In the 1959 romantic comedy film Pillow Talk, Brad Allen is a successful music composer and womanizer living a luxurious life in New York City. However, with a simple change in accent, Brad suddenly transforms into Rex Stetson, an innocent countryman all the way from Texas. By faking a new accent, Brad is able to grasp a different persona and trick Jan Morrow into believing that he is not the “sex-manic” living upstairs but an inexperienced new-comer to the city life. Brad first takes on his identity as Rex when he encounters Jan at a nightclub. When the two finally begin to talk, Brad suddenly introduces himself in a Texan accent in order to hide his identity.
I found it extremely interesting how the audience was able to see Brad in an entirely different light. He was no longer the playboy who would make phone calls with multiple women, but an innocent and selfless man. Although Brad presented absolutely superb acting skills, his Texan accent was the key factor in his complete change of image. His accent sparked a myriad of stereotypes that caused Jan to misperceive the real “Rex Stetson.”
Jan immediately fell in love with Rex’s mysterious nature. Since he came from a completely different background, she was attracted to his foreign views and values. Immediately after their first meeting, Jan loved how different he was from the other men she had met and wanted to help him adjust to the city.
I had noticed that Brad’s accent not only gave him a nonnative image, but also made it seem as if he were more accustomed to the rural, nature life. This made him look as if he were an innocent man with great inexperience with women. His Texan accent allowed him to speak in a softer tone and helped portray himself as “the perfect gentleman.”
After observing the act of code switching throughout the movie, I was stunned at the transformations Brad was able to make. In my opinion, I do not believe that Jan would have taken a great interest in Brad if it had not been for his change of voice. By taking on a new accent, Brad was able to act differently from his normal self and slowly become more immersed in the character of Rex. Even after watching the movie, I still felt uneasy about the fact that Jan was able to accept Brad’s actions, despite the never-ending lies that took place during their entire relationship. This not only strengthened my view on the power of code switching, but also allowed me to understand the complex nature of human beings.