Pillow Talk is a movie directed by Michael Gordon starring Rock Hudson, Brad Allen, and Doris Day, Jan Morrow centered around the telephone. Brad and Jan share a party line however they leave very different lives. Brad is a womanizer songwriter who spends much of his time on the phone wooing various women with the same moves. While Jan is an interior decorator who cannot stand Brad’s womanizing antics. As the movie progresses Brad meets Jan for the first time and finds her attractive however due to his antics he cannot simply approach her. Instead he creates the persona of someone from Texas, Rex, to enchant her.
Your voice is one of the most important parts of identifying. If you think of the five senses, touch, sight, taste, smell, hearing, while some of them are not very important while identifying someone, you don’t lick everyone you meet, however how someone looks and what their voice is. When entering a room you can often tell who is in it just by the voices you can hear through the door. For example I have a friend with an extremely loud and distinguishable laugh who is easily identifiable.
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company’s slogan of “Your Voice is You” plays on this idea and the importance of your voice. When Brad entered into a Texas persona to prank Jan he took on parts of that character to convince Jan. While it is easy to say that he took up a Texas dialect what he actually did is much more complicated. He used words that Texans would use, such as “y’all” or “fixin to” in an accurate tone with the right accent also with accurate cadence. To pull of a dialect is much more complicated than it can seem. In Pillow Talk, Brad successfully pulls it off to convince Jan however it isn’t known whether if Jan had traveled to Texas or had more experience with a Texas dialect that she would have been able to pull his bluff.
Much of Pillow Talk centers on talking over the phone, removing over the other sensory identifiers, therefore leaving someone’s voice as the only identifier. Going back to the idea of “Your Voice is You”, Brad created his knew character, Rex, around the voice. He worked backwards from the Texan dialect to create a person, You is Your Voice, to misperceive Jan. One of the interesting tricks that Brad uses to enchant Jan is using Brad, the persona, to down talk Rex, to make Jan more interested in Rex. He uses beautiful artistry of the code words of each character and their own accents and to trick Jan and would have been successful if Brad and Rex’s lives hadn’t been so closely intertwined.