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Needing to fill the position of general manager of his company, and believing that an executive's wife is crucial to her husband's success, auto industry mogul Gifford brings three couples to New York to size up: Jerry and Carol: he hard-driven and self-reliant, she willing to use her beauty to further her husband's career; Sid and Elizabeth, he ulcer-ridden and torn between achieving success and restoring their troubled marriage, she positive that his job will kill him, but gamely agreeing to play the good wife for the duration; and down-to-earth Bill, whose good-natured Katie fears that his promotion would spell the end of their idyllic familiy existence. Written by
Paul Penna <email@example.com>
A section of Lauren Bacall's dialogue from the film is used at the end of the song "The Asphalt World", which appears on the British band Suede's second album and what is considered to be their creative high point "Dog Man Star". See more »
The office building Gifford is driven up to at the start of the film is on Park Avenue in Manhattan. However, in the succeeding shot of him inside the building, the street seen outside is definitely not Park Avenue but another, narrower, Manhattan street. See more »
Marvelous entertainment for those who enjoy pretty people dealing with superficial problems in sumptuous settings.
Breezily directed by Negulesco who never lets the handsome trappings overshadow the various goings on. But having the advantage of Cinemascope at his disposal and the setting of New York he makes sure the plush settings are on full view.
He is fortunate to have in every role an actor or star who knows how to register on screen and having the roles and pairs matched so perfectly.
Clifton Webb is upper class dignity personified making Mr. Gifford a humorous, wise, snobbish, mannerly figurehead who turns out to be nobody's fool. As his upper crust sister Margalo Gilmore is a charming delight in her brief scenes.
The three couples vying for the top spot in the company are a fun study of marriage in the 50's.
June Allyson and Cornel Wilde are the sweet small town happily marrieds who love each other and have learned how to balance his upward mobility and a stable home life even if at times June can't help but make a bit of a fool of herself. It's also nice that even though Cornel is incredibly good looking nothing is made of it to make him stand out he just is handsome and that's that.
Van Heflin and Arlene Dahl are the picture of Texas ambition and a hunger to get ahead. Arlene, with as another character points out prime Texas steaks in exactly the right places, is lovely in an over ripe way and her brazenness is a treat to behold with Van's gravity a nice counter balance.
Best of all are the troubled pair of Fred MacMurray and Lauren Bacall. Fred is fine as the stolid man so desperate to get somewhere that he has almost lost what means the most to him but it is Betty Bacall who takes top acting honors as the wounded, wary but good natured and wry Liz. She is slyly knowing in all her line reading but able to show the vulnerability just under the surface. Very good performances in the type of film often loaded with ordinary work.
About those settings, you get to see an aerial view of 50's New York plus many of the sights and the quaintly called country house is a mansion of impressive size and richly appointed rooms. And of course when everybody dresses up they are gowned in amazing clothes and wearing jewels worth many fortunes. A good time.
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