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Film / Pillow Talk

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Brad Allen: Look, I don't know what's bothering you, but don't take your bedroom problems out on me.
Jan Morrow: I have no bedroom problems. There's nothing in my bedroom that bothers me.
Brad Allen: Ohhh. That's too bad.
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Pillow Talk is a 1959 comedy film directed by Michael Gordon (you've heard of his grandson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt). It was the first of three films to pair Doris Day with Rock Hudson; also in the cast are Tony Randall and Thelma Ritter.

The plot concerns Jan Morrow (Day), a career woman, and Brad Allen (Hudson), a playboy songwriter. Much to her chagrin, her phone line is connected to his through a party line; his multiple romances make it near impossible for her to make a decent work-related phone call. When he meets her for real, he disguises his voice and adopts the name Rex Stetson. The charade works since she's never seen him, but can it last?

A huge commercial and critical success when it came out (earning five Academy Award nominations, and winning for Best Original Screenplay), Pillow Talk is often considered the Trope Codifier for the Romantic Comedy all the way up to today, solidifying many of the staples of the genre throughout the years: a serious career gal who's too busy for love, a dashing playboy who falls in love with one of his attempted conquests, a masquerade made to deceive a love interest, Belligerent Sexual Tension, slapstick comedy, Double Entendre up the ying-yang, etc etc. For many scholars of the genre, this is the Romantic Comedy.

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Down with Love (2003) is an Affectionate Parody of this film and the tropes it popularized.


This work features examples of:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Brad Allen lied about who he was to seduce Jan, and then gets her to go away with him for the weekend. After Jan finds out and the Jonathan shows up to rescue her, she tells him off, claiming him his sexual problems could never be cured, and storms out with Jonathan. Then Jonathan comes back in and chastises Brad for not bringing his own champagne.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Brad's deliberately absurd cowboy persona, Rex Stetson.
  • Bath Kick: A rare male example as well, shot in conjunction with a Split-Screen Phone Call to create the illusion that Jan and Brad are playing footsie with each other while bathing.
  • Brick Joke: In an early scene, one of Peirot's clients is admiring an African-looking sculpture until Jan informs her that it's a fertility goddess. Towards the end, Jan uses it as a finishing touch when decorating Brad's apartment. (Judging by the final scene and end credits, it must've been effective!)
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  • Driving a Desk: The effect appears when driving to and from Connecticut.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Brad, after he gets drunk from his excursion with Alma.
  • Ladykiller in Love: After his deceit is found out and Jan wants nothing to do with him, Brad realizes he's fallen in love with her.
  • Living with the Villain: Jan's unaware that her new boyfriend is also her arch-rival.
  • Mr. Seahorse: Oddly enough...Brad ducks into an obstetrician's office to avoid Jan and Jonathan and ah, claims to need an appointment for himself. Becomes a Running Gag because the doctor really wants to see him just in case a miracle of science has occurred.
  • Oh, Crap!: Brad, when Jan finds out the truth about who he is.
  • Pretty in Mink: Jan has a white mink jacket and a lynx-trimmed coat.
  • Pull the Thread: Jan deduces Rex's real identity when she finds the sheet music of the song she kept hearing on Brad's calls.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jan to Brad (after finding out his ruse), where she states that at least her "bedroom problems" can be solved in one bedroom, his couldn't be solved in a thousand!
  • Spiritual Successor: Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964) reunited Day, Hudson, and Tony Randall for further comedic escapades, albeit as different characters in each.
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: Used for Jan and Brad's phone calls as a gag to create the illusion that they're doing certain activities together.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: "You Lied". The singer even looks at Rex while singing it.
  • Stylistic Suck: Jan's redecorating of Brad's apartment.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Doris Day hums a few bars of the theme song to herself as the opening music fades.
  • Title Theme Tune: Sung by Doris Day.

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