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 <email@example.com>
When Caswell is shown looking out the office window after placing his order to sell Treadway stock short, Julius Steigel is seen sitting in his chair, his right arm on the desk and his left hand on his left knee. In the close-up immediately following, his left hand is clutching his coat lapel. 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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Robert Wise is perhaps better known as a director of musicals - West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Star!,etc. However, he was also adept at grabbing our attention and holding it, as with The Day The Earth Stood Still (classic sci-fi) and Somebody Up There Likes Me (launching Paul Newman as a prize fighter). Here, he takes an incredible cast, gives them each something to chew on and let's us in on the fun. It also won Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, costumes and Cinematography. It won a special jury price at the Venice Film Festival and Golden Lion and WGA nominators for director and writer, so there's some laurels attached. There are many standout scenes and performances -- June Allyson proving she can make more out of the generic housewife and a negligee, Frederic March as a scheming, palm sweating numbers man, Shelley Winters in her bombshell mode, but remarkably restrained(and no one wants to kill her in this movie!), and then there are the standouts of Walter Pidgeon (& that voice)behind leaded glass spectacles and a wild mop of hair, Barbara Stanwyck stealing the thunder away from the major roles just by listening in her chair, with William Holden blustering his way into a couple of decent monologues(his angry white man bit isn't always as compelling from movie to movie)but Nina Foch won a best supporting actress nod for her caring and steadfast senior admin. Only Paul Douglas doesn't seem to be completely connected with his head salesman caught in a scandalous jam. Never one for a subtle role, he doesn't quite have the hang of pretending to talk to someone on a phone, but he does bring a gravitas to his situation once it's a Sword of Damocles over his head. Despite all of this mincing about characters, EXECUTIVE SUITE is a remarkably fascinating power struggle that holds up nearly fifty years later. The few quirks of the film that ground it in the the 50s are easily overpowered by a brilliant ensemble. Wise allows that none of these characters is perfect, but that makes them all the more watchable as they try to wend their way thru the maze put before them. Who needs a Max Steiner soundtrack when there's so much more to the silences between great actors. Four stars out of five - MDMPHD
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