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.
A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee a down on his luck reporter hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth, to stop a high-society woman from suing for libel.
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 <email@example.com>
The setting for the film is mainly at the offices of the fictitious Federal Broadcasting Company. See more »
After EMARAC had been present for a very short time, it's stated that EMARAC has had the data from all the books in the research department fed into it. In reality, it would've taken a large crew of keypunch (data entry) operators at least a year to input that much data. 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 are "printed" on computer paper by an IBM unit. 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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