Twenty-seven year old New York window washer, J. Pierrepont Finch, believes he can be a success in the corporate world after he impulsively picks up the book "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". The book promises its reader that he can climb the corporate ladder simply and quickly. The Worldwide Wicket Corporation, the business in the office building whose windows he washes is, according to the book, the perfect type of business. There he meets secretary Rosemary Pilkington, who sees in Ponty (as she calls him) an unassuming man who she believes the corporate world will eat alive. But Ponty, memorizing what the book tells him, does quickly climb the corporate ladder but not by doing any real work. Ponty has a few obstacles along the way such as: Bud Frump who sees Ponty as a rival and is the nephew by marriage of the company president J.B. Biggley; Hedy La Rue, a curvaceous but simple woman who has a secret or not-so-secret tie to someone important in the company; Mr. ...Written by
When all the secretaries are "working", they first change shoes from white to colored. After they make up their hair and stuff, a man yells "coffee break!" When they all get up to go, they're still wearing their white shoes. See more »
This was one of the rare Broadway musicals whose book is actually more interesting than its score. So while roughly a half-dozen Frank Loesser songs from the stage version are deleted, they're not really missed. What survives is a witty skewering of office politics, featuring much of the Broadway cast. And while such '60s business staples as rampant sexism and smoking now look quaintly offensive, the gleeful satirizing of backstabbing and skulduggery in business will always be relevant. David Swift, whose training was in TV, doesn't do much with the widescreen format (except for the ingenious ballet-mechanique in "A Secretary Is Not a Toy"), but he cuts cleverly away from the production numbers just as the musical-comedy silliness is on the verge of becoming embarrassing, and he splices in some delectable location shots of '60s New York. The color scheme is bright, the pacing brisk, the cast friendly, the production values refreshingly modest. At a time in movie history when so many adaptations of stage hits were overbudgeted and overlong, what a pleasure to see something to faithful to its source material -- and so unpretentious.
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