Film Flick: Teacher's Pet

Monday, May 22, 2017

Teacher's Pet pits education against experience..... and Doris Day against Clark Gable. It's the star power more than the conceit of the story that draws you into this film, partly because it just seems like such an unlikely pairing.  Though both stars were big names, Clark Gable was nearly twenty year's older than Day. Cary Grant and James Stewart both turned down the role, citing the age difference between themselves and Day as the reason. Gable, older than either, took the role instead. To help accommodate their male lead, several changes were made to the film. Instead of a mere reporter, Gable's character Jim became the newspaper editor. Other changes happened too; in fact, myth has it that the movie was deliberately filmed in black & white in an attempt to disguise Gable's age and weight. The tactic doesn't entirely work. Gable is not the debonair man that made ladies swoon in Gone with the Wind.  He is heavier. He is aged. And yet, they turn that to his advantage, giving him a grizzly persona that is nonetheless very rugged and manly, and the script lampshades the topic by pointing out how boring a perfect man is. Perfect he may not be, but Clark Gable is still Clark Gable at any age.  Doris Day herself recalled, "I could actually feel the magnetic force of his personality. He dressed in marvelous tweeds. There was something very affirmative about him, and a directness that suggested great inner strength. He projected utter simplicity. A man who lived on the simple, down-to-earth scale. Very much like James Cagney.”

As compelling as Gable still manages to be,  he is only one half of the equation. At the tie of making Teacher's Pet, Day was in the middle of her career, just as Gable was heading towards the end of his. She was long established as good news for the box office. It shows in her assured performance. However, this film was my first exposure to the star, and the hype about this actress is not overrated!  She manages to be convey a sense of sexiness without ever venturing to kittenish or unintelligent personas. She's funny, but never too over the top. If the sizzle between herself and Gable isn't electric, it is still certainly present and the vulnerable moments we see between the two, when the characters really connect, is entirely due to her. 
Clark Gable's Jim Gannon is a newspaper editor who finds the idea of teaching journalism in a classroom ridiculous; real experience is what is needed. Unfortunately, he is made to eat his words! After sending a scathing letter that rejected the opportunity to come talk to a college class about journalism, he finds out his boss wants him to give that talk. Going to the class reveals that the teacher, Erica Stone (Doris Day), is a total knock-out. Before he can talk to her though, she shares the letter he wrote with her students- and proceeds to lampoon him, calling his kind an outdated type of reporter, not equipped to handle the changes in journalism as a field. Enrolling as a student under a false name, Jim can't seem to decide if he wants to prove the teacher is wrong, or gain her attention for some- ahem- one on one tutoring. Either way, he becomes the star pupil, but another professor enters the scene. A series of misadventures at a club follows; everyone gets jealous of everyone else. Some people's motives are revealed and relationships dynamics change- but things only end up more complicated after that! Can these two survive finding out the truth about each other? Can two opposing points of view find the middle ground? Can the Teacher's Pet score a date with teacher? Watch to find out! 

2 comments

  1. great post!

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  2. I haven't seen this, but Doris Day with Clark Gable sounds very intriguing!

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