How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying

( 4 )

Overview

In the time of its release, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was a rarity, a late '60s musical that was not of epic length, its 121-minute running time making it downright bite-sized next to such gargantuan entertainments as Hello, Dolly! and Oliver! It's also one of a handful of 1960s musicals that has retained its spring and snap without being consigned to the deadening reverence of being labeled a "classic" -- in other words, more than almost any of its other attributes, it's fun. And the DVD, ...
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Overview

In the time of its release, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was a rarity, a late '60s musical that was not of epic length, its 121-minute running time making it downright bite-sized next to such gargantuan entertainments as Hello, Dolly! and Oliver! It's also one of a handful of 1960s musicals that has retained its spring and snap without being consigned to the deadening reverence of being labeled a "classic" -- in other words, more than almost any of its other attributes, it's fun. And the DVD, though lacking special features of any kind, retains the essence of the film and all of the fun. The breezy pacing of David Swift's direction, and the excellent use of location footage of New York City in the opening section survive the transfer to the small screen beautifully -- this isn't the best looking movie that one is likely ever to see in DVD, even from its own period, but given that the picture was shot in Deluxe Color, which is notorious for not holding up over time, it does look damn good, and the disc producers have taken care to transfer the sound at a decent volume. Indeed, if one compares this disc to, say, the late-'90s vintage DVD of West Side Story from the same company, the differences are like night and day -- there's no serious lack of vocal or musical presence on this disc. There are no special features other than the original trailer, which is presented full-screen. The movie is letterboxed in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, capturing the original anamorphic Panavision image intact, and has been given 28 chapters, marking off each song and production number and all of the accompanying major plot points. And pricing is still one of the joys of DVD for longtime high-end video enthusiasts -- How to Succeed in Business was available on laserdisc for 40 dollars in the early '90s; the MGM/UA DVD lists for 20 dollars and looks better, avoiding all of the visual anomalies that used to afflict laserdisc playback. It's a bargain anyway one looks at it, and the only pity is that MGM/UA didn't get David Swift (who passed away in 2001, but had done narrative tracks for his Disney movies The Parent Trap and Pollyanna), Robert Morse, or Michele Lee, and perhaps even Cy Feuer, who produced the stage version, for an audio commentary track -- that would have been worth an extra five dollars, and would have done this disc 100 percent right, instead of getting it 90 percent of the way home.
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Special Features

Collectible booklet; Original theatrical trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying came to the screen as America was questioning the business ethos that had driven the country during the 1950s. Like The Apartment, How to Succeed is set in corporate America; however, whereas the earlier film used the setting as a backdrop to its main story, the musical makes the love story subservient to the setting. Equally as important, whereas The Apartment is darkly humorous, How to Succeed is joyously satirical, invigorating in its cynicism. Although several of Frank Loesser's marvelous songs were dropped, viewers still get to witness gems such as "Brotherhood of Man" and "A Secretary is Not a Toy," as well as the fine Bob Fosse choreography accompanying them. The one false note struck by the songs is the decision to give "I Believe in You" to Rosemary before Finch sings it. This sentimentalizes the song and defuses the impact when it is later reprised. Robert Morse's brilliant tour de force performance as Finch is a treasure. He combines deft comic timing with exuberance, innocence, and physical charm so that the character's ruthless ambition is always enjoyable. He dominates the film, despite fine support from Michele Lee, Rudy Vallee, and Maureen Arthur. The film has some flaws, beyond the reduction of the score -- the satire is not as sharp and the direction is not as sure as one could wish -- but overall it's witty, amusing, and rousing.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/18/2000
  • UPC: 027616809520
  • Original Release: 1967
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Mono
  • Sound: monaural
  • Language: English, Español
  • Time: 2:01:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Morse J. Pierpont Finch
Michele Lee Rosemary Pilkington
Herbert Pryor Vallée Jasper B. Biggley
Anthony Teague Bud Frump
Maureen Arthur Hedy LaRue
Murray Matheson Benjamin Ovington
Sammy Smith Wally Womper
Kay Reynolds Smitty
John Myhers Bert O. Bratt
Jeff de Benning Gatch
Ruth Kobart Miss Jones
Carol Worthington Lucille Krumholtz
Janice Carroll Brenda
Lory Patrick Receptionist
Pat O'Moore Media Man No. I
Wally Strauss Media Man No. 2
Dan Tobin Johnson
Robert Q. Lewis Tackaberry
John Holland Matthews
Paul Hartman Toynbee
Justin Smith Jenkins
George Fenneman TV Announcer (Himself)
Anne Seymour Gertrude Biggley
Joey Faye Taxi Cab Driver
Helen Verbit Finch's Landlady
Virginia Sale Cleaning Woman
Al Nessor Newspaper Seller
Ivan Volkman The President of the U.S.
Carl Princi 1st Junior Executive
David Swift Elevator Operator [uncredited]
Hy Averback 2nd Executive
Paul Bradley TV Board Member
Margaret Mason
Erin O'Brien-Moore Mrs. Frump
Sheila Rogers 1st Girl
Tucker Smith Junior Executive
Robert Sweeney 3rd Junior Executive
Technical Credits
David Swift Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Edward Boyle Set Decoration/Design
Robert F. Boyle Art Director
Bob Fosse Choreography
Burnett Guffey Cinematographer
Allan Jacobs Editor
Frank Loesser Songwriter
Robert Martin Sound/Sound Designer
Micheline Costumes/Costume Designer
Dale Moreda Choreography
Nelson Riddle Score Composer
Robert J. Schiffer Makeup
Ralph Winters Editor
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Scene Index

Scene Selections
0. Scene Selections
1. Logos/Title/Credits [3:58]
2. OVERTURE/This Book! [1:59]
3. Bumping Into A Job [5:26]
4. Hard At Work [1:43]
5. The Company Way [4:34]
6. The Butter Up [3:52]
7. A Smart Movie [4:01]
8. Jr. Executive Pool [2:39]
9. A Secretary Is Not A Toy [7:41]
10. Been A Long Day [5:55]
11. "Who Pinched You?" [3:09]
12. I Believe In You [6:09]
13. Grand Old Ivy [7:24]
14. First Office Visit [4:08]
15. Secretarial "Help" [4:04]
16. Finch Meets His Match [3:31]
17. "A Fly On The Window" [4:10]
18. Party Politics [3:35]
19. Rosemary [7:28]
20. A Bad Idea [4:09]
21. GOTTA STOP THAT MAN/I Believe In You [5:55]
22. Treasure Girl [5:47]
23. Totally Clueless [4:26]
24. "Face The Music!" [2:09]
25. Fellow Window Washers [3:21]
26. Brotherhood Of Man [4:42]
27. A Few Changes [3:21]
28. FINALE/End Credits [1:57]
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Menu

Main
Play
   Menu Group #1 with 28 chapter(s) covering 02:01:25
Theatrical Trailer
Languages
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

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2 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2010

    Highly Recommend....wonderful!!

    Great musical....Robert Morse is fabulous and the songs are very catchy! Great witty and great songs.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Entertaining

    This is an entertaining musical with some excellent performances. I understand there are plans to revive the show on Broadway. It will be fun to see in the theater.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Hilarious!!!

    Do not underestimate this musical...I did and was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed songs like 'A secretary is not a toy' and 'I believe in you.' JP Finch's antics will have you laughing throughout the movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews