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)
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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 ... 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:

"OFFICE WIFE!" What is the future of the "office wife"? Boss and secretary (Paul Douglas and Shelley Winters) face a crisis in their affair. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The entire story takes place during the 24 hour period from Friday afternoon, June 19 1953 to Saturday afternoon, June 20 1953. See more »

Goofs

While the board members are waiting for Bullard's arrival, Jesse Grimm says all he's thinking of is a mess of soft-shelled crabs straight out of Chesapeake Bay. As he finishes saying this Walling is shown smiling in a close-up, but in the immediately succeeding medium shot Walling is visibly grim and scowling. 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.
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Soundtracks

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

 
An all star cast before they were the vogue
31 December 2001 | by mdmphdSee all my reviews

Robert Wise is perhaps better known as a director of musicals - West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Star!,etc. However, he was also adept at grabbing our attention and holding it, as with The Day The Earth Stood Still (classic sci-fi) and Somebody Up There Likes Me (launching Paul Newman as a prize fighter). Here, he takes an incredible cast, gives them each something to chew on and let's us in on the fun. It also won Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, costumes and Cinematography. It won a special jury price at the Venice Film Festival and Golden Lion and WGA nominators for director and writer, so there's some laurels attached. There are many standout scenes and performances -- June Allyson proving she can make more out of the generic housewife and a negligee, Frederic March as a scheming, palm sweating numbers man, Shelley Winters in her bombshell mode, but remarkably restrained(and no one wants to kill her in this movie!), and then there are the standouts of Walter Pidgeon (& that voice)behind leaded glass spectacles and a wild mop of hair, Barbara Stanwyck stealing the thunder away from the major roles just by listening in her chair, with William Holden blustering his way into a couple of decent monologues(his angry white man bit isn't always as compelling from movie to movie)but Nina Foch won a best supporting actress nod for her caring and steadfast senior admin. Only Paul Douglas doesn't seem to be completely connected with his head salesman caught in a scandalous jam. Never one for a subtle role, he doesn't quite have the hang of pretending to talk to someone on a phone, but he does bring a gravitas to his situation once it's a Sword of Damocles over his head. Despite all of this mincing about characters, EXECUTIVE SUITE is a remarkably fascinating power struggle that holds up nearly fifty years later. The few quirks of the film that ground it in the the 50s are easily overpowered by a brilliant ensemble. Wise allows that none of these characters is perfect, but that makes them all the more watchable as they try to wend their way thru the maze put before them. Who needs a Max Steiner soundtrack when there's so much more to the silences between great actors. Four stars out of five - MDMPHD


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 April 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Executive Suite See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,383,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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