7.3/10
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98 user 44 critic

Desk Set (1957)

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

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ON DISC
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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Captain Vinka Kovelenko defects from Russia, but not for political reasons. She defects because she feels discriminated against as a woman. Captain Chuck Lockwood gets the order to show her... See full summary »

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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

Improvised Scene: Sumner is leaving Bunny's apartment, shortly after Mike leaves and Peg arrives, when Bunny and Sumner are recapping the afternoon's events for Peg. Tracy puts on the ruined shoes and grimaces as he tries to walk in them, which causes Bunny to laugh. He hobbles off stage and returns with his hat pulled down over his ears, his shirt dangling out of his pants, staggering as though drunk and talking crazy. This moment, including the women's hysterical laughter and Hepburn's literally falling out of her chair, is spontaneous and not in the script. See more »

Goofs

The tape drive on either side of EMERAC should have its reels running in the same direction, like a reel-to-reel tape player, but the reels are running in the opposite direction to each other, which would break the tape if there was one. See more »

Quotes

[Sumner answers the phone while the girls are at a Christmas party]
Richard Sumner: Hello? Santa Claus's reindeer? Uh, why yes I can... let's see, there's Dopey, Sneezy, Grouchy, Happy, Sleepy, uh Rudolph, and Blitzen! You're welcome!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: "The filmmakers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of the International Business Machines Corporation." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fantastic Voyage (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
I adore this movie.
2 May 2001 | by budmasseySee all my reviews

It comes as no surprise that the 30-second attention span generation finds this jewel a little dull. There is no quick-cut music video cinematography. The characters are all actually old enough to be believable in their roles. which are not based on clothing or haircuts. It depends on talent rather than hype. And most of all, it is far too intelligent, witty and literate for today's garbage-numbed Philistine.

The story is simple, as all good stories are. Hepburn feels her job, and those of her staff, are threatened by Tracy and his ominous computer. It may not sound like much in this day of computer ubiquity, but substitute dot.com flop or outsourcing for computer and you have a contemporary comedy that still works.

Let's ignore the leads for just a moment. The supporting cast, which includes Joan Blondell as the arch-typical right-hand man, or should I say woman, and Gig Young as the chauvinistic, corporate climbing fiancé, easily outclasses what passes for marquee stars today. Husband and wife team Henry and Phoebe Ephron, parents of Nora Ephron, contribute a brilliantly witty script that, unfortunately for modern moviegoers, isn't peppered with vaudevillian pratfalls to help point out the funny parts. Instead, it relies on the intelligence of the audience and draws on that of the cast to produce a humor that never ages.

Hepburn is almost universally considered the greatest film actress ever. Tracy is utterly magnificent, and the chemistry between the two of them, owing of course in part to their long-standing relationship, is palpable.

I adore this movie, and if there were a Canon of Cinema, this would be in it.


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