7.3/10
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99 user 44 critic

Desk Set (1957)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 2 August 1957 (West Germany)
Trailer
2:18 | Trailer
Two extremely strong personalities clash over the computerization of a television network's research department.

Director:

Walter Lang

Writers:

Phoebe Ephron (screenplay), Henry Ephron (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Spencer Tracy ... Richard Sumner
Katharine Hepburn ... Bunny Watson
Gig Young ... Mike Cutler
Joan Blondell ... Peg Costello
Dina Merrill ... Sylvia Blair
Sue Randall ... Ruthie Saylor
Neva Patterson ... Miss Warriner
Harry Ellerbe ... Smithers
Nicholas Joy ... Mr. Azae
Diane Jergens ... Alice
Merry Anders ... Cathy
Ida Moore ... Old Lady
Rachel Stephens Rachel Stephens ... Receptionist
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Storyline

The mysterious man hanging about at the research department of a big TV network proves to be engineer Richard Sumner, who's been ordered to keep his real purpose secret: computerizing the office. Department head Bunny Watson, who knows everything, needs no computer to unmask Richard. The resulting battle of wits and witty dialogue pits Bunny's fear of losing her job against her dawning attraction to Richard. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Make the office a wonderful place to love in!

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 August 1957 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Cosas de mujeres See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo | Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The New York skyscraper whose exterior is used as the headquarters of Federal Broadcasting Company (the fictional network where this film is set) is Manhattan's famous Rockefeller Center, which is actually the HQ for NBC. See more »

Goofs

The large array of flashing white lights simply show two repeating patterns, which obviously have nothing to do with the system's processing. See more »

Quotes

Mike Cutler: Bye girls. Always a pleasure to see your freshly scrubbed, smiling faces. Remember our motto: Be on time, do your work, be down in the bar at 5:30.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: "The filmmakers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of the International Business Machines Corporation." See more »

Connections

Version of The Desk Set (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(uncredited)
Music by James Pierpont
Played on piano at the Christmas party
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I adore this movie.
2 May 2001 | by budmasseySee all my reviews

It comes as no surprise that the 30-second attention span generation finds this jewel a little dull. There is no quick-cut music video cinematography. The characters are all actually old enough to be believable in their roles. which are not based on clothing or haircuts. It depends on talent rather than hype. And most of all, it is far too intelligent, witty and literate for today's garbage-numbed Philistine.

The story is simple, as all good stories are. Hepburn feels her job, and those of her staff, are threatened by Tracy and his ominous computer. It may not sound like much in this day of computer ubiquity, but substitute dot.com flop or outsourcing for computer and you have a contemporary comedy that still works.

Let's ignore the leads for just a moment. The supporting cast, which includes Joan Blondell as the arch-typical right-hand man, or should I say woman, and Gig Young as the chauvinistic, corporate climbing fiancé, easily outclasses what passes for marquee stars today. Husband and wife team Henry and Phoebe Ephron, parents of Nora Ephron, contribute a brilliantly witty script that, unfortunately for modern moviegoers, isn't peppered with vaudevillian pratfalls to help point out the funny parts. Instead, it relies on the intelligence of the audience and draws on that of the cast to produce a humor that never ages.

Hepburn is almost universally considered the greatest film actress ever. Tracy is utterly magnificent, and the chemistry between the two of them, owing of course in part to their long-standing relationship, is palpable.

I adore this movie, and if there were a Canon of Cinema, this would be in it.


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