Blog Directory CineVerse: Old-school romance

Old-school romance

Thursday, November 18, 2021

What do you get when you pair a young box office favorite with a much older actor who hasn’t been considered a heartthrob or surefire hitmaker for nearly 20 years? The result is Teacher’s Pet, a relatively lightweight romantic comedy that’s long on runtime but perhaps a bit short in its ability to earn the status of an all-time classic. CineVerse took a classroom approach in evaluating this movie last week, which provoked the following observations (to listen to a recording of our group discussion, click here).

What was interesting, unorthodox, surprising, or disappointing about Teacher’s Pet?

  • Clark Gable seems to be mugging a lot for the camera – offering comic glares and exaggerated reactions galore, which are arguably appropriate for a romantic comedy but perhaps overdone.
  • This is a long film for a romcom, clocking in at two hours. Debatably, the filmmakers could have pared this story and some of its subplots down to make it more effective.
  • Some hopelessly dated and archaic elements can’t be overlooked in this movie, including Gable grabbing Day for an unsolicited kiss at will; Gable remarking that he might have “belted” Day when asked what he would’ve done under a different circumstance; Mamie Van Doren singing “The Girl Who Invented Rock and Roll,” which sounds nothing like rock ‘n’ roll; and continual shots and scenes involving the characters smoking and drinking.
  • The depiction of the newspaper business and how it has been forced to adapt to the increasing competition remains relevant today. Instead of worrying about the threats of television and broadcast news, print journalism has remained increasingly marginalized over the past two decades thanks to the rise of the Internet and smartphones. This film also gives us a rare early glimpse at the actual workings of a busy newsroom and printing press.
  • Teacher’s Pet serves as yet another fitting vehicle for Day, who commonly appeared in “opposites-attract” narratives in which we get to hear her sing at least once.

Major themes

  • Street smarts vs. book smarts, and experiential education vs. academic education.
  • Stepping outside your comfort zone, familiar surroundings, and chosen way of life to broaden your knowledge.
  • The importance of maintaining journalistic integrity.
  • Opposites attract.
  • The value of rolling with the changes. Gable and Day each learn that they must have an open mind and embrace the other’s methodology and approach to journalism; Gable also explains that the newspaper business has been forced to adapt to survive, which remains a topical theme today.

Similar works

  • Doris Day romcoms like Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back
  • His Girl Friday
  • The Shop Around the Corner
  • Broadcast News
  • School of Rock

Other films directed by George Seaton

  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • The Country Girl
  • Airport

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