The Doris Day and Rock Hudson Comedy Collection
Pillow Talk (July 21/07)
Though built on an antiquated premise that will probably leave most contemporary viewers baffled, Pillow Talk possesses many of the elements that one has come to expect from a contemporary romantic comedy (including an emphasis on comedic misunderstandings and a third-act fake break-up). Featuring the first collaboration between Rock Hudson and Doris Day, the movie casts the pair as strangers who are begrudgingly made to share a phone line - with Jan (Day) forced to listen in on Brad's (Hudson) romantic conversations with a succession of girls. But after a surreptitious encounter at a restaurant, Brad decides that he wants to get to know Jan for himself - leaving the handsome womanizer with little choice but to adopt the identity of an aw-shucks Texan named Rex. Director Michael Gordon - working from Maurice Richlin and Stanley Shapiro's lighthearted screenplay - has infused Pillow Talk with an irresistibly breezy sensibility that's certainly reflected in the charismatic performances, with Hudson and Day's palpable chemistry together evident almost immediately (it's consequently not difficult to see why they remain one of the most enduring onscreen couples in cinematic history). The presence of Tony Randall within the supporting cast only cements the film's exceedingly agreeable nature, as the actor delivers as entertaining a performance as one might've expected (Thelma Ritter does an equally effective job as Day's sassy confidant). The only overt deficiency within Pillow Talk comes in its final 20 minutes, with the expected fake break-up lasting much longer than one might've liked - though that's a fairly minor complaint for a romcom that still holds up surprisingly well all these years later.
Lover Come Back (August 9/07)
Though as entertaining and amiable as one might've expected, Lover Come Back is ultimately hurt by a premise that just bears too much of a resemblance to Rock Hudson and Doris Day's first collaboration (1959's Pillow Talk) - with Hudson again cast as a fellow who must take on a new identity to woo Day. The film casts the two as advertising rivals Carol and Jerry, and the majority of the storyline revolves around Carol's efforts to secure a high-profile new client - little suspecting that said new client is actually Jerry in disguise. Lover Come Back, buoyed by Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning's funny and surprisingly risque screenplay, generally moves at a brisk clip and there's little doubt that Hudson and Day's legendary chemistry goes a long way towards keeping things interesting even through the film's more mundane stretches. Yet there reaches a point at which Lover Come Back's various similarities to Pillow Talk become impossible to overlook, and - despite an expectedly hilarious scene-stealing turn from Tony Randall - the movie ultimately comes off as a less effective and overly familiar carbon copy of its predecessor.