Masked Men: Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties

By Steven Cohan | Go to book overview

7
The Bachelor in the Bedroom

This career girl had everything but love.
This bachelor had nothing else but.
They had absolutely nothing in common except a party line.
They believed passionately in the motto, "Hate thy neighbor."
Then he met the body that went with the voice he hated.
What would you do?
That's what he did ... Pretend he was two other guys.
And then the wooing got frantic.

The opening voiceover narration in the theatrical trailer for Pillow Talk ( 1959) well describes this film's comic take on the fifties battle of the sexes. Career girl Jan Morrow ( Doris Day), an unmarried interior decorator with only work on her mind, and bachelor songwriter Brad Allen ( Rock Hudson), a bachelor with only sex on his, repeatedly clash on the telephone over his dominance of their party line; he uses the telephone morning and night to serenade women, and Jan cannot get through to make or receive her business calls. As if their animosity did not complicate matters enough, these two antagonists are connected by more than the phone company's failure to upgrade its technology in Manhattan. Jan, it turns out, is also being relentlessly but unsuccessfully wooed by Brad's best friend and her client, Jonathan Forbes ( Tony Randall). Inevitably, Brad accidentally comes face to face with the other end of his party line and instantly decides to make a play for her, masquerading as " Rex Stetson," wealthy oilman from Texas, in order to prevent Jan from discovering his real identity as her nemesis on the telephone. His ruse works and she falls for him. Just as inevitably, Jan stumbles upon Brad's real identity and, furious at his deception, breaks off all further contact. Now realizing that he is in love himself, in an effort to win Jan back Brad hires her to redecorate his bachelor apartment while he, confident of a reconciliation, goes through his little black book to inform all his old girlfriends that he is getting married. But Jan de

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Masked Men: Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Arts and Politics of the Everyday *
  • Masked Men - Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction *
  • 1: The Spy in the Gray Flannel Suit *
  • 2: The "Paradox" of Hegemonic Masculinity *
  • 3: Tough Guys Make the Best Psychopaths *
  • 4: The Body in the Blockbuster *
  • 5: The Age of the Chest *
  • 6: Why Boys Are Not Men *
  • 7: The Bachelor in the Bedroom *
  • Epilogue: Who Was That Masked Man? *
  • Notes *
  • Select Filmography *
  • Works Cited *
  • Index *
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