1. Doris Day displaying how good she is at absolutely everything. Is there anything this multi-talented lady can’t do? I’ve loved Doris Day’s music and movies since I was a little girl. She was pretty, perky and funny, could sing, dance and act, and was so warm and loveable onscreen.
Miss Day has starred in more movies I love than just about anyone with the exception of Cary Grant: Romance on the High Seas, Young at Heart, Calamity Jane, Love Me or Leave Me, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Teacher’s Pet, Pillow Talk, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, Midnight Lace, Lover Come Back, That Touch of Mink, The Thrill of It All!, Move Over Darling, Send Me No Flowers, The Glass Bottom Boat, With Six You Get Eggroll. I simply adore her!
Pillow Talk is my favorite of her performances. She’s incredibly funny as Jan Morrow, an interior decorator driven to distraction by the obnoxious, womanizing other end of her party line. Doris Day’s blend of primness and sexiness is irresistible. She’s a lot like Jean Arthur in that way, now that I think of it.
2. Rock Hudson debuting his not inconsiderable comedic abilities. Prior to playing Brad Allen (a/k/a Rex Stetson) in 1959’s Pillow Talk, Rock Hudson was known for his roles in dramas like Magnificent Obsession, All That Heaven Allows and Giant. He was nervous about taking on the comedic role, but he did a fantastic job. Here’s one of my favorite scenes. The way he switches back and forth between Brad and Rex is so funny. Poor Jan. He just reels her right in. “Like a potbellied stove on a frosty morning.”
Hudson always gave Doris Day credit for teaching him how to play in onscreen comedies. I’m sure he did learn a lot from her, but given the results it seems like it all came to him pretty easily. He was such a natural that it’s hard to believe this was his first comedy. He did many more after Pillow Talk, including two more with Doris Day. He’s especially hilarious in Send Me No Flowers, as a hypochondriac who tries to find his wife a new husband when he mistakenly thinks he’s going to die.
3. Tony Randall. Talk about funny! Tony Randall’s turn as Jonathan Forbes, Brad’s wealthy best friend and Jan’s luckless suitor, is a huge part of why Pillow Talk comes together so perfectly. Randall had especially great chemistry with Rock Hudson. Their scenes together work so well, with Randall as the neurotic little guy always talking about his inferiority complex and Rock as the cool, successful playboy.
It’s no wonder Randall starred in the other Day/Hudson movies – he was just as necessary to their collaborations’ successes as Rock and Doris were themselves. I can’t imagine those movies without him. All you need to do to see what a difference it makes to have the real Tony Randall in the “Tony Randall part” is watch Gig Young as Cary Grant’s assistant in That Touch of Mink. When it comes to bedroom farce sidekicks, accept no substitutions!