Ep 10: Pillow Talk

Posted by on Jul 31, 2010 in Comedy, Podcast, Romance | 8 comments

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Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 2 Pops ~ If the core of the story is solid, good craft will take you far. If it’s not, you get Pillow Talk. Lucy’s rating breakdown: Structure: 4, Comedy: 3, Romance: 1

Jenny says: 2 Pops ~ Structure ruined by WTF ending and character violations. Comedy kneecapped by assumptions that using women and alcoholism are funny. Romance non-existent (should have been no pops but we don’t do that). The movie had so many great things–fabulous cast, tight pacing, wonderful moments but the core was rotten and hollow which meant everything else fell apart. Jenny’s rating breakdown: Structure: 3, Comedy: 3, Romance: 1

Blog Poll Rating: 2.5 Pops

Movie Info:

Story Brad and Jan have to share a party line (two telephones, one line, not that uncommon in the fifties) and hate each other until Brad meets Jan. Then he wants to share something else. Trouble ensues. Release Date: October 7, 1959 Director: Michael Gordon Writers: Stanley Shapiro, Maurice Richlin. More info at IMDb.

8 Comments

  1. Weirdly enough, I expected to loathe this movie (hate the fakey-fifties sort of thing, hate perky, hate the name Doris Day though apparently she hated it too, etc.), but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting from having seen Down With Love first. Go figure.

    Still not a great romance though, no.

  2. Oh certainly. I knew a girl who cried when she turned 20 because she wasn’t married yet. But at least she was open about it. It’s the ones who say one thing and do the opposite that confuse me.
    Then again, maybe I’m just easily confused.

  3. During the podcast, J & L tried to think of a RomCom where the romance succeeded and everything else failed. I can’t think of a RomCom, but the Twilight series comes to mine.

    I think people read/watch that series because of the romance, despite the hero being possessive, the heroine being passive, the — well, despite its problems.

    I have problems with the books’ structure, pacing, yada, but I don’t think the screaming fans care about anything but the relationship between the two lead characters.

  4. OK, I think I might have this figured out. It’s a hero’s journey. And if we sympathize with the hero, we’ve got a lot of connections with him. He’s smart, he’s talented in his field, he’s got his goals, and he goes after his goals. He knows a lot about psychology.

    But when we look at this movie as a rom com, we want to identify with the heroine, and we want to see her win the game. In Pillow Talk, though, the hero represents hubris, which is conquered by Fate and Love (and I capitalize them because they are almost personified). And our heroine isn’t really there to win anything; she’s simply a tool of Fate and Love.

    (-: Could be talking out of my Stetson here; I watched Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers all on the same day, and the first two in particular seem to be merging in my mind. It’s a nightmare as a rom com, but . . . it still had some high points as a movie. I’m going to watch it again to see if it works better as a Great Game movie.

    BTW, loved the point in the podcast about the social contract of the 50s being held up by both men and women. The hero didn’t even feel like he signed the contract until he was firmly married, I think. Bachelor parties were a big 50s thing, too, I think, and they didn’t count because the ring wasn’t on the finger.

    Of course, adultery in the 50s was also a common theme, so maybe they just had a really bad handle on romance and commitment.

  5. Adultery has always been common. It’s a biological thing. The difference was, it was sort of accepted for men in the fifties because of those animal appetites. Women were the Angels in the House; it was a real throwback to Victorian morals.

    But if I look at PT not as a rom com, I’m left with the same problem: who stole Jan’s brain in the last scene? I do believe his arc, what little he has, because she’s the one who says no. That would have to shake his world view. But why does she roll over? It’s a character violation that’s shoehorned in to give the story its happy ending. What’s the movie term for a wallbanger?

  6. I hate to it, but with the male writers in mind, the woman’s viewpoint is somewhat tangential. And we women audience members have been shrugging, and accepting, and remembering the good bits about the movies for as long as there have been movies. If we identify with Rock Hudson, it doesn’t hurt as much if Doris Day has been infected with the Baby Bug (in .5 seconds flat).

    However, it would be really, really nice if we could write different kinds of models (-:.

    Just saying.

    Screen splatter. As in throwing tomatoes at. Yeah, I think Pillow Talk is a screensplatter. But if you accept the premise that True Love really did change the guy into a loving, faithful husband, then it’s one of the happier endings we’ve had.

    One other problems with movies: 90 minutes, basically. A novel, you get about 4 to 6 hours, I think. One problem with many writers is that they run out of steam and just want the damn thing to end (see Practical Magic and all the early works by that author . . . I’m losing more brain cells than Doris Day . . . I think it was Alice Hoffman. She wrote wonderful stories, and then suddenly got tired and sent a man in to save the day. IIRC, her later works have better endings.)

    Fifteen more minutes, and Rock Hudson could have grovelled properly and Doris Day could have accepted his proposal with honor and happiness (-:. Maybe it wasn’t done like that back then; you may have something with 50s God Man, Master of Creation.

  7. Love “screensplatter,” Micki. I’m using it.
    Practical Magic. That’s another movie like The January Man. So good and so bad at the same time.

    Ingrid: I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Also, you were right.

  8. (-: My compliments.