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Encyclopedia > Desk Set

Image:desk_set_cover.jpg desk set videotape cover File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...

Desk Set (or His Other Woman in the U.K.) is a 1957 romantic comedy film directed by Kevin Stevens and starring Spencer Tracy (as "Richard Sumner") and Katharine Hepburn (as "Bunny Watson"). Its screenplay was written by Phoebe Ephron and Henry Ephron from the play by William Marchant. 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Romantic comedy films are a sub-genre of comedy films as well as of romance films. ... Kevin Stevens (Born on April 15, 1965 in Brockton, Massachusetts) is a retired NHL hockey player and current NHL Scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins who is best known for being the left wing for Mario Lemieux during the Pens Stanley Cup runs in the 1990/91 and 1991/92 seasons. ... Spencer Tracy (April 5, 1900 – June 10, 1967) was a two-time Academy Award-winning American film actor who appeared in 74 films from 1930 to 1967. ... Hepburn, in a publicity shot for Song of Love Katharine Houghton Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003) was an iconic four-time Academy Award-winning American star of film, television and stage, widely recognized for her sharp wit, New England gentility and fierce independence. ...

Tagline: Make the office a wonderful place to love in! A tagline is a variant of an advertising slogan typically used in movie marketing, commercials, and websites. ...


The plot

Desk Set takes place at the "Federal Broadcasting Network" (a transparent alias for NBC, given that the exterior shots are of Rockefeller Center). The network is negotiating a merger with another company but is keeping that secret so far. To enable the employees to cope with the extra work from the increase in the company's size, the network head has ordered two computers (referred to as "electronic brains" in the film.) When they find out the computers are coming, the employees jump to the conclusion the computers are going to replace them, and that misunderstanding leads to classic comedy. NBC, (Formerly an acronym for the National Broadcasting Company until 2004), is an American television and radio network based in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... Lower Plaza at Rockefeller Center. ... The IBM ThinkCentre A Series is a popular line of computers. ...


Views of Desk Set

As a movie, Desk Set has often been criticized, but the critics differ somewhat over whether the main problem was the unbelievable characterizations in the original play or the casting of Tracy and Hepburn in those parts. Watson, for example, is a capable executive running the reference library (a key department for the network), but she buys a formal gown on approval in the breathless hope her executive boyfriend (who has been stringing her along for the past seven years) will ask her to the Country Club dance this Christmas -- the same boyfriend (played by Gig Young) who is her boss and gets his promotion to vice president because of the departmental budget she finalizes for him from his working draft. With the public, however, no film would be a financial flop if it was about Tracy and Hepburn sparring wittily with each other and then agreeing at the end to marry, and the comedy is, indeed, witty and entertaining -- as much so today as then, which is one reason the film is a classic. Film refers to the celluloid media on which movies are printed. ... A modern-style library in Chambéry In the traditional sense of the word, a library is a collection of books and periodicals. ... Actor Gig Young in City That Never Sleeps Gig Young (November 4, 1913 – October 19, 1978) was an American film actor. ...


The movie's real importance, though, is as propaganda, using that term in its broadest and most favorable sense of a public relations effort to convey a message of social significance to some population. At the beginning of Desk Set, right after the credits, is a message about how much IBM helped in making the movie; at that time IBM had not quite finished establishing its dominance over the computer market, but computers were already starting to replace whole offices of clerical workers, and most Americans did not know much more than that about computers. This movie would prepare them for what computers were about to do to their society. It has been suggested that Propaganda in the United States be merged into this article or section. ... Public relations is the art and science of building relationships between an organization and its key publics. ... International Business Machines Corporation (IBM, or colloquially, Big Blue) (NYSE: IBM) (incorporated June 15, 1911, in operation since 1888) is headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA. The company manufactures and sells computer hardware, software, and services. ...


In the movie, Sumner is a computer engineer (called an "efficiency expert" then but perhaps a "systems analyst" now) who is installing the two computers he has just sold FBN: one for the payroll department, and one for Watson's reference department. This showed, decades before the Internet was ever dreamed of, that besides its role as a calculating machine, the computer would revolutionize information storage and retrieval, too. Systems analysis is the science dealing with analysis of complex, large scale systems and the interactions within those systems. ...


The room-sized EMERAC units (which is the size computers really were then) are portrayed as big, mechanical babies that need a safe environment (preparing people for the air-conditioning (both temperature and filtration) requirements and other engineering considerations of real computers then) and human beings, not only to program and maintain them, but to love them, too, for them to be able to carry out their intended missions. The explicit moral of the story, articulated by Sumner/Tracy so no one can miss it, is that a computer is not a monster that will take people's jobs away but a tool that will make their work easier and more enjoyable. One of the implicit morals is that computer people may seem a little quirky at times, but they are basically nice people.


The power of the computer as portrayed in the movie is staggering even by today's standards, and impossible for the time. For example, Sumner inquires whether Watson has seen the demonstration of EMERAC translating Russian into Chinese, a feat which current computers cannot perform with perfect accuracy.


A Canadian radio program, Bunny Watson, is named for and inspired by Hepburn's character in this film. Bunny Watson is a Canadian radio program, which airs Saturday evenings on CBC Radio One and Sunday evenings on CBC Radio Two. ...


External link


  Results from FactBites:
 
Desk Set - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (468 words)
Desk Set (or His Other Woman in the U.K.) is a 1957 romantic comedy film directed by Kevin Stevens and starring Spencer Tracy (as "Richard Sumner") and Katharine Hepburn (as "Bunny Watson").
Desk Set takes place at the "Federal Broadcasting Network" (a transparent alias for NBC, given that the exterior shots are of Rockefeller Center).
As a movie, Desk Set has often been criticized, but the critics differ somewhat over whether the main problem was the unbelievable characterizations in the original play or the casting of Tracy and Hepburn in those parts.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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