Walter Langs Desk Set, Tracy and Hepburns eighth (and next to last) film together, is a mildly amusing comedy about the battle of the sexes, this time around in the context of the workplace and the new technology.
Hepburn plays Bunny, a stern, dedicated supervisor, who with her staff of Peg, Sylvia, and Ruthie, run a reference and research department for a TV network. Their goal is to try and answer questions as quickly as possible on any subject.
Things change when into their office comes Richard (Spencer Tracy), an efficiency expert, who measures the premises for the installation of a computer brain that would take over some of the routine work done by the employees.
The film plays on the familiar theme of the old order versus the new order, or emotionalism versus rationalism. There is resistance to change, and at first the women take an adverse attitude toward Richard, perceiving him as a threatening intruder whos going to eliminate their jobs. This premise leads to expected conflicts and misunderstandings for all concerned.
But at the end, courtesy of a serviceable (but no more) script from the Ephrons (husband and wife Henry and Phoebe), working from a play, the problems are resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.
Its good to see Tracy and Hepburn on screen even if this film represents one of their weakest collaborations, due to the fact that the Ephrons dont write as sharp and witty dialogue as Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin (Adams Rib, Pat and Mike) and Walter Lang is not as good a director as George Cukor.
Richard (Spencer Tracy)
Bunny (Katharine Hepburn)
Mike Cutler (Gig Young)
Peg Costello (Joan Blondell)
Sylvia (Dina Merrill)
Ruthie (Sue Randal)
Release Date: May 1957
Running time: 103 Minutes.
Produced by Henry Ephron
Director: Walter Lang
Screenplay: Phoebe and Henry Ephron, based on a play by Robert Fryer and Lawrence Karr
Camera: Leon Shamroy
Editor: Robert Simpson
Music: Cyril Mockbridge
Art Directors: Lyle Wheeler and Maurice Ransford
Set Decoration: Walter Scott and Paul S. Fox
Special Effects: Ray Kellogg