talk (1959) Film Review
Long before Hugh Grant perfected the charming English buffoon role, Doris Day strutted her stuff as the queen of romantic comedies. The plot of Pillow Talk relies on the crux of a ridiculous premise, that two people who live in the same, small apartment block have never set eyes on one another.
The notion of sharing a party phone line is foreign to any viewer from the digital age, where family home movies can reach Australia in seconds via fibre optics. Split-screen is incorporated here without justification and one begins to laugh in all the wrong places when the 'V' shape used to separate one half of the action from another becomes so big and bold that it begins to resemble an artistic interpretation of the intimate feminine area.
Brad Allen (Rock Hudson) is a womaniser, or, as this film has it, " a charming bounder of a cad". He writes the same song for a bevy of beauties and sings to each of them in turn down the phone. This constant wooing of lovely ladies annoys Jan Morrow (Day), who lives in the apartment above. She is an interior decorator, who is in the process of designing the office of Brad's best friend, who is constantly "forcing" his intentions upon her, making it plain that he will do what it takes to get rid of any circling rivals for her affections.
Brad and Jan meet. Scared that she will recognise his voice, he adopts a dodgy Texan accent and pretends to be a guy called Rex. The pair date and their courtship leads to multiple situations where only hilarity can prevail.
Despite the frivolous way in which the serious subject of men's behaviour towards women is tossed aside and the fact that Day's hair - whatever the situation - refuses to make the slightest movement, Pillow Talk escapes the damnation of criticism via the craggy excuse of being a product of its time.
It is fascinating to glimpse the decor of a deceased decade in the kitchen of Jan's apartment. There may be no chemistry between Rock and Doris and the jokes may be tired, tedious and misplaced, but hindsight will always provide a warped perspective. In it's day, Pillow Talk was the talk of the picture houses.
If you're a Doris Day fan, the video will already have adopted pride of place in your collection. If you're one of those people who spends time watching Choices-UK on SKY and ordering supposed "movie classics", get your chequebook out now and snap up this DVD release as soon as possible.
Even though Pillow Talk may cause feminists to foam at the mouth, the movie fits neatly into the "silly romantic comedy" bracket. It won't appeal to those who want films to shake us, shock us and scrape us across the tarmac - or even make us think.
Pillow Talk is a charming ditty, now devoid of significance. Consign it to history, with its attitudes and values, and look to the future.Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2005
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