Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
October 07
October 7, 1959
The Talk of the Town

The comedy Pillow Talk opened in the late 50s, pitting two of that decade’s most glamorous and wholesome stars––Rock Hudson and Doris Day––in a flirty comedy of bad manners. Day plays Jan, a no-nonsense interior designer, forced to share a party line with Brad, a playboy songwriter whose dating life puts the party back in party line. Angers flare, tricks are played, and the two people who can’t stand each other find they can’t stand life without the other. The comedy went on to become one of the biggest commercial successes of the 50s, racking up five Academy Award nominations––winning for Best Original Screenplay––along the way. But Hudson initially was hesitant, fearful that the racy script could tarnish his wholesome image, and because he’d never really done comedy before. Producer Ross Hunter, who broke out Hudson in Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows, worked with director Michael Gordon to convince him. For one, Gordon showed him how to get the laughs by playing the role straight––although “straight” was complicated for the closeted gay Hudson. After the success of Pillow Talk, Hudson went on to make two similar sex romps (Lover Come Back and Send Me No Flowers) with Doris Day and Tony Randall (as well as a range of other “battle of the sexes” comedies: Man’s Favorite Sport, Strange Bedfellows, etc) But as Mark Rappaport’s art film Rock Hudson’s Home Movies highlights the inside joke of each comedy was Hudson (a gay man marketed as a straight icon) actually playing gay. In Pillow Talk, pretending to be a mamma’s-boy aesthete, a flamboyant Hudson, for example, lisps to Tony Randall, “Need a light, cowboy.”


More Flashbacks
Tom Jones October 7, 1963
Tom Jones opens

When United Artists opened Tony Richardson’s adaptation of the Henry Fielding novel Tom Jones in the autumn of 1963, they knew it was a hit.

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October 7, 1951
La Ronde shut down in New York

By the time Max Ophüls’ La Ronde came to America, it had played for over two years in Paris and for four months in London to almost entirely enthusiastic reviews.

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