Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1964. Fernwood Productions Inc., Reynard. Story by Joseph Hoffman, Screenplay by Joseph Heller, David R. Schwartz, based on the book by Helen Gurley Brown. Cinematography by Charles Lang. Produced by William T. Orr. Music by Neal Hefti. Production Design by Cary Odell. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by David Wages.
Helen Gurley Brown’s popular novel is played for laughs in this chirpy satire that has its moments but overall has not aged well. Tony Curtis stars as a perpetual bachelor who writes for a smutty magazine that has done an expose on a sex researcher (Natalie Wood as “Helen Brown”) who has become internationally famous for her non-fiction book encouraging sexual liberation among single young women. Exposing her as a virgin and, therefore, a fraud, Curtis decides to take his investigation further by posing as a patient in need of Wood’s advice, for marital issues he bases on his friends Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall. Wood offers her services but, in the process of trying to prove herself a free-wheeling gal, falls into conventional love with Curtis and he grows enamoured of her too. It’s adorably cheeky stuff posing as naughtier material than it actually is, but what hampers its style is an overextended chase scene that takes up far too much of the last third and puts unintelligent slapstick into a film that has done a passable job at sophisticated wit up until that point. For all its tweeness, Pillow Talk looks far better today, but give this one a chance if you’re up for it and you like the cast.