Avery Bullard, President of the Tredway Corporation has died. But he never named a clear successor, so the Board members must choose a replacement. The most likely is Loren Shaw, a skilled businessman, but some of the others don't like his calculating ways. But to stop him, they'll have to find someone else they can back. Will it be the engineer Don Walling? That will take convincing, they don't trust his youth and idealism. And he isn't even sure he wants the job, he might be happier creating rather than politicking. Written by
Ken Yousten <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Producer John Houseman wanted Henry Fonda for the role of McDonald Walling. Fonda turned him down to star in a Broadway musical that never reached the stage. See more »
Bullard's arms are depicted much too far apart for normal when he's in the Western Union office (the result of having to use two actors to provide "Bullard's" arms, one on either side of the camera that serves as Bullard's point of view). See more »
[pre-opening-credits sequence; views of skyscrapers]
It is always up there, close to the clouds, on the topmost floors of the sky-reaching towers of big business. And because it is high in the sky, you may think that those who work there are somehow above and beyond the tensions and temptations of the lower floors. This is to say that it isn't so.
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For all the MGM-ness of it -- the all-star roster of contract players and freelancers, the classy production values, Louis Calhern doing his reliable devilish-rogue act -- it has touches that one associates with neither the plush studio nor the time period. It's pretty frank about high-powered execs and their mistresses, for one, and the handheld camera of the opening sequence (through unfakeable Wall Street locations, yet) and lack of background music are more typical of independent movies of a few years later. Contrast it with "Woman's World" from the same year, which is also a corporate-power-struggle yarn (and also has June Allyson as a devoted, gauche corporate wifey), but is fake from the get-go. This one is dated in Holden's we're-all-in-this-together speechifying, not to mention the one-company factory town, and Stanwyck's histrionics are a bit over the top. (Hey, I love her too; her unchecked hysterics have to be Robert Wise's fault.) But the dialogue is terser than one generally associates with Ernest Lehman, the shady stock maneuvers are unfortunately as relevant as ever, and the juicy melodramatics still pack a punch. In fact, as corporate drama goes, it's as entertaining as all getout. Fredric March is a standout in a high-powered cast, and Shelley Winters, for once, underplays.
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