Pretty Woman Vs. Pillow Talk

The marriage plot has been quite prominent in the film industry over the past few decades. The plot that is characterized by its lead woman “getting” the lead man and vice versa, has contributed to such movie blockbusters as Pretty Woman and the classic film, Pillow Talk. While both films can be classifies as containing marriage plots, the films share other similarities as well. However, in regards to the marriage plot, Pretty Woman follows the pattern much more fluently and precisely that does Pillow Talk.
Both Julia Robert’s and Doris Day’s characters, Vivian and Jan, respectively, are strong women in their films. They both contain quite a few characteristics such as boldness, confidence, and intelligence that make them very attractive and desirable to their male counterparts. While their professions are quite opposite, the women are similar in their personalities. Jan is an interior designer and her history with men is not troublesome or lacking, but like Vivian, the prostitute, she finds that men are sometimes after only one thing. I noticed that both women are extremely confident when it comes to dealing with men; they both know what they want and what the are looking for in a male companion.
The men in these two movies are quite similar as well. Both Rock Hudson and Richard Gere play two powerful men who are popular with the ladies. Although Hudson’s career, a musician, is not typically “powerful” it does contain benefits and certain contacts that could be considered powerful. These two men both start out with the women practically chasing them. Vivian is paid to be Edward’s (Gere) “beck and call” girl, and does so willingly not just for the money, but because she is also mesmerized by his coyness, charm and good looks. Jan is attracted to Rex (Hudson) because he is also shy and coy and very handsome as well. Both women are interested in their counterparts for the particular reason that they are not men they typically meet. These men are respectful and somewhat quiet and shy. Each plot takes a turn towards the end of the movie when the women leave them, each for different reasons. Ironically and typical of the marriage plot, it then become the man chasing the woman. He is to prove his worthiness to her and to dismiss her conclusion that he, in fact, is like all other men they have encountered.
According to Radner, a key element of the marriage plot is that the woman is of lower status than the male and she is practically the “chosen one” in his eyes. The woman then finds “validation of (her) uniqueness and importance by being singled out among all other women “ by this man (Radner 57). This is certainly true in Pretty Woman, for Vivian is definitely not the norm for Edward. He has before chosen women that can be regarded as classy and in the upper social class. Ironically, although he does indeed choose Vivian, the prostitute, it is only after he has transformed her taste from streetwalker trashy to Rodeo Drive classy.
As for Pillow Talk, Jan is already of such a class that can be deemed very respectable. Hudson, as well, is of the same class and we can tell this merely by the fact that they share the same friends and acquaintances. So, it is this detail that I question that Pillow Talk can be entirely categorized as a marriage plot. While both movies share another marriage plot characteristic, which is that the heroine contributes to the “goodness” of the hero. She teaches, in essence, him to feel for others and to take their feelings and emotions into consideration. Jan reforms ‘Rex’ by showing him what love truly is and to mot be a playboy and Vivian does the same to Edward which is shown in his corporate endeavors.
Also essential to the marriage plot is the male gaze. It is so prominent in both films that it is hard to miss. It seems that every time either Gere or Hudson would eye up the heroine, the music was played accordingly or the lighting was following his eyes to their target. What comes to mind when I think of the male gaze and Pillow Talk