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Desk Set (1957)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 2 August 1957 (West Germany)
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2:17 | Trailer

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Two extremely strong personalities clash over the computerization of a television network's research department.

Director:

Walter Lang

Writers:

Phoebe Ephron (screenplay), Henry Ephron (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Spencer Tracy ... Richard Sumner
Katharine Hepburn ... Bunny Watson
Gig Young ... Mike Cutler
Joan Blondell ... Peg Costello
Dina Merrill ... Sylvia Blair
Sue Randall ... Ruthie Saylor
Neva Patterson ... Miss Warriner
Harry Ellerbe ... Smithers
Nicholas Joy ... Mr. Azae
Diane Jergens ... Alice
Merry Anders ... Cathy
Ida Moore ... Old Lady
Rachel Stephens ... Receptionist
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Make the office a wonderful place to love in!

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 August 1957 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Cosas de mujeres See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo | Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The president/CEO of IBM from its inception (as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co.) in 1914 until 1956 was Thomas J. Watson; his son, T.J. Watson Jr., was CEO from 1956-71. See more »

Goofs

In the opening shot of the film, at Rockefeller Center, the shot begins at ground level and tilts up the building, but it was clearly shot from the top of the building down to ground level and then reversed because all the people on the ground are walking backwards. See more »

Quotes

Peg Costello: The traditional Thanksgiving song? One of them is "Over the River and Through the Woods"!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are "printed" on computer paper by an IBM unit. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Young Like It Hot (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Something's Gotta Give
(uncredited)
Written by Johnny Mercer
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tracy and Hepburn Fall in Love...with a Primitive Computer as Matchmaker
13 June 2004 | by Ralph Michael SteinSee all my reviews

I showed "Desk Set" to my fourteen-year-old computer guru and for him the "Brain" in this charming Tracy/Hepburn romantic comedy might as well as have been used in a Flintstones flick.

Spencer Tracy is efficiency expert Rich Sumner, hired to introduce computerization to a TV station. While several departments will "benefit" from modernization his focus is on the all-female research department headed by Bunny Watson, Katharine Hepburn. Bunny is a spirited manager whose staff clearly adores her. Veteran character actress Joan Blondell is especially good as Peg, the older member of the library team.

Through confusion and wrong deduction, Bunny fears that Rich's eagle-eye observation of the department's functions adumbrates the severance of all and their replacement by a soulless machine. Of course underlying the heightened anxiety of the librarians is a budding romance between Rich and Bunny. And any growing attraction between Hepburn and Tracy is first-class entertainment (in real life they were sort of close, too).

When the computer and its sterile female operator arrive, the scene is set for a bit of slapstick cyber-comedy, years ahead of the actual havoc that humans create (and still do).

"Desk Set" is pure fun with the finest cinema couple of all time interacting assuredly and amusingly.

One distraction was my kid interjecting why the computer couldn't have been based on a real model of the times. This stopped when I reached for my ever-handy roll of duct tape.

The special features here - some commentary - add little. So what? The movie on DVD is well worth the price.

9/10.


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