A retired professor rents his attic apartment to pregnant Peggy and her GI-Bill-student husband. The professor ponders if his life is no longer useful while the young couple faces the challenges shared with many WW II veterans' families.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In addition to the Tredway Corporation headquarters building seen in exterior shots being the Pennsylvania Power & Light (PPL) building in Allentown, Pennsylvania, additional evidence that the fictional community of "Millburgh, PA" is patterned after Allentown is that it was also the only city in Pennsylvania other than Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (which Millburgh clearly is not) that was served by United Airlines in 1950. When Mr. Shaw drops Walt Dudley off at the airport on Friday evening the flight being announced is "Flight 79 to Pittsburgh and Chicago" and the aircraft seen at the gate is a UAL DC-3; Dudley also arrives back from Chicago on Saturday in a UAL DC-3. (Curiously while waiting for Mr. Bullard to arrive for the 6PM Executive Committee meeting on Friday Mr. Dudley says that he has a "7PM date with a DC-6" which is clearly incorrect.) UAL began service to Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport in 1935. (The airport scenes in the film were actually shot at Long Beach Airport south of Los Angeles.) The twin cities of Bethlehem and Allentown also had direct passenger rail service from New York City in 1950 via the Lehigh Valley Railroad (from Pennsylvania Station at 33rd St and 8th Ave) and the Jersey Central Railroad (from Liberty-Courtland Street) with the 88 mile trip taking about two hours. There is also a St. Martin's church in Allentown where the funeral was expected to be. See more »
When Fred Alderson and Don Walling are standing by a fence at the United Airlines gate at the airport discussing who should be the new President of the company, Mr. Alderson changes position between shots. See more »
[pre-opening-credits sequence; views of skyscrapers]
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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In a Friday afternoon in Wall Street, the president of the Tredway Corporation Avery Bullard has just had a meeting with investment bankers and sends a telegram scheduling a meeting at the furniture factory in Millburgh, Pennsylvania, at six PM with his executives. Bullard has never appointed an executive vice-president for the corporation after the death of the previous one but when he is getting a taxi, he has a stroke and dies on the street. A thief steals his wallet to get his money and his body goes to the morgue without identification. The investment banker George Nyle Caswell (Louis Calhern) sees Bullard's body from his window and decides to use the information to make money, asking a broker to sell as much Tredway stocks as possible until the end of the day, with the intention of buying them back Monday morning by a lower price making profit. Meanwhile the executives unsuccessfully wait for Bullard in the meeting room. When they learn that Bullard is dead, the ambitions accountant VP and Controller Loren Phineas Shaw (Fredric March) releases to the press the balance of Tredway showing profit and assumes temporarily the leadership of the company, expecting to be elected the next president by the seven-member board. However, the VP for Design and Development McDonald "Don" Walling (William Holden) and the VP and Treasurer Frederick Y. Alderson (Walter Pidgeon) oppose to Shaw. There is a struggle in the corporation for the position of president and Shaw blackmails the VP for Sales Josiah Walter Dudley (Paul Douglas) that is married and has a mistress, his secretary Eva Bardeman (Shelley Winters), to get his vote. Caswell needs to cover the 3,700 stocks he sold and Shaw promises to give to him the stocks for the price he sold if he is elected president. The VP for Manufacturing Jesse Q. Grimm (Dean Jagger) is near to retire but is a close friend of Frederick and supports him. Therefore the heir of Tredway and Bullard's mistress Julia O. Tredway (Barbara Stanwyck) will be responsible to give the casting vote. But she is disenchanted with the corporation. Who will be elected the next president?
"Executive Suite" is a realistic film about struggle for power in a corporation. Serious films about the Machiavellian competition in a company, such as "Glengarry Glen Ross", "Le couperet" or "El método", are usually engaging and "Executive Suite" is surprisingly great since it is not dated. The film is directed by Robert Wise, who is one of the best directors in Hollywood ever. The cast is top-notch and Fredric March has one of his best performances. The final speech of Don is a lesson for classes of motivation. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Um Homem e Dez Destinos" ("A Man and Ten Destinies")
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