Pillow Talk (the movie) debuted in 1959 starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson, supported by Tony Randall and Thelma Ritter. A romantic comedy, it was the first flick that teamed up Doris and Rock, both of them at the top of their game with a wide following.
The overall storyline is based on a telephone party line, something that folks born in the last thirty years may not understand. Back in the ancient days, sometimes phone lines had too many customers or there was a rural phone line that could only handle one call at a time. I'm more familiar with the latter. Folks who needed to make a call would pick up the phone and listen for the dial tone. If one was heard they could dial the person they wanted to reach. If there was no dial tone or you heard people talking, you would hang up and try again later. There was plenty of snooping going on, of course.
Pillow Talk is about a "modern woman" (Jan Morrow, played by Doris) who is living her whirlwind life without someone to share it with besides housekeeper (Alma, played by Thelma Ritter in a hilarious role). She has a phone installed and has a party line with another person who is unknown to her, which she uses for her interior decorating business. He (Brad Allen, played by Rock) is always on the phone making lots of dates and sweet talking clueless women. This drives Jan Morrow crazy and she finally blows up at him. Brad Allen begins to poke fun at Jan and insult her.
Jan has a wealthy client named Jonathan Forbes (played by Tony Randall) who loves Jan but she has no interest in him other than business. It just so happens that Jonathan is friends with Brad Allen, and Jonathan confesses he loves his decorator Jan but it's unrequited. Brad puts two and two together and decides to pull a joke on Jan.
Brad comes up with a new character, Rex Stetson, a Texan who has all of the charms that Jan is pining for. He ends up having some hijinks until his buddy Jonathan hires a detective to find out about this new rival. The ending is heartwarming in that old-movie way that they don't do anymore.
Doris Day ended up with her only Oscar nomination for her role in this movie, and it was well-earned.
It just so happens I was in the play version of this movie, playing Brad Allen/Rex Stetson back when I was taller, thinner, and handsomer in 1980.
- "Pillow Talk", a Universal film.
- Release date: 1959
- 102 minutes
- Color by Eastman
- Mono sound
- Box office earnings: $18,750,000 (a big hit back then)