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The Secret of My Success (1987)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance | 10 April 1987 (USA)
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0:31 | Trailer
A talented young man can't get an executive position without rising through the ranks, so he comes up with a shortcut, which also benefits his love life.

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writers:

Jim Cash (screenplay), Jack Epps Jr. (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael J. Fox ... Brantley Foster / Carlton Whitfield
Helen Slater ... Christy Wills
Richard Jordan ... Howard Prescott
Margaret Whitton ... Vera Prescott
John Pankow ... Fred Melrose
Christopher Murney ... Barney Rattigan
Gerry Bamman ... Art Thomas
Fred Gwynne ... Donald Davenport
Carol Ann Susi ... Jean (as Carol-Ann Susi)
Elizabeth Franz ... Grace Foster
Drew Snyder ... Burt Foster
Susan Kellermann ... Maureen
Barton Heyman ... Arnold Forbush
Mercedes Ruehl ... Sheila
Ira Wheeler Ira Wheeler ... Owens (as Ira B. Wheeler)
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Storyline

Brantley Foster, a well-educated kid from Kansas, has always dreamed of making it big in New York. On his first work day in New York, he is fired in a hostile take-over and learns that jobs - and girls - are hard to get. When Brantley visits his distant uncle, Howard Prescott, who runs a multi-million-dollar company, he is given a job in the company's mail room. Then Brantley meets Christy Wills, who happens to be one of the top executives. Brantley sees how poorly the company is being run and decides to create a position under the name Carlton Whitfield, to influence and improve the company's operations. Soon things get unexpectedly out of hand, not in the least because of his aunt, his girl and leading a double life. Written by watzdabigdeal

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There's no such thing as an overnight success. Brantley Foster took two weeks.

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 April 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Secret of My Success See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,766,452, 12 April 1987

Gross USA:

$66,995,879

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$110,996,879
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Watkin was the film's original cinematographer. According to his autobiography, the reasons for being dismissed were, and still are, unknown. See more »

Goofs

When Christy comes to work after she and Brantley/Carlton spent the night together, Prescott comes to her office and then she meets him for breakfast. Prescott is wearing a dark suit and red tie. Later, after Brantley meets Christy, and then gets away from Rattigan, Brantley goes to his office to discover Prescott going through Carlton's papers. Prescott is now wearing a light gray suit and a blue tie. He is wearing the light suit in the next scene when he walks in on Brantley and Vera in his (Prescott's) office. See more »

Quotes

Vera Prescott: [into phone] This is the third weekend in a row he's found an excuse not to come to the country... No, I don't know, but knowing him it's probably some teenage airhead from the steno pool. Hmph. The last one I caught him with was so dumb, she thought "dictation" was some kind of S&M trip.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There are two different ending sequences. In the first, after they leave the boardroom Fred and Vera meet and start to flirt. Christy and Brantley go into the elevator which stops between floors. In the second version, this scene is ommitted and we cut to several weeks later where the two couples climb into a limo and go the opera. The first shows up on the video releases, whereas the second shows up in broadcast versions. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Take Me Home Tonight (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

El Munequito
Written by Francisco Cruz
Performed by El Haitianito
Courtesy of Kubaney Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Typically eighties, but worth watching thanks to Michael J. Fox
23 June 2005 | by philip_vandervekenSee all my reviews

The eighties, the decade of ugly clothes and hairstyles, bad music and easily forgettable movies. But there is one positive aspect about that decade and that is Michael J. Fox. He's probably one of the few actors who started his movie career at those days who I still admire. He's still nice to watch, especially in light weighted comedies like this one.

In fact, the title "The Secret of My Succe$s" already says enough about what you can expect from this movie (also notice the little dollar sign in the title), but I'll give a short resume anyway. It shows how Brantley Foster, a talented and well-educated young man coming from rural Kansas, goes to New York to find a suiting job and a nice girlfriend. But he isn't very successful, no company wants to hire him, because he doesn't have any experience. Before leaving Kansas for the Big Apple, his father had bought him a return ticket home and his mother gave him the address of his in New York living uncle, Howard Prescott, just in case when he should need some help. But what Foster didn't know is that his uncle runs a multi-million-dollar company. When he pays him a visit, he gets a job ... in the mail room. But then he meets Christy Wills, who happens to be one of the top executives. Believing that the best way to win her over is by posing as an executive, Brantley decides to take a position under the name Carlton Whitfield and of course things soon start to get completely out of hand...

I admit that this movie is as 'eighties' as you can get them. I'm pretty sure that no-one of todays directors would be able to make it exactly the way it looks, because they don't write scripts like that anymore and there are no more actors like Fox. The man that comes closest for this kind of role is probably Jim Carrey, but even then you would get a completely different kind of movie. It's probably thanks to Michael J. Fox, who is really very nice in this movie, that I forgot about most of its flaws. Once again he's the boyish, sweet guy and that's probably the best thing this movie has to offer. If it hadn't been for him, almost no-one would ever have seen the movie or would still remember it because the story isn't special and it's too typical for that time period.

All in all this is a fast-paced comedy full of typical eighties clichés, but it works thanks to Michael J. Fox's performance and that's why I still give it a 7/10.


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