Pillow Talk (film)  

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“The most sparkling sexcapade that ever winked at convention.” --tagline Pillow Talk

"The protagonists, played by Doris Day and Rock Hudson, share a party telephone line and are constantly on the telephone as a split-screen implying that they are together and involved sexually when they really aren't. In one scene, they both sit in a bath an appear to be playing footsie."

"Rock Hudson was the Number One Moneymaking Star of 1959 (according to the Motion Picture Herald poll of exhibitors). Doris Day was fourth. The combination of the two in Pillow Talk proved commercially electric in a sex comedy that was much more "talk" (double entendre) than "do." (This accounts, in part, for Miss Day's screen image of the "eternal virgin."" -- Films in America, 1929-1969, page 266, Martin Quigley, ‎Richard Gertner, 1970

"Pillow Talk, released in 1959, was the first of three movies that Doris Day and Rock Hudson would make together. The other two were Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964). These three films ushered in a new type of film genre: labeled “no sex sex comedies” or “naughty but nice bedroom comedies,” they were long on sexual innuendo — "Pillow Talk," the trailer announced, is “what goes on when the lights go off” — but short on sex."--Movies in American History: An Encyclopedia, Philip C. Dimare, 2011

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Pillow Talk is a 1959 Eastmancolor romantic comedy film in CinemaScope directed by Michael Gordon. It features Rock Hudson and Doris Day.

It tells the story of Jan Morrow (Day), an interior decorator and Brad Allen (Hudson), a womanizing composer/bachelor, who share a telephone party line. When she unsuccessfully files a complaint on him for constantly using the line to woo his conquests, Brad decides to take a chance on Jan by masquerading as a Texas rancher, resulting in the two falling in love. The scheme seems to work until Brad's mutual friend and Jan's client Jonathan Forbes (Randall) finds out about this, causing a love triangle in the process.

According to a “Rambling Reporter” (August 28, 1959) item in The Hollywood Reporter, RKO originally bought the script by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene in 1942, but since it was not produced, the writers bought it back in 1945. In 1947, they sold it as a play, but bought it back once again four years later, finally selling it in 1958 to Arwin Productions, the company owned by Doris Day’s husband, Martin Melcher. Although the film was originally titled Pillow Talk, according to a February 2, 1959 “Rambling Reporter” item in The Hollywood Reporter, the title “displeased” the PCA, and was changed to Any Way the Wind Blows. In August 1959, however, the original title was reinstated.

The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Doris Day), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Thelma Ritter), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color (Richard H. Riedel, Russell A. Gausman, Ruby R. Levitt) and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.

This is the first of three romantic comedies in which Day, Hudson and Randall starred together, the other two being Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964).

Upon its release, Pillow Talk brought in a then staggering domestic box-office gross of $18,750,000 and gave Rock Hudson's career a comeback after the failure of A Farewell to Arms earlier that year.

On July 14, 1980, Jack Martin reported on Pillow Talk as "biggest hit of 1959".

In 2009, it was entered into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant and preserved.


Jan Morrow is a successful, self-reliant interior decorator in New York City. She lives alone and claims to be quite happy, when questioned on that subject by her drunken housekeeper, Alma. The only irritant in her life is the party line that she shares with Brad Allen, a talented, creative Broadway composer and playboy who lives in a nearby apartment building. She is unable to obtain a private phone line because the telephone company has been overwhelmed by the recent demand for new phone lines in the area.

Jan and Brad, who have only ever "met" on the telephone, develop a feud over the use of the party line. Brad is constantly using the phone to chat with one young woman after another, singing to each of them an "original" love song supposedly written just for her, though he only changes the name or language he sings in. Jan and Brad bicker over the party line, with Brad suggesting that the single Jan is jealous of his popularity.

One of Jan's clients is millionaire Jonathan Forbes, who repeatedly throws himself at her to no avail. Unknown to Jan, Jonathan is also a Brad's old college buddy and his current Broadway benefactor.

One evening in a nightclub, Brad finally sees Jan dancing and learns who she is. Attracted to her, he fakes a Texan accent and invents a new persona: Rex Stetson, a wealthy Texas rancher. He succeeds in wooing Jan, and the pair begin seeing each other regularly. Jan cannot resist bragging about her new beau on the phone to Brad Allen, while Brad teases Jan by having "Rex" show an interest in effeminate things, thereby implying "Rex's" homosexuality.

When Jonathan finds out about Brad's masquerade, he forces Brad to leave New York City and go to Jonathan's cabin in Connecticut to complete his new songs. Brad invites Jan to join him. Once there, romance blossoms until Jan stumbles upon a copy of "Rex's" sheet music. She plunks the melody on the nearby piano and recognizes Brad's song. She confronts Brad and ignores his attempts at explanation, returning to New York with Jonathan, who has just arrived at the cabin.

Back in New York, Jonathan is pleased to learn that the playboy has finally fallen in love, while conversely Jan will have nothing to do with Brad. Brad turns to Jan's housekeeper, Alma, for advice. Alma, pleased to finally meet Brad after listening in on the party line for so long, suggests he hire Jan to decorate his apartment so they will be forced to collaborate. Jan only concedes so that her employer will not lose the commission. Brad leaves all the design decisions up to Jan, telling her only to design a place that she'd want to live in herself.

Still quite angry, Jan decorates Brad's apartment in the most gaudy and hideous decor she can muster. Horrified by what he finds, Brad angrily storms into Jan's apartment and carries her in her pajamas through the street back to his apartment to explain herself. He tells her of all the changes he's made to end his bachelor lifestyle because he thought they were getting married. Her face lights up and, as he leaves in anger, she uses one of his "playboy" remote control switches to lock the door. She flips the second switch and the player piano pounds out a honky-tonk version of Brad's standard love song. He turns around, their eyes meet, and they lovingly embrace.

At the end of the film, Brad goes to tell Jonathan that he is going to be a father, only to be pulled by Dr. Maxwell (an obstetrician) and Nurse Resnick into their office for an examination, when he says that he’s going to have a baby (a reference to when he ducks into Dr. Maxwell's office in an earlier scene to hide from Jan, but escapes before they can examine him).


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