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Twenty-seven year old New York window washer, J. Pierpont Finch, believes he can be a success in the corporate world after he impulsively picks up the book "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". The book promises its reader that he can climb the corporate ladder simply and quickly. The Worldwide Wicket Corporation, the business in the office building whose windows he washes is, according to the book, the perfect type of business. There he meets secretary Rosemary Pilkington, who sees in Ponty (as she calls him) an unassuming man who she believes the corporate world will eat alive. But Ponty, memorizing what the book tells him, does quickly climb the corporate ladder but not by doing any real work. Ponty has a few obstacles along the way such as: Bud Frump who sees Ponty as a rival and is the nephew by marriage of the company president J.B. Biggley; Hedy La Rue, a curvaceous but simple woman who has a secret or not-so-secret tie to someone important in the company; Mr. ... Written by
Although Dick Van Dyke was briefly considered to play Finch, the actor quickly dismissed the idea by pointing out he wasn't nearly young enough. See more »
Although Finch's rise to top of corporate world is supposedly pegged to sequential chapters of same-named title book he reads throughout movie, his progress through text isn't sequential - even near end of movie he is seen poring over beginning chapters for next bit of ladder-climbing advice. See more »
Except for four songs being dropped and a slight altering of the original story's pacing, this is a flawless translation of a Broadway classic to the big screen, making great use of New York locations and retaining Robert Morse in the best role of his entire career as the ambitious window washer J. Pierrepoint Finch who climbs his way up the corporate ladder by every little trick in a book that the musical takes it's title from. Morse's timing and delivery is perfect and everyone who's played the part of Finch since on Broadway (most notably Matthew Broderick a few years back) have had to emulate his basic approach to the part.
Michele Lee is also perfect as the secretary Rosemary who is madly in love with Finch. Her sexy solo of "I Believe In You" (a vast improvement over the stage's "Happy To Keep His Dinner Warm") makes you wish she hadn't given up Broadway for TV success because she has one of the best singing voices you'll ever hear.
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