Well, once again, I found myself watching a “classic” comedy that I had never heard of from the 1950’s, that, much like Katherine Hepburn’s Summertime, turned out to actually be enjoyable and a pleasant surprise. The film, Teacher’s Pet, focuses on James Gannon (Clark Gable), the city editor for a major newspaper and his burgeoning relationship with a professor of journalism, Erica Stone (Doris Day). Gannon is rough old curmudgeon who thinks that skill as a journalist can only be gained through on the job experience and that it can’t be taught in a class room. When his boss forces him to attend one of Erica’s classes to give a lecture, he is smitten by her good looks and decides to pretend to be a student. The film is sort of an older precursor to hidden identity love stories like You’ve Got Mail and I mean that as a compliment. Rounding out the cast is Gig Young (yep that’s a boy’s name) as Professor Hugo Pine, a psychology professor and a man that Gannon believes is a romantic rival for Erica’s affection.
The story wasn’t that amazing, although the film itself could be absolutely hilarious at times thanks to the performance and deliver of the two male stars. Watching this film, I remembered exactly why it was that Clark Gable was the only thing I liked about Gone with the Wind. He plays the role of a charming rogue with such ease and skill that it’s very easy to understand why he was one of Hollywood’s earliest and longest running sex symbols. He plays Gannon like the definition of a man’s man, and he’s just a natural in the role. There were times in the film when his performance wasn’t that great, but when he was playing his niche as a sly and dashing rogue, he was great. Gig Young, however, as the psychology professor was a blast. His performance is probably the thing I’ll remember the most about the film when it’s forgettable plot fades away. Doris Day was good in her role as well, but having seen this film, I’m not sure I understand why she is as historically popular as she is.
This wasn’t a great movie, but I enjoyed watching it. Since the films that this blog will ultimately be composed of are award winners/nominees and/or movies I already saw and liked, that’s going to generally be a common occurrence, but as a cinephile, there are few pleasures greater than going into a film and not being sure whether this film isn’t going to just make you want to kill yourself cause the plot description sounded so boring and discovering something delightful instead.
Final Score: B-