Teacher's Pet 
Produced by William Perlberg.
Directed by George Seaton.
Screenplay by Fay and Michael Kanin.
Cinematography by Haskell Boggs.
Process photography by Farciot Edouart.
Art Directors: Hal Pereira and Earl Hedrick.
Musical score by Roy Webb.
Editor: Alma Macrorie.
Release date: April 1,1958.
Running time: 120 minutes
CAST: Clark Gable, Doris Day, Gig Young, Mamie Van Doren, Nick Adams,
Peter Baldwin, Marion Ross, Charles Lane, Jack Albertson, Florenz Ames,
Harry Antrim, Vivian Nathan.
asked to lecture to a University evening-session journalism class, self-taught
city editor Jim Gannon (Clark Cable) refuses in a letter full of contempt
for people who "teach" journalism. His publisher, however,
orders him to attend. He arrives in time to hear Professor Erica
Stone (Doris Day) denouncing him for the opinions expressed in his letter.
Taken with her good looks, Jim enrolls as a student. Although he successfully
eliminates his competition, Dr. Hugo Pine (Gig Young), Jim is less successful
in keeping his identity a secret.
Already angry with him, Erica is outraged when Jim demands that she
criticize her father's Pulitzer Prizewinning newspaper articles as outmoded
compared with his own modern ones. She tries to prove him wrong, but
in all honesty can't. And when they discover that one of Jim's best
reporters is a former student of Erica's, teacher and pupil are reunited.
Hollis Albert, Saturday Review: While (the film] is funny
at times, it isn't at others. Perhaps this is because the stars - -
- aren't good at comedy. Miss Day looks too businesslike, and Mr. Gable
looks and sounds a little too much like President Eisenhower. Gig Young
turns in a blessedly funny performance. One of the movie's gimmicks
has several of the nation's motion-picture reviewers acting as staff
members on the paper. They are outright hams, one and all.
Variety: The Kanins have decorated the framework with
some hilarious comedy lines and scenes which director George Seaton
has set up with skill and delivered with gusto. Gable frankly mugs through
many of his comedy scenes and it is effective low comedy. One of his
best performances in years. Miss Day, who apparently can do almost any
kind of role, is bright and fresh. Gig Young gives the picture its funniest
moments, milking the scenes with the expertness of a farcical master.
Fitzpatrick, Films in Review: This pleasant programmer would
not merit a review in Films in Review but for a sad fad: Clark Gable
is feeling and showing his age (57). The masculine self-confidence he
has projected for 30 years-has gone. Gable himself seems to know it
has gone and he resorts in this film to mugging of so stereotyped a
kind it is heart-breaking to see... - And film historians can perceive
the beginning of the end of Gable's great career.
The New York Times: All concerned have welded romance,
ribbing and reality into a cheerful and charming entertainment. Gable
is not a caricature, nor are the other staff members. Perhaps Miss Day
is a mite too exotic for the role . . . but she does convey some of
the dedication needed for teaching . . and she certainly has the equipment
to turn the head of . . - Mr. Gable.
My Review: For some wicked reason, I like this film a
lot. I have watched it numerous times. Perhaps because the film is well-structured
and carries a very good script. Clark makes wonderful comedian. Only
if he's allowed to do more of these stuffs in his early days. MGM just
couldn't realize what a talent they had on their hand. Instead of casting
Gable into light comedy, he's mostly doing heavies, and gangster roles.
Even later on, he was casted in screwball comedy. The script was not
well-suited for him. It's funny the last three comedies Clark did was
all with Paramount, Teacher's Pet, But not for me, and It started in
Naple. They are much better than most of the ones he did in MGM. Only
wish he hadn't contracted his entire career with MGM. Imagine how many
more interesting films he would be in!
PET is a delightful and witty romantic comedy. The principal characters
are a tough city newspaper editor who has never been to college, a psychology
professor who has written dozens of books, and an attractive woman journalism
instructor. In a lesser film the tough editor would make a fool of the
professor and win the woman on his own terms. Fay and Michael Kanin,
however, have written a story with deeper meaning in which the newsman
changes his ideas about intellectuals and education. Yet the film is
not merely what the newsman would call a "think piece." Under the direction
of George Seaton, Clark Gable, Gig Young, and Doris Day have fully realized
the comic aspects of the story so that TEACHER'S PET is both intelligent
Jim Gannon (Clark Gable), the city editor, does not believe journalism
can be learned in school. He has nothing but contempt for education
and has hired a Phi Beta Kappa in a menial position "for laughs"; then
one day he is forced by his boss to visit a college journalism class.
When Gannon goes to the college, he sees a frumpy older woman going
into the classroom and assumes that she must be the instructor. When
he finds that the teacher is instead a young attractive blonde, Erica
Stone (Doris Day), he decides to sit in on the class, but without revealing
his identity. He quickly becomes her star pupil but tries without success
to change the relationship to a romantic one. He finds that he has a
rival for Erica's affections, a psychology professor named Hugo Pine
(Gig Young). Gannon immediately has his staff at the newspaper do some
research on Pine and finds that he has written two dozen books, all
with titles like SYMPTOMS AND SYNDROMES, and has held many prestigious
positions, such as that of a consultant on psychological warfare for
We see that these credentials do not impress Jim Gannon because he does
not like "eggheads," and he assumes that Professor Pine is a dried up
old man whose knowledge has nothing to do with real life. Gannon is
therefore encouraged about his chances with Erica. The scriptwriters
have thus carefully prepared us for the inevitable meeting of Gannon
two men meet accidentally at a nightclub; Gannon is there with a date,
Peggy DeFore (Mamie Van Doren), who is a singer at the club. Pine comes
in with Erica, and before the evening is over, Pine destroys all of
Gannon's preconceptions about intellectuals. For one thing, he is goodlooking
(Gannon's date says, "He's dreamy -- must be from Hollywood"). After
Gannon mutters that Pine probably doesn't know anything outside his
specialty, he finds that Pine knows more about baseball and has better
war stories than he himself does. Pine can also mambo and beat out a
tribal rhythm on the bongo drums. He can even outdrink Gannon, but finally
passes out because Gannon has bribed the waiter to give him triple-strength
drinks. Erica then confesses that Pine is so good at everything that
it is quite a strain on her because she keeps wanting him to miss --
The next day Gannon visits Pine and seemingly is impressed by his mixture
of intellect and hangover. He says, "I'm beginning to think something
of the education bit," and back at the newspaper he advises one of the
young employees to go back to school so he will not be like Gannon,
knowing only newspapers and nothing else. Also, Gannon begins having
his writers do more interpretive pieces, to give the readers more to
think about. And at the end of the film he is delighted with the idea
that he can get faculty status at the college.
Meanwhile, the romance between Erica and Gannon continues its up-and-
down course. Gannon's fortunes go up when Erica says she is not romantically
interested in Pine; she is just collaborating with him on a book. They
go down dramatically, however, when she discovers who Gannon is and
assumes he has been playing a trick on her. At this point Pine becomes
Gannon's helpful confidant and gets him and Erica back together for
the happy ending.
Gannon and Erica, Clark Gable and Doris Day play quite well together
despite the more than twenty-year difference in their ages. Gable had,
of course, been playing such roles since the early 1930's, and was still
good, but the romantic comedy was new territory for Day. She had been
in twenty-one previous films, but chiefly in musical roles. The box-office
receipts for TEACHER'S PET proved that she could be as popular a comedienne
as she was a singer, and she went on to make an immensely successful
series of romantic comedies with Rock Hudson. Day did sing the title
song for TEACHER'S PET off camera, however, and it became a hit record.
Gig Young is engaging in the role of Dr. Hugo Pine, and Mamie Van Doren
is suitably unrefined and voluptuous in the small role of Peggy DeFore,
whose main purpose in the film is to embarrass Gannon in the nightclub
scene. Many of the newspaper reporters are played by actual newspapermen
in what was more a publicity gimmick than an attempt at realism.
Much of the humor of this comedy comes from its turning upside down
the popular stereotype of the intellectual. Jim Gannon expects any woman
teacher to be old and unattractive and any male professor to be old,
stuffy, and so full of "book learning" that he knows nothing else. Since
the film is generally presented from Gannon's viewpoint, the audience
shares his surprise when he meets Erica Stone and Hugo Pine. The overall
view of TEACHER'S PET indeed seems to be that the intellectual does
have something to contribute to the "real world, " and that no matter
what his virtues, he inevitably is going to lose Doris Day to the fifty-seven-year-old,
charismatic Clark Gable.
Though chief credit for the success of a film usually goes to the director
or an actor or actress, in the case of TEACHER'S PET, it is the scriptwriters,
Fay and Michael Kanin, who deserve that honor. They gave to the director
and actors and actresses a strong story, witty dialogue, and a fine
mixture of thought and humor.
Academy Awards - Nomination - Best Supporting Actor - Gig Young
Academy Awards - Nomination - Best Story & Screenplay (Writing Directly
for the Screen) - Fay Kanin, Michael Kanin