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Desk Set (1957)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  2 August 1957 (West Germany)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 5,264 users  
Reviews: 84 user | 40 critic

Two extremely strong personalities clash over the computerization of a TV network's research department.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Mike Cutler
Sylvia Blair
Ruthie Saylor
Miss Warriner
Harry Ellerbe ...
Nicholas Joy ...
Mr. Azae
Diane Jergens ...
Merry Anders ...
Ida Moore ...
Old Lady
Rachel Stephens ...


The mysterious man hanging about at the research department of a big TV network proves to be engineer Richard Sumner, who's been ordered to keep his real purpose secret: computerizing the office. Department head Bunny Watson, who knows everything, needs no computer to unmask Richard. The resulting battle of wits and witty dialogue pits Bunny's fear of losing her job against her dawning attraction to Richard. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Make the office a wonderful place to love in!


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 August 1957 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Cosas de mujeres  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is the first film that Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn did in color and the eighth of the nine films they starred in together. Their next (and last), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), came ten years later. See more »


Sumner explains to his tour that the has a handful of punch cards containing Shakespeare's play Hamlet. He is holding no more than 20 cards. Since the text of Hamlet contains over 160,000 characters (62,000 if compressed) it would be physically impossible to store that much data on so few punch cards. See more »


Mr. Azae: You don't care whether you impress people or not, do you?
Richard Sumner: You wait until you get my bill. You'll be impressed.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: "The filmmakers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of the International Business Machines Corporation." See more »


References Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) See more »


Something's Gotta Give
Written by Johnny Mercer
See more »

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User Reviews

Life before Google
18 January 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This comedy keeps turning on cable any now and then. When faced with the prospect of watching substandard fare, the clear choice is to go to something that is amusing, as well as to entertaining, which is why "Desk Set" is a good bet to watch.

"Desk Set", directed by Walter Lang, evokes those bygone years before automation and the arrival of the computers into one's life. The comedy, adapted from the stage with great care by Henry and Phoebe Ephron, accomplishes all the requisites for a nice way to spend a couple of hours.

The time is the late 50s in Manhattan. The cost controlling expert, Richard Sumner, is hired to make changes in the way the New York firm can cut costs in all areas of business. Mr. Sumner's solution is to start automation in several areas, such as in the payroll department. He faces a formidable task when he takes to task making the research department more efficient, in the days before Google.

Mr. Sumner has to deal with the smart Bunny Watson, who has more facts and figures at her fingertips than any contraption could find at any given moment. Thus begins a tug of war between the man who is perceived as the "terminator of jobs" and the four women in research. They'll teach him a thing, or two.

The best part of the film is the interplay between the two principals, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Its a tribute to them, as actors, they could work so well together. Also, toward the end of the movie, at the company's Christmas party, we see a playful, and drunk Bunny singing Cole Porter's "Night and Day" to the beat of the bongo playing of Richard Sumner. That scene shows a playful Katherine Hepburn having a great time in front of the cameras.

This delicious movie will certainly please anyone looking for a good time. Ms. Hepburn does excellent work as the spinsterish Bunny. Mr. Tracy is equally her match as the efficiency expert who is not in touch with reality.

The women in the research department, Joan Blondell, Dina Merrill and Sue Radall, are quite good. Gig Young has the thankless task of being a man interested in Katherine Hepburn, when it's obvious her heart clearly belongs to Spencer Tracy.

Enjoy the movie, but better yet, enjoy the magic created by Kate and Spencer!

18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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