The first (and best) of the Rock Hudson-Doris Day romantic comedies, Pillow Talk has more than a few moments of genuine frothy fun. Hudson plays a Broadway composer, Day plays a interior decorator—both are successful, attractive and inexplicably single. When these Manhattan apartment dwellers are forced to share a party line their initial telephonic squabbles soon turn into flirtations.
Throughout the film, the couple is shown in split-screen: Brad (Hudson) in his apartment, Jan (Day) in hers. In this craftily constructed scene (with Hudson masquerading as a rich Texas oilman named Rex—don’t ask) the couple are able to “share” a bath—a great benefit of the movie’s widescreen format.
Some of the movie’s dialog and contrived scenarios may be eye roll-inducing—we’ll leave the various textual interpretations regarding Hudson’s sexual orientation for another time—but Pillow Talk was a huge success on many levels. The film was a box-office hit that earned several Oscar nods; rejuvenated Hudson’s career as a rom-com lead; and let Day, for too long the wholesome girl-next-door, move into more challenging roles.