Executive Suite

Overview

Cameron Hawley's novel of corporate in-fighting and gamesmanship was brought to the screen by producer John Houseman and director Robert Wise, working successfully in the slickest MGM style. When Avery Bullard, the hard-charging president of Tredway, the third-largest furniture maker in the United States, dies suddenly at the end of a business week, it sets off a scramble among the surviving vice presidents to see which of them will succeed him. Among the latter, the best positioned to take the job is Loren Shaw ...
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Overview

Cameron Hawley's novel of corporate in-fighting and gamesmanship was brought to the screen by producer John Houseman and director Robert Wise, working successfully in the slickest MGM style. When Avery Bullard, the hard-charging president of Tredway, the third-largest furniture maker in the United States, dies suddenly at the end of a business week, it sets off a scramble among the surviving vice presidents to see which of them will succeed him. Among the latter, the best positioned to take the job is Loren Shaw (Fredric March), an ambitious bean-counter-type who is more concerned with the profits that the company generates than the quality of what it produces. Opposing him are Frederick Alderson (Walter Pidgeon), Bullard's longtime right-hand man, and McDonald Walling (William Holden), a forward-thinking idea man brought in by Bullard but never given a wholly free hand (mostly thanks to Shaw). But Alderson's age works against him, as does his seeming lack of leadership -- and Walling is not ready (or so he thinks) to take the president's job, nor does he really want it. Caught in the same dilemma are Walter Dudley (Paul Douglas), the head of sales, who is being quietly blackmailed by Shaw over an affair with his secretary; Jesse Grimm (Dean Jagger), a production man who has always been distrustful of Walling's new ideas; and George Caswell (Louis Calhern), a duplicitous corporate player who will do anything -- including compromise the future of the company -- to protect his own financial position. And possibly holding the balance of power between them is Julia Tredway (Barbara Stanwyck), the daughter of the company's founder (who committed suicide during the Great Depression) and a major shareholder, whose unrequited love for Bullard clouds all of her thinking about the company. And caught in the middle of their struggle -- which literally has a clock ticking, toward the opening of business on Monday morning -- are the thousands of employees of Tredway, represented by a handful of fine character actors, whose jobs and futures hang in the balance over who wins this fight.
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Special Features

Commentary by director Oliver Stone; Vintage pete Smith comedy short Out For Fun; Classic cartoon Billy Boy; Theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Robert Wise's Executive Suite, based on Cameron Hawley's early 1950s novel of corporate politics and power-plays, has scarcely dated at all across six decades -- a survivor of corporate America, Hawley knew whereof he wrote, and screenwriter Ernest Lehman understood drama in a manner that few of his peers could match. The players are uniformly excellent, with Paul Douglas perhaps outclassed just a slight bit by the others on matters of subtlety; but between all of the performances from the top down -- even June Allyson in one of her best wifely portrayals -- the movie is completely engrossing on a dramatic level, with the story drawing the viewer in ever more intensely. The levels of suspense get ratcheted up in a manner of which even Hitchcock might have approved, from the Friday afternoon death of an "unidentified" man to the close-quarter personal and philosophical clashes that ensue in the boardroom -- but not without some telling vignettes along the way, including a restaurant scene involving Louis Calhern at the Stork Club that anticipates Lehman's work in The Sweet Smell Of Success three years later. This script isn't nearly as piercing as the latter, but it has a lot to say about corporate culture and thinking, and the degree to which greed and mis-directed ambition can compromise the "big picture."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/30/2007
  • UPC: 012569575523
  • Original Release: 1954
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:44:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
William Holden McDonald Walling
June Allyson Mary Blemond Walling
Barbara Stanwyck Julia O. Tredway
Fredric March Loren Phineas Shaw
Walter Pidgeon Frederick Y. Alderson
Shelley Winters Eva Bardeman
Paul Douglas Josiah Walter Dudley
Louis Calhern George Nyle Caswell
Dean Jagger Jesse Q. Grimm
Nina Foch Erica Martin
Tim Considine Mike Walling
William Phipps Bill Ludden
Lucy Knoch Mrs. George Nyle Caswell
Edgar Stehli Julius Steigel
Mary Adams Sara Asenath Grimm
Virginia Brissac Edith Alderson
Harry Shannon Ed Benedeck
John Banner Enrique, Stork Club Waiter Captain
Willis B. Bouchey
Helen Brown Miss Clark
Paul Bryar Stork Club Waiter
Robin Camp Mailroom Boy
Robert Carson Lee Ormond
Jonathan Cott Cop
Bert Davidson Salesman
Abe Dinovitch Cab Driver
John Doucette Morgue Officials
Mimi Doyle Telephone Operator
Raoul Freeman Avery Bullard
Faith Geer Stork Club Hatcheck Girl
Cameron A. Grant
John Hedloe Reporter
Mary Ellen Hokanson Nurse
Chet Huntley Voice Only
Mike Lally Spectator at Ball Game
May McAvoy Grimm's Secretary
John R. McKee Umpire
Esther Michelson
Matt Moore Servant
Burt Mustin Sam Teal
Kasia Orzazewski Liz
Phil Chambers Toll Station Attendant
Carl Saxe
Gus Schilling News Dealer
Ann Tyrrell Shaw's Secretary
Charles Wagenheim Luigi Cassoni
Wilson Wood Airport Clerk
Technical Credits
Robert Wise Director
Edward C. Carfagno Art Director
George Folsey Cinematographer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Arnold A. Gillespie Special Effects
John Houseman Producer
Emile Kuri Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Ernest Lehman Screenwriter
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
William J. Tuttle Makeup
Edwin B. Willis Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Ralph Winters Editor
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Executive Suite
1. Credits [1:43]
2. The Late President [5:03]
3. Meeting Notice [3:39]
4. Testiness [3:09]
5. Bullard's Whereabouts [4:37]
6. Empty Chair [2:34]
7. Julia's Dilemma [4:18]
8. No Longer Secret Identity [2:35]
9. Dead Dreams [4:56]
10. From Loss to Payback [4:24]
11. Good of This Company [4:00]
12. It's Not Him [3:04]
13. Interrupted Tryst [4:23]
14. Presidential Thoughts [3:11]
15. All the Facts [3:00]
16. Where Do We Go From Here? [5:13]
17. Caswell's Only Chance [4:23]
18. Either Dudley or Shaw [3:29]
19. Declared Candidate [2:28]
20. A Man Can Change [6:15]
21. Stabbing a Dead Man [5:18]
22. First Ballot [6:19]
23. Nothing's Impossible [3:07]
24. Dirty Words [3:54]
25. Faith and Pride [5:37]
26. Unanimous [2:49]
27. Cast List [:36]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Executive Suite
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Commentary by Oliver Stone
      Out for Fun
      Billy Boy
      Theatrical Trailer
   Languages
      Spoken Languages: English
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: English (For the Hearing Impaired)
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Off
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