You may not agree with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose members proclaimed in 1960 that “Pillow Talk” represented “the best writing, story and screenplay written directly for the screen” far better than the other obscure titles nominated that year: “The 400 Blows,” “North by Northwest,” “Wild Strawberries” and “Operation Petticoat.” But the film, which also represented the unlikely return to Hollywood of the blacklisted director Michael Gordon (“Another Part of the Forest”) has become some sort of a classic — at least enough so for Universal to pop for a major restoration of the faded Eastman Color negative, and release it as a bright and shiny Blu-ray in the studio’s centennial collection. It’s far from being one of the great romantic comedies, but there has proved to be enough in it to keep gender studies classes fired up for decades, and even justify a few hundred words on a sleepy Sunday in May in the New York Times.
The glimmerings of female desire that appeared in “Pillow Talk” — after 25 years of repression under the Production Code — had did not take long to explode into the camp excess of late 60s films like “The Girl on a Motorcycle,” which Kino has released this week as part of their burgeoning Eurotrash line. It’s not easy to recognize the Jack Cardiff who shot “The Red Shoes” in the gauzy soft-core porn of this 1968 British production, which stars Marianne Faithfull more or less fresh from her hit recording of “As Tears Go By” and Alain Delon, as the pipe-smoking, Hefneresque professor of philosophy who introduces her to the joys of easy riding as practiced in Old Heidelberg. I’ve got a few words on that one as well.