7.4/10
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63 user 24 critic

Executive Suite (1954)

Passed | | Drama | 30 April 1954 (USA)
When the head of a large manufacturing firm dies suddenly from a stroke, his vice presidents vie to see who will replace him.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Ernest Lehman (screen play), Cameron Hawley (based on the novel by)
Reviews
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Holden ... McDonald Walling
June Allyson ... Mary Blemond Walling
Barbara Stanwyck ... Julia O. Tredway
Fredric March ... Loren Phineas Shaw
Walter Pidgeon ... Frederick Y. Alderson
Shelley Winters ... Eva Bardeman
Paul Douglas ... Josiah Walter Dudley
Louis Calhern ... George Nyle Caswell
Dean Jagger ... Jesse Q. Grimm
Nina Foch ... Erica Martin
Tim Considine ... Mike Walling
William Phipps ... Bill Lundeen
Lucy Knoch ... Mrs. George Nyle Caswell (as Lucille Knoch)
Edgar Stehli Edgar Stehli ... Julius Steigel
Mary Adams ... Sara Asenath Grimm
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Storyline

Avery Bullard, President of the Tredway Corporation has died. But he never named a clear successor, so the Board members must choose a replacement. The most likely is Loren Shaw, a skilled businessman, but some of the others don't like his calculating ways. But to stop him, they'll have to find someone else they can back. Will it be the engineer Don Walling? That will take convincing, they don't trust his youth and idealism. And he isn't even sure he wants the job, he might be happier creating rather than politicking. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He had a "love nest!" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 April 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuando llama el deseo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,383,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer John Houseman wanted Henry Fonda for the role of McDonald Walling. Fonda turned him down to star in a Broadway musical that never reached the stage. See more »

Goofs

When Don tries to delay the start of the meeting, Shaw states that five members are sufficient for a quorum -- the four men present plus Julia Tredway's proxy (and later, Julia in person). But all Don had to do to hold up the meeting was to walk out, thereby depriving it of the necessary quorum. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[pre-opening-credits sequence; views of skyscrapers]
Narrator: It is always up there, close to the clouds, on the topmost floors of the sky-reaching towers of big business. And because it is high in the sky, you may think that those who work there are somehow above and beyond the tensions and temptations of the lower floors. This is to say that it isn't so.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Singin' in the Rain
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Hummed by Tim Considine
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Corporate maneuvers
10 May 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Herbert Lehman, the adapter of the novel that serves as the basis for this corporate drama makes a tremendous contribution with his screen play. Little seems to have changed in the way corporate America did business then, which it still holds true today. The film, as directed by Robert Wise, keeps us involved in the maneuvers the executives of the company do behind the scenes when the head of the company dies suddenly.

We are given a gripping drama as to what goes on among all the possible candidates to take the helm of the business. There will only be a winner, but who can be the most qualified person to take the company to do better than it had performed under the dead man? Would it be the ambitious Loren Shaw, a man with facts and figures at the tip of his fingers? Would it be Frederich Alderan, the man who has dedicated almost 30 years of his life to the business? Or would it be McDonald Walling, the younger man who knows what's wrong with the way the company has been turning inferior products to its customers?

The all star cast assembled for the film do an outstanding job guided by Mr. Wise, the director. William Holden plays Walling, the youngest of all the executives. Mr. Holden gave an inspired performance as the man who knows where the focus of the company should be, and he is decent enough not to want to be seen as pushing to get the CEO's job.

Fredric March, one of the best actors of his generation, is one of the best things in the film. His ambitious Loren Shaw, clearly, the man who makes no bones about his aspirations, is one of the best roles he played for the screen. Mr. March's portrayal of the ruthless Shaw gives us an idea of how driven some people in those high places will react knowing the power they'll yield, not caring how they will affect the lives of those under them.

The rest of the players are good. Barbara Stanwyck has a small part as the daughter of the man that created Treadway. Walter Pigeon is Fred, the man who has given his life to this company. Paul Douglas is Walter, the straying man having an illicit relation with his secretary. Louis Calhern is the reptilian Casswell, who stands to make a lot of money out of his gamble to back up Shaw. Nina Foch, the executive secretary Erica, does a fine job in projecting the sadness of a lonely woman who has probably loved the dead man Bullard. Shelley Winters only has a couple of scenes as Eva, the secretary that suddenly sees the light in her situation with Walter.

The film offers a good look at the financial district of New York as it looked in those years. It's sad to realize what the recent events have done to that part of Manhattan and how different it looks today!


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