Teacher’s Pet James Gannon, the hardboiled city editor of a newspaper, believes that the only way to learn the business is by way of the School of Hard Knocks, and has a very low regard for college-taught journalism, so he’s not pleased when his managing editor orders him to help Erica Stone, a college professor, with her journalism class. Finding himself attracted to her, he pretends to be a student in her class, not revealing he’s Gannon, whom she despises. As they bob and weave around their mutual growing attraction, they both begin to gain respect for each other’s approaches to reporting news, but how will Erica react when she finds out who he really is?
Doris Day and Clark Gable. Together.
About five minutes in you know where this story is leading, but it sure is fun seeing it get there. Of great value in the cast is smarmy Gig Young as the perfect writer and the perfect intellectual (and the perfect foil to get on Gable’s nerves). You’ll also spot Mamie Van Doren, that low-rent version of Marilyn Monroe, as Gable’s showgirl cutie in a few scenes.
Teacher’s Pet’ is one of the unsung successes of Doris Day’s run of romantic comedies. Go on, treat yourself to an exceptional example of the genre.
Probably the first of the sixties ‘SEX’ comedies.
Teacher’s Pet Doris Day was a breath of fresh air. Not only was she an extremely beautiful woman, she was a versatile actress and performer, and as for her singing, I can safely say that I would sooner hear Doris Day sing, than any other female vocalist before or since.
But apart from her singing she was just as well known for her talents as a comedienne, in a series of ‘sex’ comedies in which she always played the virginal unsuspecting prey to the rich, handsome sex maniacs, played by the likes of Rock Hudson, Cary Grant and James Garner.
This film however is probably the first in which this formula was tried, and although not the big smash anyone had hoped for, it nonetheless paved the way for her future success throughout the sixties. In fact with musicals coming to an end in popularity, it was this kind of film which prolonged Miss Day’s movie career by a further ten years.
Her love interest in this vehicle is the wonderful if not aged, Clark Gable, and although it was to be one of his final films, he proves that he is still no stranger to a decent script, and is able to perform his comic turn effortlessly.
It is a story of a hardened reporter of the old school, and a beautiful journalism teacher from the night school, and how the two come together despite conflicting ideals.
An advocate of the school of hard knocks, Gable pretends to be an up and coming journalist student so he can attend Professor Day’s classes, in order to cause his own brand of trouble and bring the prim and proper know-it-all professor down a peg or two. However things obviously turn a bit difficult when he realises that he is in love etc etc blah blah blah. Routine stuff.
Already we have the typical sex comedy scenario of how the guy pretends to be somebody else to get his own back. We saw it again with greater comic effect in the following years Pillow Talk and again in 1962’s Lover Come Back and quite surprisingly again in 2003’s Down With Love with Ewan McGregor and Rene Zellwegger. Again it’s routine stuff, but routine stuff that works.
Although the two leads handle their roles well, in my opinion only one actor shines through this entire film and that is Gig Young. From the moment Young is given screen-time, the other actors have no choice but to sit back and cool off in his shade.
Young plays a handsome and dashing psychologist who is an expert on nearly every subject you care to press him on. He is also a potential beau to Doris Day’s professor and therefore a love rival for Gable. The nightclub scenes and the subsequent hangover scenes are a joy to behold and will have you chuckling throughout. His lines are witty and delivered impeccably in Gig Young’s usual boyish manner. This film is a treat for this reason alone.
If you’re a fan of Doris Day/Rock Hudson style sixties sauce, then give this one some time and see where it all began.