Doris & Rock's Pillow Fight
Over the years certain movies have been analyzed over and over again in the search for hidden messages, political slants and so on in an almost conspiracy manner. "Pillow Talk" which was the first of the three movies which Doris Day and Rock Hudson made together is one of those movies which has been put under the microscope looking for these hidden messages such as the joke about Hudson's character maybe being gay, the fact that women are played to need marriage whilst men are happily single and it goes on. All of which is a shame because "Pillow Talk" is what it is an entertaining romantic comedy from the 1950s and not some movie with hidden messages.
Jan Morrow (Doris Day - It Happened to Jane) is a successful interior decorator, Brad Allen (Rock Hudson - The Tarnished Angels) is a composer and a bachelor. What Jan and Brad have in common is that they share a party phone line which Brad constantly hogs the line as he calls the various women he has on the go causing issues between them as Jan can never get to make a phone call. But the thing is they have never met and so when Brad discovers that the beautiful woman he sees in the restaurant is his phone line enemy he poses as Texan Rex Stetson so that he can have some fun and add her to his list of girlfriends.
Pretty much everything about "Pillow Talk" is spot on and works from the complete opposite characters, the comedy, the romance and of course the storyline which more than adequately holds it all together. It's actually not the most complex of storylines centring on the turbulent relationship between Jan Morrow and Brad Allen - 'Rex Stetson' who unfortunately share a party line, but in a way it doesn't need to be any more complex. The simplicity of it all as we watch womaniser Brad fall for Jan whilst pretending to be a Texan called Rex allows for plenty of romance and comedy as sparks fly between them and their mutual friend Jonathan Forbes, brilliantly played by Tony Randall (The Odd Couple). It is very obvious and you know at some point Brad's real identity will come out but it doesn't matter because what goes on before and to be frank after is just magical. In fact whilst it is obvious it sort of keeps you guessing to how Jan will find out that Rex the handsome Texan she's fallen for is in fact her phone line enemy Brad.
Whilst "Pillow Talk" is all a little obvious when it comes to the storyline the chemistry between Doris Day and Rock Hudson makes it appear so much more than it is. From the antagonistic relationship between Jan and Brad over his hogging of their party line through to the romance between Jan and Rex there is so much chemistry it sets the screen light. It's well documented that Doris Day and Rock Hudson became close friends but even here in their first movie together the ease they have each other shows and it certainly helps make "Pillow Talk" so much fun to watch. There's no trying to out shine each other, just two people so comfortable with each other that they are having fun.
As for the characters well it has to be said that "Pillow Talk" certainly ploughs the stereotypes from Rock Hudson's Brad a womanizing bachelor through to Doris Day's uptight interior designer Jan Morrow. Even the supporting characters such as Thelma Ritter as the heavy drinking cleaner Alma and Tony Randall's millionaire Jonathan Forbes are basically stereotypes, characters seen in numerous movies from the era. But again it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter that as a single woman Jan is uptight or that being a bachelor Brad dates lots of women with just one thing on his mind because "Pillow Talk" is a 50s movie and most 50s movies worked around stereotypes.
To top it all of is that "Pillow Talk" is one of those rare romantic comedies which is both romantic and funny. The way Rex and Jan go courting is lovely, sort of old fashioned but hugely entertaining. Yet the antagonistic relationship is so full of witty barbs that you can't but help laugh. Even the use of the split screen to show the conversations on the phone adds to the amusement with both Doris Day and Rock Hudson delivering brilliant visual humour.
All of which makes "Pillow Talk" a very good romantic comedy, in fact one of the best when it comes to going the simple and obvious route. But it does have some issues in particular a scene which sees a young man trying to force himself upon Jan, which although is played out for comedy effect sort of feels out of place and most definitely uncomfortable when watching it now. The other issue and this one may seem daft because Doris Day is as well known as a singer as an actress but the scene in the bar where Day gets to show her vocal talents singing "Roly Poly" feels forced as if it was a requirement that Day would have at least one singing scene. It's a shame because otherwise the soundtrack which does feature Day singing the likes of "Pillow Talk" and "Possess Me" works; it's just that one scene which feels almost unnatural.
What this all boils down to is that "Pillow Talk" is not only the best of the three collaborations between Doris Day and Rock Hudson but it is also one of the best movies in the romantic comedy genre. Pretty much everything about it works in particular the witty screenplay and the magnificent chemistry between Doris Day and Rock Hudson who make it all feel so natural rather than forced.