Desk Set (1957)

Desk Set (1957)
7.3
  • 7461
  • Approved
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release year: 1957 ()
  • Running time: 103 min
  • Original Title: Desk Set
  • Voted: 7461

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.

#PersonCharacters
1Spencer TracyRichard Sumner
2Katharine HepburnBunny Watson
3Gig YoungMike Cutler
4Joan BlondellPeg Costello
  • by 3.5/5

    [Miss Hepburn and Mr. Tracy] can tote phone books on their heads or balance feathers on their chins and be amusing -- which is about the size of what they do here.

  • by


  • by

    The least, perhaps, of the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn collaborations...this 1957 comedy is nevertheless a bright and witty vehicle for its stars, directed well and anonymously by that fine old hack Walter Lang.

  • Life before Google by 7

    This comedy keeps turning on cable any now and then. When faced with the prospect of watching substandard fare, the clear choice is to go to something that is amusing, as well as to entertaining, which is why "Desk Set" is a good bet to watch.

    "Desk Set", directed by Walter Lang, evokes those bygone years before automation and the arrival of the computers into one's life. The comedy, adapted from the stage with great care by Henry and Phoebe Ephron, accomplishes all the requisites for a nice way to spend a couple of hours.

    The time is the late 50s in Manhattan. The cost controlling expert, Richard Sumner, is hired to make changes in the way the New York firm can cut costs in all areas of business. Mr. Sumner's solution is to start automation in several areas, such as in the payroll department. He faces a formidable task when he takes to task making the research department more efficient, in the days before Google.

    Mr. Sumner has to deal with the smart Bunny Watson, who has more facts and figures at her fingertips than any contraption could find at any given moment. Thus begins a tug of war between the man who is perceived as the "terminator of jobs" and the four women in research. They'll teach him a thing, or two.

    The best part of the film is the interplay between the two principals, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Its a tribute to them, as actors, they could work so well together. Also, toward the end of the movie, at the company's Christmas party, we see a playful, and drunk Bunny singing Cole Porter's "Night and Day" to the beat of the bongo playing of Richard Sumner. That scene shows a playful Katherine Hepburn having a great time in front of the cameras.

    This delicious movie will certainly please anyone looking for a good time. Ms. Hepburn does excellent work as the spinsterish Bunny. Mr. Tracy is equally her match as the efficiency expert who is not in touch with reality.

    The women in the research department, Joan Blondell, Dina Merrill and Sue Radall, are quite good. Gig Young has the thankless task of being a man interested in Katherine Hepburn, when it's obvious her heart clearly belongs to Spencer Tracy.

    Enjoy the movie, but better yet, enjoy the magic created by Kate and Spencer!

  • I adore this movie. by 7

    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.

#PersonCrew
1Leon Shamroycinematographer
2Cyril J. Mockridgecomposer
3Walter Langdirector
4Phoebe Ephronwriter
5Henry Ephronwriter
6William Marchantwriter