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This melodrama starring Robert Taylor and Burl Ives was directed by Henry Koster. An American business executive working in England wants to marry European refugee Elizabeth Mueller, but he is warned by his boss that such things just aren't done. Taylor digs in his heels and eventually finds support from his less hidebound fellow executives. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and was the first feature-length movie in black-and-white CinemaScope.
Before filming The Power and the Prize, MGM had two years before done another and better film on the corporate business culture with Executive Suite. It's not that The Power and the Prize is a bad film, but Executive Suite was better and surely had more star quality.
In Executive Suite the head of a corporation that manufactures furniture dies suddenly with no groomed successor to move in. The whole film is about the struggle for power to succeed.
The Power and the Prize has the head very much alive in Burl Ives and he's got a successor in mind in Robert Taylor. Taylor is also the fiancé of Ives's niece so real control won't be leaving his hands. He's given Taylor an assignment in Great Britain to complete a merger of a British firm with their's. And he's to do it on Ives's terms which means total control.
Mrs. Ives, who's played by Mary Astor, gives Taylor an additional assignment to check out some charities she's been contributing to in Europe.
Taylor develops a conscience about what he's doing and additionally falls in love with Elizabeth Mueller who works for the charity. He breaks it off with the niece and fails in the assignment.
The rest of the film is a struggle between the bitterly disappointed Ives and Taylor who Ives tries to destroy.
Taylor, no longer the callow matinée idol of the thirties, really developed into a fine player and some of his best performances on screen are in the fifties. Ives's part is a pre-cursor of his Big Daddy role in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof without the southern ambiance.
It's a good film, but I think the issues were far better done by MGM in Executive Suite.
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