Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Great On Screen Couples: Doris Day and Rock Hudson

Believe it or not, we missed one of the biggest on screen couples of all time for our first year of posting about great screen couples last year. Don't know how we missed Doris Day and Rock Hudson but we did. Well better later than never as this year I will talk about a really terrific couple who made three wonderful films together. Pillow Talk (1959), Lover Come Back (1961) and Send me No Flowers (1964). I have seen all three films multiple times and they are all entertaining.

Doris had been churning out bright and cheerful musical comedies since the late 40's while Rock burst on the scene in small roles in films in the late 40's and early 50's. He found his footing in some of the most known melodramas of the 50's in All That Heaven Allows, Magnificent Obsession, Written on the Wind, and of course Giant. But he really had never done comedies. So when the idea of Pillow Talk came around, Doris was all for it while Rock turned it down three times. It took meeting Day and a great screenplay to change his mind. He and Doris had instant chemistry and the rest is history. Pillow Talk was one of the biggest hits of 1959, earning around $7.5 million. Doris would wind up being the top film star for five years straight beginning in 1959 (which is still a record). Rock was number two.

So a follow-up film was green lit called Lover Come Back in 1961. And once again, another hit for the pair. I found Lover Come Back to be particulary sharp and biting and showing how wonderfully easy Day and Hudson could perform together.

They went their separate ways for their next films. Doris would team with James Garner for The Thrill of It All and Move Over Darling both in 1963. And while they had good chemistry, it was nothing like her and Rock. Hudson meanwhile paired with Gina Lollobrigida for the engaging Come September.

Day and Hudson would reunite in 1964 for Send Me No Flowers, which is my favorite of their films. It was the first to show them as a married couple. And they still had some zing. Should also be noted that Tony Randall co-starred with the pair in all three films and he was aces.

Doris and Rock with Tony

I have done a marathon of these three films several times and it's a wonderful experience. All are great comedies showing one of Hollywood's best onscreen couples.


Both stars went to TV after their film careers cooled off in the 60's.

Rock nicknamed Doris "Eunice Blotter" and Doris called him "Roy Harold"

Doris on first meeting Rock: "I had never met Rock Hudson before, but the very first day on the set I discovered we had a performing rapport that was remarkable. We played our scenes together as if we had once lived them. Every day on the set was a picnic."


  1. Of the three movies, Pillow Talk is my favorite. I think even if you have never really been a fan of either Doris Day or Rock Hudson, you will enjoy this fluffy film. This film maybe a little outdated, but there were some funny scenes such as: when Doris Day discovers the real identity of Hudson's character.

    Good job Monty!!

  2. Rock and Doris had AMAZING chemistry! They were totally fabulous together.

    Like you, I like "Pillow Talk" the best of their 3 pairings. "Send Me No Flowers" second, then "Lover Come Back."

    Pillow Talk is one of the few comedies I count among my all-time favorite movies. I get the biggest kick out of his Rex Stetson accent. Oh, and when he asks about the dip recipe...hilarious!!

  3. I don't think I ever saw Send Me No Flowers, but I enjoyed their other two films very much. You're right, Monty, they did have great chemistry!

  4. This has to be one of my favorite posts because Doris Day is my favorite actress from this time period, hands down.

    She made me love the romantic comedy genre, which I'm not a huge fan of nowadays. I'm making it my personal goal to see ALL of her films. Not quite there yet, but I'll get there.

    "Pillow Talk" out of the three is my favorite, then "Send Me No Flowers". My mom and I recite lines from her films all the time! Their chemistry was wonderful for "Pillow Talk". Another films of hers that I really enjoy are "Please Don't Eat the Daisies", "Move Over Darling", and although it wasn't well received, and definitely not her best film, her later one "Where Were You When The Lights Went Out".

    Great post!


  5. Love this couple ... and perfectly timed to my Pillow Talk Pizza Party this past Saturday!

  6. I like these films quite a bit. In one of them (Lover Come Back?) Hudson is pretending to be a good guy, not a rogue. He comments to Day that that kind of guy would probably have her in his bedroom in under two minutes. Cue a clock appearing on screen and through various machinations, he does have her in his bedroom in less than that amount of time. It was a very funny scene.

    I have the vague feeling I mentioned this movie here before. If I did, my apologies. Since you like their pairings, I highly recommend Down with Love starring Renee Zellweger in the Day role, Ewan McGregor in the Hudson role, and David Hyde Pierce in the Randall role. It is a pitch perfect spoof of the "sex comedies" of the early 60s, especially the Hudson/Day films.

  7. I love all three comedies. But "LOVER COME BACK" is my favorite. It has a sharpness and sexuality that puts the other two in the dust.

  8. Mighty B, I'm also a huge Doris Day fan and have collected all of her films and "Pillow Talk" is one of my favorites.

    "Please Don't Eat the Daisies", was one of my first Doris Day movies that I watched and fell in love with..

    Cassicfilmboy, I think having a "Pillow Talk Pizza Party" is a fab idea.

    Chip Lary, Lover Come Back? is a great Doris Day film and I think think your recommendations are perfect pairings. I will check it out..

    RosieP, Another vote for the very entertaining film, "LOVER COME BACK".

  9. Cool stuff, I am in the finishing stages of my Pillow Talk write up that will go live on Wednesday morning.

    It was a mere coincidence that Lover Came Back was on the other day. And I agree with a couple of the other commenters, the inneuendo was much more pronounced here. But it is a fun film frolic if I do say so myself.

  10. iluvcinema, i will spotlight your review after you post it up. :)

  11. My favorite onscreen couple is Doris Day and Rock Hudson. I wish they had made more romantic comedies together. My favorite of their films is Send Me No Flowers(1964) because Rock is just hilarious.


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