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Michael Gordon
Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall
Writing Credits:
Stanley Shapiro, Maurice Richlin

A man and a woman who share a party line cannot stand each other, but he has fun romancing her with his voice disguised.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 5/1/2012

• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Jeff Bond, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman
• “Back in Bed” Featurette
• “Chemistry 101” Featurette
• “Restoring the Classics” Featurette
• “The Carl Laemmle Era” Featurette
• “Unforgettable Characters” Featurette
• Trailer


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
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Pillow Talk [Blu-Ray] (1959)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 6, 2020)

Ah, the 1950s, an era of cinematic innocence! So innocent that the temptation to mock it proves nearly irresistible!

I’ll do my best to avoid too much snark and view 1959’s Pillow Talk on its own terms. The first of three cinematic pairings for Rock Hudson and Doris Day, this offers a snapshot of the period’s romantic comedies.

Set in New York, Jan Morrow (Day) works as an interior decorator, while Brad Allen (Hudson) composes songs. Neither knows each other, but they share a “party line”: a telephone number used by multiple strangers due to a shortage of accounts.

Brad romances multiple women at the same time, and this means Jan often finds herself the unwitting eavesdropper on his romantic conversations. Inevitably, Jan grows to loathe the lothario due to the way he juggles so many “girlfriends”.

When Brad and Jan meet in person by chance, he recognizes her but she fails to put his voice to his face. Brad adopts the name “Rex Stetson” and decides to woo Jan, with a mix of wacky complications.

Clearly audiences enjoyed the Hudson/Day pairing, Talk turned into a major hit, and they’d go on to make two more movies together via 1961’s Lover Come Back and 1964’s Send Me No Flowers.

I guess you had to be there. More than 60 years later, Talk feels exceedingly dated, and the Day/Hudson interaction can’t save it.

Most of the problems fall on Hudson, an actor whose looks carried his career. Perhaps Hudson offered good performances in some efforts, but across the half-dozen or so of his films I’ve seen, he always becomes a weak link.

That remains true for Talk. Of course, Hudson boasts the right looks for Brad, but he can’t pull off the charm or personality needed.

This becomes especially evident when the film asks Hudson to play “Rex Stetson”. Hudson barely musters one character in Talk, so his stabs at a second fail.

Day does better as Jan, but she can’t carry the load herself. She finds herself stuck in a fairly monotonous, bland role, and she doesn’t manage to do much with it.

Apparently audiences felt Day and Hudson brought great cinematic energy, but I don’t see it. I find no real connection between the two, as they seem mismatched and flat together.

Talk gets a little energy from its supporting cast, as Tony Randall and Thelma Ritter offer their usual fine performances. Neither appears on screen enough to make a real impact, though.

Given the movie’s paper-thin “plot”, it becomes more important that we engage with the characters in Pillow Talk. Because the leads sputter, this becomes a slow, dull experience.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Pillow Talk appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect an erratic image.

For the most part, sharpness looked fine, though softness materialized at times. Some of this connected to photographic techniques like split screens, but other soft shots lacked obvious explanations. Nonetheless, the movie usually displayed positive delineation.

No issues related to jagged edges or moiré effects popped up, but moderate edge haloescrept into the picture at times. No print flaws materialized and a fair amount of grain appeared, but opticals occasionally felt “scrubbed”.

Colors veered toward the natural side of the street, though a blue/teal impression manifested during office scenes. Otherwise the hues seemed fairly broad and lively, though some interiors could come across as a bit dull.

Black levels also appeared deep and rich, while shadows were nicely detailed and concise. A mix of good and bad, the image felt like a “C+”.

The DTS-HD monaural soundtrack of Talk seemed fine for its vintage and ambitions. Speech suffered from awkward looping at times, but the lines were always intelligible and lacked obvious flaws like brittleness.

Music seemed reasonably full and accurate, while effects showed decent clarity and accuracy. A romantic comedy such as this didn’t open itself up for sonic fireworks, so don’t expect much, but the audio fit the story.

We get a mix of extras, and these open with an audio commentary from film historians Jeff Bond, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cultural elements, cast and crew, and some production specifics.

Whereas most film historian commentaries offer nuts and bolts about cast/crew and the shoot, this one tends more toward a view of the film through its social place and its era. We get a mix of good notes in that realm along with enough details about the film’s creation to make this a pretty engaging discussion.

Two movie-focused featurettes appear, and Back in Bed runs 21 minutes, 58 seconds and involves notes from film historians Samantha Cook, Daniel M. Kimmel and David Thomson, and English professor Judith Roof.

“Bed” examines the movie’s era and story/characters/themes, cast and performances, and aspects of its success/legacy. Though some of “Bed” looks at the film’s production, it mostly puts the flick in a historical/cultural perspective, and it does well in that regard.

Chemistry 101 lasts five minutes, 13 seconds and involves Cook, Thomson, and Kimmel. “101” examines the Day/Hudson combo in this short but fairly interesting reel.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get three featurettes under the 100 Years of Universal banner. “Restoring the Classics” goes for nine minutes, 13 seconds and offers statements from Universal Studios Vault Services VP of Image Assets/Preservation Bob O’Neil, Universal Studios Technical Services VP Peter Schade, Kodak Pro-Tek Media Preservation VP of Preservation Services Rick Utley, Universal Studios Digital Services engineer Henry Ball, Universal Studios Technical Services mastering supervisor Phil Defibaugh, Universal Studios Technical Services mastering supervisor Ken Tom, and Universal Studios Technical Services supervising sound editor John Edell.

“Restoring” covers all the procedures used to bring Bride and other movies to Blu-ray. It’s a reasonably informative take on the subject.

With “The Carl Laemmle Era”, we find an eight-minute, 41-second piece that includes notes from Hollywood Left and Right author Steven J. Ross, NBC Universal Archives and Collections director Jeff Pirtle, Moguls and Movie Stars writer/producer Jon Wilkman, Early Universal City author Robert S. Birchard, and niece Carla Laemmle.

The show offers a quick biography of Universal founder Carl Laemmle. While this is an interesting and efficient overview, I’d like to see a more detailed look at a Hollywood pioneer.

Finally, “Unforgettable Characters” spans eight minutes, 18 seconds. It features a slew of movie snippets as a narrator tells us about different Universal roles. It’s mildly entertaining but it essentially exists as an advertisement.

In 1959, audiences ate up the romance and comedy of Pillow Talk. I can’t figure out why, as they much-touted duo of Doris Day and Rock Hudson fail to ignite this mediocre flick. The Blu-ray brings erratic picture with generally positive audio and a reasonably positive array of bonus materials. Talk becomes a forgettable stab at a rom-com.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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