That’s what’s been flooding my timeline on Facebook, that’s what’s coming my way on text messages, in e-mails from family, friends, even banks and online stores. And yes, don’t we all wish for a happier 365 days ahead? Don’t we all wish that this year to come will be full of good health and joy and realized dreams for ourselves and those we love?
The last thing one wants in the first week of January is a reminder of death, especially that of someone we love. Even if that someone was not friend or family, or even acquaintance—someone we only knew through their work. Sadly, though, this has become an almost-given, come December: yet another film star I loved passes away. A year ago, it was the beautiful Sadhana; in 2013, Joan Fontaine, Peter O’Toole, and one of my absolute favourites, Eleanor Parker. Rod Taylor, Suchitra Sen, Nalini Jaywant, Dev Anand… all gone in December or January. And this year, Debbie Reynolds passed away, just the day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died.
I was testing my self-control to see how long I could last without seeing a Robert Mitchum film. Well, I finally succumbed. But yes, this I’ll say: this is a very different Mitchum film from the ones I’ve been reviewing all this while. In Cape Fear (the original film, not the 1991 remake), Mitchum is pitted against Gregory Peck in a chilling tale of an ex-convict out to have his revenge on the man responsible for his conviction.
Though Pillow Talk’s the best known of the Hudson-Day-Randall films, this is my personal favourite. It’s funny and cute; it has Rock Hudson at his gorgeous best (well, he looked equally awesome in Pillow Talk, but what the heck. Still a reason); and it’s about an industry I’ve worked in, loved and hated: advertising.
I wasn’t on Madison Avenue, but our suave, lady’s man hero—Jerry Webster (Rock Hudson)—and our efficient, good-girl heroine Carol Templeton (Doris Day) are. They’re employed with rival agencies, and their styles of working, um, differ. Prior to a pitch, Carol asks for the rundown on a potential client: “…his packaging setup, distribution setup, sales volume, and strong and weak market areas.”