Desk SetDirector: Walter Lang
Based on the Broadway play by Robert Fryer and Lawrence Carr, Desk Set represents the eighth screen teaming of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Hepburn plays the head of a TV network research department; Tracy plays an efficiency expert, hired to modernize Hepburn's operation. When Tracy has a huge computer installed, Hepburn and her co-workers (including Joan Blondell and Sue "Miss Landers" Randall) fear that they're going to lose their jobs. Their suspicions are confirmed when the computer merrily begins issuing pink termination slips. But something is obviously amiss: the computer not only fires the ladies, but also the head of the network--and Tracy, who isn't even on the company payroll! At this point, Tracy explains that the computer was designed to help Hepburn and her staff and not replace them; he also confesses that, given the pink-slip incident, this might not have been such a hot idea. But Hepburn, who has fallen in love with Tracy, is in just the right mood to forgive him--and doesn't need to consult her research files to come up with this decision.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- 20th Century Fox
- Region Code:
Cast & Crew
|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 Warringer|
|Ida Moore||Old Lady|
|Jesslyn Fax||Mrs. Hewitt|
|Shirley Mitchell||Myra Smithers|
|Paul S. Fox||Set Decoration/Design|
|Ray Kellogg||Special Effects|
|Charles LeMaire||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Cyril Mockridge||Score Composer|
|Lionel Newman||Musical Direction/Supervision|
|Maurice Randsford||Art Director|
|Maurice Ransford||Production Designer|
|Walter Scott||Set Decoration/Design|
|Robert L. Simpson||Editor|
|Lyle Wheeler||Art Director|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Tracy and Hepburn, will beat any three of a kind!
It takes a certain sense of humor to enjoy this movie. If you have it, then you will be laughing out loud part of the time and just enjoying the clever dialogue at other times. Not only are Hepburn's interactions with Tracy terrific, but she has some wonderful scenes with Joan Blondell. You really believe that they've worked together for years and have become great friends. There is nothing quite like watching and listening to Hepburn recite the beginning of "The Song of Hiawatha" in her New England accent. By the way, EMERAC's "person" was played by the wonderful Neva Patterson.
¿Desk Set¿ is one of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy¿s later film efforts - post MGM, pre-'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.' But it generally lacks in the chemistry that most of their work at MGM had in spades. Tracy is Richard Sumner, a method's engineer who's assigned to make the daily operation of a television station more efficient. Of course he's bound to butt heads with researcher, Bunny Watson (Hepburn). Unlike most Tracy/Hepburn movies, in which their love for one another is never in question, on this occasion, Gig Young is inexplicably and needlessly thrown into the mix as Bunny's boyfriend, Mike Cutler. Joan Blondell is a welcome edition as the wise cracking, Peg Costello. But it's the remnant pang of that old Hepburn/Tracy's stardust and magic that keeps this otherwise deadly boring film afloat. ¿Desk Set¿ is at last presented in its original Cinemascope 2:35:1 aspect ratio and it is anamorphically enhanced to take full advantage of 16:9 displays. Although colors can be rich, vibrant and bold, flesh tones have an uncanny pasty look in certain scenes and a reddish/pinkish overcast in others. There are instances where dirt, film grain and age related artifacts crop up throughout this print. Also, black levels tend to be weak in certain scenes. There's a hint of edge enhancement and some pixelization but the print is generally smooth looking. The audio, as with all Cinemascope films of the period, is vintage stereo and presented at a reasonable listening level. Fox is genuinely inconsistent in the extra content they provide for their 'Studio Series' titles. If you recall, 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' contained a 70 min. documentary while 'The Inn of The Sixth Happiness' had only an audio commentary. On this occasion we get an audio commentary and some truncated Movietones junk that is short, boring and generally slapped together as an afterthought. Not what I would expect from any collection dubbed, 'Studio Series'. If you're a die hard Tracy/Hepburn fan than this is a must have. But it's not one of their best or even one of their mediocre. It's just big on...well, being big and short, unfortunately, on entertainment!
I absoluteley love watching the wits of Tracy's and Hepburn's characters pitted against each other not only for the rivalry, but for the joy they exhibit in being so engaged. I work with modern day technology and because I've seen so many advances in my fifty plus years, I feel the weight of the pressures that such changes in the workplace bring about - both good and bad "for some". Downsizing is real. The "girls'" fears are real that they could be replaced by a machine and cold, uncaring people like the woman "forgot name"who comes along with EMERAC. I also enjoyed Gig Young's character who takes Bunny for granted and even more, the fact that she finally dumps him for the much more interesting Tracy character who sees her as what she really is - a warm, intelligent equal and partner.