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>
In addition to the Tredway Corporation headquarters building seen in exterior shots being the Pennsylvania Power & Light (PPL) building in Allentown, Pennsylvania, additional evidence that the fictional community of "Millburgh, PA" is patterned after Allentown is that it was also the only city in Pennsylvania other than Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (which Millburgh clearly is not) that was served by United Airlines in 1950. When Mr. Shaw drops Walt Dudley off at the airport on Friday evening the flight being announced is "Flight 79 to Pittsburgh and Chicago" and the aircraft seen at the gate is a UAL DC-3; Dudley is also arrives back from Chicago on Saturday in a UAL DC-3. (Curiously while waiting for Mr. Bullard to arrive for the 6PM Executive Committee meeting on Friday Mr. Dudley says that he has a "7PM date with a DC-6" which is clearly incorrect.) UAL began service to Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport in 1935. (The airport scenes in the film were actually shot at Long Beach Airport south of Los Angeles.) The twin cities of Bethlehem and Allentown also had direct passenger rail service from New York City in 1950 via the Lehigh Valley Railroad (from Pennsylvania Station at 33rd St and 8th Ave) and the Jersey Central Railroad (from Liberty-Courtland Street) with the 88 mile trip taking about two hours. There is also a St. Martin's church in Allentown where the funeral was expected to be. See more »
When Don stops the car in the middle of the street and gets out to walk home, all the cars previously seen parked end-to-end on the street through his car windows a moment before suddenly vanish, with no cars anywhere to be seen. But in the very next shot of Jesse Grimm and his wife passing by in their car, the street suddenly changes from being devoid of any parked cars to those same background shots of pre-1940 vehicles parked thickly along the curb. 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.
See more »
A rare look into the business of running a business - a corporation - this is surprisingly entertaining, for adults, I would gather. In the first few minutes, we observe the death of the President of this company, from his p.o.v.-an artful beginning from director Wise. There are 5 Vice Presidents, all of equal rank. One of them will be the new Prez. The selection procedure is pretty simple. The Board, comprised of 7 members (2 other stockholders besides the 5 V.P.'s) votes yes or no on whomever is nominated. 4 'yes' votes or more gets the job.
The cast is superb, really first rate, but the one to watch, for me, was Fredric March as Shaw, the V.P./Controller, whose sole criteria for success is the bottom line. He's smooth, too smooth, and sweats a bit too much. You'll note that nothing is ever seen of his private life, unlike the others. All his energy is geared around the company, but ultimately for his own benefit, even if he doesn't see it that way. All the actors are very articulate, delivering their lines with impressive precision. The maneuvering done by each of the 5 V.P.'s is something to see; one front-runner (Pidgeon) for the top job seems a shoo-in, but just as quickly this sense evaporates. Any of the 5 appears to be the man for the job at one point or another - the decision and vote needs to be reached quickly, before the company starts to suffer, so we add tension to the plot.
This picture has not really dated 50 years later, as much of the sensibilities and office politics remain unchanged today. There may be more sleaziness and unscrupulous behavior nowadays, but even this is presented in the form of one of the board members (Calhern), a sneak who sees the death of the President as just another way to make some money in stocks. After checking this out, you may want to catch the documentary "The Corporation" to get a little more insight into such an entity.
35 of 37 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?