Teacher’s Pet (1958)

GEORGE SEATON

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.  USA, 1958.  Perlberg-Seaton Productions.  Screenplay by Fay Kanin, Michael Kanin.  Cinematography by Haskell B. Boggs.  Produced by .  Music by . Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1958.  Golden Globe Awards 1958.  

Gig Young, Doris Day and Clark Gable in Teacher’s Pet. Young was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance.

Hard bitten newspaper man Clark Gable is asked to do a guest lecture for a journalism class and refuses. He believes that being a newspaper man is something one learns only from experience, not in a classroom, but when he is finally forced to go he is surprised to discover that the class is being taught by a wholesome, gorgeous blonde (Doris Day) with whom he is immediately smitten. In trying to get with her, and to outdo her handsome psychology professor suitor (Gig Young in a hilarious supporting role), Gable comes to understand the merits of a combination of life experience and classroom education. This odd cinematic mix of social realism and romantic comedy is overlong and far too uneven, most likely a result of the original script having been converted from a drama that no studio wanted to touch to a romantic comedy that was immediately snapped up by Paramount as a vehicle for its female star. There’s lots of wise observations that comment on America’s need to promote its self-made image in light of its classist origins, but mostly it’s a fun romp that is often bogged down by excess but succeeds because of Day’s lovely charms. Gable has a lot of energy at this late point in his career, but he’s far, far too old to be Miss Day’s leading man and even he seems to think so (Gary Cooper paired with Audrey Hepburn suddenly looks less ridiculous when watching this film).

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