Doris Day stars in the best butt show of 1958!

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.

Doris looks vexed at Mamie Van Doren's butt, but she needn't be...

Doris looks vexed at Mamie Van Doren's butt, but she needn't be...

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.

I actually had a German teacher in high school who kind of looked like this...

I actually had a German teacher in high school who kind of looked like this...

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—

We're not saying Clark would have turned up his nose at Mamie's shape, but...

We're not saying Clark would have turned up his nose at Mamie's shape, but...

—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.

Here is a scene worthy of frame-by-frame anal-ysis! (Sorry for the pun, but what do you expect from a porno pro like your Traveler?)

Here is a scene worthy of frame-by-frame anal-ysis! (Sorry for the pun, but what do you expect from a crusty sex mag pro like your Traveler?)

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!

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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.

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Jean Harlow, forever sexy…

How nice it must have been during a cold winter night during the Great Depression to be able to slip into a neighborhood bijou and watch Jean Harlow light up a screen with her matchless combination of earthy sexiness and well-timed wisecracks.

This was one of Harlow's earliest hits.

This was one of Harlow's earliest hits.

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Their first meeting in Gable's apartment is a classic of flirtation.

I caught Hold Your Man a couple of weeks ago on Turner Classic Movies. A comedy-drama, I thought it works best in the first half, when Harlow and Gable have some priceless dialogue. You can just feel Harlow’s body as she walks around in the form-fitting dresses, and stands with a gentle insolence with her hand on her hip. Then the movie turns more dramatic and too sentimental. Still, I could see how just looking at Jean on the big screen could have taken an audience on a mini-vacation from its woes.

happy!

I can well imagine what Cagney's lap must have felt like with Jean on it: happy!

Harlow’s platinum blond hair and slinky outfits had women across the country adapting the look for their own. You can get a sense of what New York felt like in Harlow’s prime when you look at the paintings of Reginald Marsh, who populated his canvases with images of Harlowesque types striding through the tumult of New York City, whether on the streets, the beaches, the dance halls, or burlesque stages.

The late Reginald Marsh matchlessly captured the feisty women of 30s and 40s New York in his paintings and etchings.

Marsh himself seems to long for the beauties who stride through his canvases.

The reason why Jean Harlow is so sexy still is because she makes us laugh. Even though we can’t get her to sit down on our individual laps, she gets a real physical response out of us–a physical release–when she evokes our laughter. A beautiful woman with a warm-hearted sense of humor (as opposed to the cutting kind) is the most alluring of all females. And Jean was very generous, even democratic, in the distribution of her charms through the medium of comedy.

Hmm. Maybe if I concentrate hard enough, I can imagine her sitting on my lap, too…

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