A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long suffering brother.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reference librarian Miss Costello (Joan Blondell) says, in response to a question about baseball star Ty Cobb, "He played only with the Detroit Tigers for 21 years." In fact, Cobb played major league baseball for 24 years - 22 years with the Tigers and two years with the Philadelphia Athletics. See more »
Reference department, Miss Blair. Oh, yes, we've looked that up for you, and there are certain poisons which leave no trace, but it's network policy not to mention them on our programs.
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Opening credits: "The filmmakers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of the International Business Machines Corporation." See more »
Desk Set was the next to last teaming of Tracy and Hepburn and the first one away from MGM. It does have a different look to the product they did at MGM. Still good, but different. Probably because this was done in Cinemascope and Technicolor.
Hard to believe that Cinemascope would be used on a film essentially set indoors and on one set, the set being Hepburn's office. But that was to show the immense size of Emirac the giant computer being installed there which Katharine and her staff think is going to replace them.
Desk Set had been on Broadway two year ago and had a respectable run. It starred Shirley Booth in Katharine Hepburn's part and the rest of the cast were not names by any means. I'm sure Spencer Tracy's role had to be built up from the stage version.
Even so, the film is essentially Hepburn's. As usual in their films she has a rival to Tracy. In the past that part was played by such people as Melvyn Douglas, David Wayne, William Ching, and now Gig Young. It seemed like every movie comedy in the late 50s and early 60s had either Young or Tony Randall as the defeated rival role. Young gives his patented performance here.
A running gag throughout the film are the calls handled by Hepburn's staff at the broadcast network for inane information. Like someone up in the corporate headquarters is playing trivial pursuit.
Also look for good performances by Joan Blondell, Sue Randall, and Dina Merrill as Hepburn's staff and Neva Patterson as Emirac's installer and keeper.
A good addition to the Tracy-Hepburn pantheon.
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