I caught up with Teacher’s Pet last night on TCM, a movie I’d seen before and remembered fondly for Doris Day’s sexy performance as a night school journalism teacher who has a romantic clash-and-clinch with crusty older newspaperman Clark Gable.
I’ve never understood Doris’s image as a “virgin” in the movies, because to me she is one of the great “yummy mummy” types, an indelible combination of maturity and simmering sensuality. In this movie, whether she’s standing in front of a blackboard lecturing about pronouns or sitting on the edge of a desk in a tight skirt getting enthusiastic about the future of journalism, she is HOT! Period.
Little known trivia (I got it straight from a fan mag of the era): Bob Hope stated with dead-on accuracy that Day had the best behind in the Hollywood of her time and dubbed her “jut-butt.” Although Mamie Van Doren is alluring and amusing too in Teacher’s Pet, playing a cross between a chanteuse and a stripteaser—and although the posters (as witness this Japanese example) make it seem that Gable’s orbs are being boggled by Mamie’s moons—
—the fact is that Doris’s derriere is the real focus of the camera’s awed attention in Teacher’s Pet, especially in a scene in her office where she is trying to get Gable to take on an extra-challenging homework assignment, believing him to be a talented student and not already the seasoned and hardboiled reporter he actually is.
It was amazing, the way Doris walked around the office, and how the light was so perfectly angled to bring out every exciting contour of her caboose. To top it off, Gable kisses Doris at the end of the scene, and right after he leaves, her legs give way beneath her, literally implying a spontaneous orgasm! Oh, I could go on and on about this sequence, and its scenic qualities like how tautly Doris’s skirt stretches across her womanly hips…ye gods! I bet a study could be made to prove that nine months after this movie hit the bijous of the world in 1958, there was a mini baby boom!
Later in the film, Doris combines her curves with comedy when she does a sly impression of Mamie doing her nightclub act. It shows that Doris could have been a great burlesque dancer, maybe one of the greatest, if that had been her chosen mode of expression.
I can’t say enough good things about Doris Day in Teacher’ Pet…but did you already get that impression?
As columnist Liz Smith has repeatedly said, somebody give Doris an honorary Oscar already!
When I was searching for images for this post, I never expected to find an absolutely perfect screen capture for the scene I wanted to write about—but I did, at a lively blog called Out of the Past, which I’m adding to my blogroll. As soon as I saw it had lengthy reviews of steamy 1960s melodramas like Susan Slade starring Connie Stevens and Troy Donahue (and directed by Delmer Demetrius and the Gladiators Daves), I knew it was my kind of film site.
I found the poster images at the great memorabilia site Posteritati.