Warners' Wartime Pajama Party
Hollywood made great sport appearing to kick censor pants, especially by frisky wartime and a public's increased appetite for spiced comedy where much was read between lines. Customers wondered how
|An Unmarried Couple Forced To Share Rooms --- and That's All Paying Customers Needed To Know|
|Ida Lupino Said Years Later That Pillow To Post Was a Show She |
Got Most Comments On
|To a 40's Audience Starved For Sex, This Scene Was Plenty Hot Potatoes|
One trick for tweaking the Code was to let an innocent situation be misread by others. Sydney Greenstreet plays Pillow To Post in a near-continuous state of high moral dudgeon. He assumes unmarried Ida Lupino and William Prince to be wed, is outraged when it's discovered they're not, is finally (if barely) convinced that the couple hasn't spent a night together. That same is firmly established for us as well. The PCA would permit characters being misled onscreen, but never their audience. Slapstick stood in for verbal inference as censorship firmed grips. It's what made Cary Grant fall down in so many screwball comedies. Humor got more physical to keep players from getting too physical ... with each other. Ida Lupino does gags in Pillow To Post they'd have given Louise Fazenda a decade before.
|Syd Greenstreet Plays Misunderstanding Surrogate For 1945 Patron's Dirty Minds --- A Device H'wood Often Used To Tweak The Code|
|Ida and Bill Wrap Themselves in Walls Of Jericho, as Patrons|
Waited a Feature's Length To See Them Tumble Down
Pillow To Post can still delight even when not funny. The pursuit of laughs during WWII grew anxious, if not desperate. It needn't have, of course, if what I hear of then-customers most wanting comedy is true (exhib comments confirm that even half-strength Laurel and Hardy features of the period raised roofs). Wartime exigencies are observed in Pillow To Post --- all men are in uniform or explaining why they're not. Most of action takes place on a sound-stage motor court, a deep and elaborate set typical of ones built by WB to keep filming indoors. Husbands are at all times eager to ship out to varied danger zones. Sydney Greenstreet, as heavy as I've ever seen him, frets over weight loss necessary to qualify for combat service, denying himself even a banana when the wife reminds him that it has seventy-seven calories (the things I learn watching movies).
|Come On In, Folks, Lupino's Letting Her Hair Down!|
Salesmanship for Pillow To Post is vivid reflection of Warner then-priorities on parade. Ida Lupino is billed as a "Lady Wolf" --- woo-woo! --- that Andy Hardy expression heavily (over)used by others. This too was departure for what seemed a 24/7 tragedian, Lupino doing comedy as infrequently as WB upper-classwoman Bette Davis, so curiosity was rife to see her prance in nighties and dance a Jitterbug. Ads emphasized this was a bedtime story, pillow fighting and night-clothes in virtually all displays. Several young men who'd registered in