Pillow to Post (1945), starring Ida Lupino, Sydney Greenstreet, William Prince, Willie Best
In short, Pillow to Post is a delightful comedy. The basic story has been told many times before: a young lady has to pretend to be married and fall in love with her “husband” for real. So, what makes Pillow to Post different? Several things:
- The acting is quite good all around.
- There are some very interesting secondary characters:
- Sidney Greenstreet as the commanding officer. A wonderful performance by an excellent actor.
- “Lucille” — a man who works as a jack of all trades at the auto court the young couple stays at.
- An obnoxious young man (a young Robert Blake) who likes to pull pranks on the other people at the auto court.
- It’s quick paced, entertaining, funny, romantic and serious.
Cast of characters in Pillow to Post
- Jean Howard (Ida Lupino, High Sierra). Daughter of a manufacturer of parts for oil wells – whose salesmen have all been drafted. So she convinces him that a woman can sell as well, and takes to the road. Where she’s unsuccessful and down to her last prospect. But she needs to find a place to stay overnight to make the deal – and the only place available only rents to married couples.
- Lieutenant Don Mallory (William Prince, Another World). The handsome, likable soldier who makes the mistake of pretending to be married to Jean, so she can stay at the auto court. Unknown to him, however, his commanding officer is staying there, and he’s forced to keep up the charade … and things only get worse.
- Colonel Michael Otley (Sydney Greenstreet, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, Between Two Worlds). Lt. Mallory’s commanding officer, a married man who’s determined to help the “newlywed couple” over their initial rough patches. A very likable fellow, who’s trying to lose enough weight that he can be shipped out overseas with his men. The movie’s set in the middle of World War II, after all.
- Captain Jack Ross (Stuart Erwin, Our Town). One of the secondary characters, almost comedy relief. The officer whose wife is very, very pregnant. Avocados!
- Earl ‘Slim’ Clark (Johnny Mitchell, Mr. Skeffington). The oil man that Jean is trying to make her sale to. A handsome young man, who becomes Mallory’s rival for Jean’s affection.
- Lucille (Willie Best, The Ghost Breakers, At the Circus). A young man named “Lucille” — his parents wanted a girl. He’s the handyman at the auto court, and shows up in scenes silly and serious. He unintentionally saves Lt. Mallory from a court martial towards the end of the movie.
Editorial review of Pillow to Post courtesy of Amazon.com
Ida Lupino could make a meal out of fiery dramas (They Drive by Night, High Sierra) and handily deliver a song (Thank Your Lucky Stars), and would later direct acclaimed thrillers in the 1950s. But only once did the multitalented marvel tackle romantic comedy, rejoining The Hard Way director Vincent Sherman for the friskily funny Pillow to Post. As an idly rich daughter of an oil-drilling equipment tycoon striving to help the war effort, she hits the road as a company saleswoman. Near a military base, she takes on another role: Here comes the Army bride, a ruse necessary to secure housing at a marrieds-only auto court.
William Prince is the lieutenant roped into playing hubby, and Sydney Greenstreet plays his crusty base commander – and fellow resident. Get the picture? Lupino does, dizzily closing a crucial sale while being a supportive “wife” who has to save her “spouse” from a courtmartial. As Louis Armstrong’s band swings and saucy chanteuse Dorothy Dandridge sings “What’cha Say?,” you’ll say Pillow to Post is one charmingly hilarious way to go.
Songs in Pillow to Post
- Whatcha Say? (1945) Music by Burton Lane, Lyrics by Ted Koehler, Performed by Dorothy Dandridge with Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra at the Tavern
- How Many Hearts Have You Broken (With Those Great Big Beautiful Eyes) Music by Al Kaufman, Played when Jean and Slim dance at the Tavern