Pillow talk

“Your voice is You”,  This slogan from Southwestern Bell Telephone Company from 1923. Brad’s prank with Jan takes advantage of this idea. Rock Hudson and Doris Day in the movie Pillow talk definitely emphasize on this slogan. These two people have a party line (a single telephone line shared by 2 people) and obviously their calls will overlap at some points. This leads to Rock Hudson (Brad) and Doris Day (Jan) to hate each other without actually physically meeting each other because they could never get their work done, or take an important call. “Voice, Dialect and accent” play a very important role in the movie pillow talk and on Brad and Jan’s relation.

The first time Brad see’s Jan is at a party and see’s what she really looks like. Also the fact that his best friend (Jonathan) is trying to make Jan fall for him. Thinking he can help out with that situation, he introduces himself as Rex Stetson from Texas and that’s the first time he changes his voice, tone, dialect and accent. This was a classic example of code-switching because he introduced himself to Jan as someone other than his true identity. This leads to a fake introduction of Jan and Rex (Brad). Eventually, Rex keeps talking to Jan as Brad and Rex and keeps changing his voice. At one point Brad tried to be nice to her because he figured that at once point he would have to tell her the truth and then she might not like him for that person.

This whole scenario is a perfect case of code switching because he is just changing the way he talks to Jan when he’s Rex and Brad and she falls for Rex and not Brad. Brad is able to keep the identities hidden and away from her till she finds some musical notes that she plays and finds out that Rex is in fact Brad. She hates it that she was played along the whole time however, by merely changing one’s voice doesn’t make the person any different, so she gives in to Brad’s proposal.

The whole love story of Rex, Brad and Jan was mainly based on code switching and the fact that a person’s voice is a person’s voice and that cannot change. It’s something that tells the person about one’s identity. The only difference between Brad and Rex was the accent he put on. However, in the end your voice will tell the person your real face and that is something you cannot change.


One thought on “Pillow talk

  1. This is a really interesting take on this article. It seems like you took “voice” to mean something beyond the literal sounds a person makes, in which case, I think you’re 100% correct. Brad can hide his true voice, but he can’t change it. I like the idea that it was there the whole time, and that Jan might have recognized that, and so could forgive Brad and love him (albeit after some terrible interior decorating). I find myself wondering about the “true face” you mention at the end though. Isn’t the fact that Brad would lie and deceive like that part of his true character? In that case, is Jan simply able to overlook this flaw when she sees that he is really sorry, or is that something separate from his “true face”?


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