TEACHER’S PET(director: George Seaton; screenwriters: Fay and Michael Kanin; cinematographer: Haskell B. Boggs; editor: Alma Macrorie; music: Roy Webb; cast: Clark Gable (James Gannon/James Gallagher), Doris Day (Erica Stone), Gig Young (Dr. Hugo Pine), Mamie Van Doren (Peggy DeFore), Lloyd Crowley (Harry Antrim), Nick Adams (Barney Kovac), Peter Baldwin (Harold Miller), Marion Ross (Katy Fuller), Charles Lane (Roy), Florenz Ames (Colonel Ballentine), Vivian Nathan (Mrs. Edna Kovac), Jack Albertson (Guide); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Perlberg; Paramount; 1958)
“Brings together journalism and romance into a delicious rather than a nutritious omelet.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
George Seaton (“The Country Girl”/”Junior Miss”/”The Pleasure of His Company”) brings together journalism and romance into a delicious rather than a nutritiousomelet, as he breezily directs this diverting pleasant one-joke romantic comedy. The film gets by on unsophisticated comedy and surprisingly does not resort to the usual sitcom clichés. It’s written by the husband-and-wife writing team of Fay and Michael Kanin.
Doris Day plays the daughter of a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and a dedicated journalism teacher at a local college. Day sings the melodious title song, which became a pop hit; while the sexy Mamie Van Doren, playing Clark Gable’s exotic dancer girlfriend, dazzles us with her physical attributes as she sings “The Girl Who Invented Rock and Roll.” The 57-year-old Clark Gable, in the late stages of his film career, is superb as the crusty old-time reporter from the school of hard knocks who chases after the 32-year-old academically inclined Day. Gig Young (took his acting name from a stage character he played) plays the dashing egghead professor, who is Gable’s competition for Day.
The hard-boiled and tough talking cynical city editor of the New York Evening Chronicle, James Gannon (Clark Gable), makes it clear that he’s self-educated and that the only way to learn about the fourth estate is through experience. Having been invited to give a lecture at a journalism night class at the local college, Gannon turns it down by sending the instructor a sharp letter telling her how unimportant is her class. Later, his boss, the managing editor, Harry Antrim (Lloyd Crowley), orders him to appear at the college and reminds him in no uncertain terms that the paper’s publisher, Col. J. L. Ballentine (Florenz Ames), is on the board of trustees of the college.
When Gannon shows up to make his apology, he discovers the instructor, Erica Stone (Doris Day), is a very attractive woman, and that she mockingly reads his insulting letter to the class. Unable to reveal his real name, Gannon shows up the next night and enrolls in the class under the alias “Jim Gallagher.” He quickly impresses Stone by turning in a first-class reporting assignment in record time and then receives private tutoring from her to work on a special “think piece.” But Jim is not getting anywhere with Erica on a social basis as she’s involved with Dr. Hugo Pine (Gig Young), a professor of psychology at the same college and a prolific author who is charming, youthful, brilliant and handsome.
But, predictably, leave it to Gable to find a way to win over Day, as the overlong story becomes yesterday’s news before it ends. It nevertheless still satisfies because of the endearing combo of Gable, Day, Young and Van Doren.
REVIEWED ON 3/9/2008 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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