Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Pillow Talk (1959)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Pillow Talk (1959)

In this fluffy yet intelligent 50's 'clean' romantic sex comedy (Sex and the City for the 50s era) from director Michael Gordon (it was the first of three successful Day-Hudson romantic comedies (the others were Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964)) - it was also an Academy Award winner for Best Original Screenplay, and Rock Hudson's first comedy!

  • the film's sexy opening: a close-up of the long elegant leg of virginal, conservative-minded, chic, NYC interior designer career girl Jan Morrow (Oscar-nominated Doris Day), as she pulled on a stocking while wearing a white silky slip; she lived alone in a Manhattan Park Avenue apartment
  • the many shared party-line phone scenes, filmed with vertical and other split-screens between two neighbors in nearby apartment buildings; while sharing a party line, Jan was forced to listen to the croonings of the same love song ("Inspiration") by tall, carefree, suave, philandering, womanizing, bachelor, playboyish songwriter/composer Brad Allen (Rock Hudson) to all of his girlfriends, while he monopolized phone time
Split-Screen Phone Conversations
  • the early scene of Jan's visit to the offices of the phone company to complain about her party line and to call her neighbor a sex maniac, who was regularly tying up the phone and interrupting her business calls: "That man is always on the phone with someone. Have you any idea what it's like to be on a party line with a sex maniac?...He sings love songs at 9 o'clock in the morning"
  • unknowingly, Jan was dating wealthy, three-times-divorced, neurotic suitor Jonathan Forbes (Tony Randall), Brad's college friend and millionaire Broadway benefactor, who surprised her with a present of a new Mercedes convertible sports car, but she refused to accept the gift because it was too "personal"
  • on the phone to work out a cooperative arrangement or phoning schedule, Brad took an unsympathetic approach to Jan: "Well, obviously, you're a woman who lives alone and doesn't like it...Don't take your bedroom problems out on me"
  • Jan's drunken, feisty and witty maid Alma (Thelma Ritter) who had eavesdropped on the conversation on the kitchen extension phone, admitted that she enjoyed listening in and living vicariously: "He's brightened up many a dreary afternoon for me"; she also advised Jan by reiterating: "If there's anything worse than a woman livin' alone, it's a woman sayin' she likes it"; Jan wouldn't admit she was unhappily single: "I have a good job, a lovely apartment, I go out with very nice men to the best places; the theatre, the finest restaurants...What am I missing?"; Alma wisely replied: "When you have to ask, believe me, you're missin' it"; Jan thought to herself that she might indeed have "bedroom problems"
  • Jan appeared to have no real sexual desire for Jonathan; when he asked for her hand in marriage (in Mexico), she point-blank confessed: "I don't love you"; they kissed for the first time, but it was cold and dispassionate - and he quipped: "They didn't hit the moon with the first missile shot either"; she responded: "I guess that's what I want. To hit the moon"
  • during another phone argument with Brad on the phone, he bitterly raged at her: "Get off my back, lady. Stop living vicariously on what you think I do! There are plenty of warm rolls in the bakery - stop pressing your nose against the window!"
  • in his gadget-filled bachelor apartment, Brad had lots of convenient electrical switches (a couch switch to dim the lights, lock the door from the inside, and turn on phonographic mood music, and a switch to convert the couch into a bed)
  • the sequence in the Copa del Rio nightclub in NYC during a party when Jan (with an obnoxious handsy date, the son of a client) happened to sit in a booth near Brad; realizing who she was, Brad was instantly attracted to her sexy nature and fanny-wagging figure on the dance-floor ("So that's the other end of your party line" - he thought to himself); he decided to seduce her, and from then on, he hid his real identity and introduced himself to her as drawling, shy, chivalrous and naive Texan rancher and "country boy" 'Rex Stetson'
  • after helping her to return home, 'Rex' phoned Jan later that night, requesting a dinner/dance date the following evening, telling her: "I get a nice warm feeling bein' near you, Ma'am. It's like, like bein' round a pot-bellied stove on a frosty mornin'" - but he also switched to his real persona as Brad on the party line (pretending to listen in to her conversation), warning her to not be fooled by the phony Texan yokel, and taunted her over her new affair: "Don't let that yokel act fool ya. This ranch-hand Romeo's just tryin' to lure you into the next barn"
  • during their growing acquaintance, Jan - on their phone's party line - bragged to Brad about her new-found boyfriend 'Rex'; their famed bathtub scene implied that they were in the same bathroom and playing footsie with each other - across screens
  • with Brad's inside knowledge about her feelings about 'Rex', Brad was able to gauge Jan's growing love of 'Rex'; Jan defended 'Rex' to Brad: "Mr. Allen, this may come as a shock to you, but there are some men who don't end every sentence with a proposition"; to tease her, Brad's seduction ploy was to suggest that Rex was gay and might be romantically-uninterested in her - to try to release her female libido [Note: This was ironic, due to Hudson's later revelation about his real-life homosexuality.]; Brad told her on the phone: "Must I spell it out?...There are some men who just, uh, they're very devoted to their mothers, you know, the type that likes to collect cooking recipes, exchange bits of gossip..Well, I hope I'm wrong, but, uh, don't you think you'd better make sure?"
  • at the Hidden Door night club during their next date, 'Rex' praised Jan's occupation as a fashion designer: "It must be very excitin' - workin' with all them colors and fabrics and all" - he took a drink with an extended pinky finger, causing her some concern about his sexual orientation
Extended Pinky Finger
Steamy Kisses During Date in NYC Club
  • during the same date, Jan challenged and urged 'Rex' to demonstrate his romantic interest, prove his manhood (and kiss her) and go beyond being a "perfect gentleman" all the time: (Jan: "Don't you find me attractive?....Well, then, why haven't you ever?...Well, being such a perfect gentleman and all, it's-it's not very flattering." Rex: (in character) "Oh, well, ma'am, I wouldn't want to do anything that might spoil our friendship." Jan: (astonished) "Is that all it is with us, friendship?" Rex: "Ma'am, that's a direct question. I think it deserves a direct answer"); he delivered two kisses that were sensational; Jan was so flustered by the kisses that she had to excuse herself: "I'd better go to the powder moon, I mean room. Fix my lipstick"
  • in a weekend sequence at a Connecticut summer house (owned by Jonathan) where Brad was supposed to work on Jonathan's musical scoring compositions, 'Rex' declared his romantic, down-home love for Jan in front of a roaring fire with a bucket of chilled alcohol: "Remember when I said that being near you was like being near a potbellied stove on a frosty morning?...I was wrong...You're more like a forest fire, completely out of control"
  • at the summer house, the scene of Jan's discovery of Brad's masquerade as Rex, when she found some sheet music (of "Inspiration") and realized the tune on the piano was one of Brad's songs; she stormed out, told him off ("Bedroom problems. At least mine can be solved in one bedroom. You couldn't solve yours in a thousand!"), and refused to have anything more to do with Brad
  • the hilarious concluding sequence when Jan reluctantly agreed (a ploy suggested by Alma to Brad to get them back together) to design and redecorate Brad's bachelor apartment, with carte blanche power, and without Brad there: (Jan: "Big phony. He's like a spider and he expects me to redecorate his web!")
  • the scene of Brad's discovery of his deliberately-gaudy, newly-designed, counter-cultural apartment (with animal prints, hanging beads, a moose head and other statues, a pot belly stove, and harem decor); he angrily stormed into Jan's apartment ("Are you getting out of that bed, or am I coming in after you?"), grabbed her out of bed, and carried her out onto the NYC streets in her pajamas to take her back to his apartment to explain herself; he angrily fumed: ("How does it feel, returning to the scene of the crime?...Why did I spend a fortune having this apartment done over? Why did l cut myself off from every girl I know? Why does any man destroy himself? Because he thinks he's getting married. And what does it get me?...This! You did yourself a great job here. And as far as I'm concerned, you can stay and charge admission")
  • ultimately in the happy ending, she interpreted his passion as a desire to marry her; she switched the lock on the door (that dimmed the lights and activated a piano player), as they both realized that they loved each other and embraced

Introduction: Jan's Legs

Suitor Jonathan's Sports Car Gift to Jan

Jan's Drunk Maid Alma (Thelma Ritter): "If there's anything worse than a woman livin' alone, it's a woman sayin' she likes it"

Jan to Jonathan: "I don't love you"

Brad to Jan: "Get off my back, lady..."

Brad's Convenient Apartment Switches

First Sighting of Jan by Brad at the Copa del Rio Club

Acting as Both Brad and 'Rex' on the Phone with Jan

Bathtub Conversation

Brad's Suggestion that "Rex' Might Be Gay

Kisses During Connecticut Getaway Weekend

Jan's Discovery of Rex's Masquerade

Brad's Gaudy, Newly-Redecorated Bachelor Apartment


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