Saturday, 5 November 2011

"Tough Question?" "Mmmm-mmmm. Tough roast beef." Desk Set 1957


Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy) is an engineer looking to improve efficiency for all of the workers at the research department of a large TV station. All of the research girls - headed by Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) - are suspicious of his presence, looking around and inspecting them, but he doesn't let any of them know what he's doing there. When Bunny is let down by her beau, Mike Cutler (Gig Young) she doesn't react much. But in his absence, she gets to know Richard Sumner better, but is distraught when he installs a large silver flashing machine that immediately starts printing little pink "fired" slips for her and all her collueges.

I think I'm gonna have to break the news slowly... Desk Set wasn't great {by the way, I don't completely condemn it to the DVD recycling plant in this post. I gather this film has somewhat of a large fan club, so don't stop reading now!}. I was disappointed to be frank. I've seen all the Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy movies except Without Love and Sea Of Grass and I was looking forward to this one, but it was... mediocre. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it, but it wasn't good. There were some sweet moments in it, but it didn't nearly come close to comparing to their other pairings. I really liked Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in it, in fact the film only survives while they're on screen, and that shouldn't be. The film should hold up on it's own, too, but the script was just not good. Plus, I didn't like Gig Young! That's odd, because I usually like him. But, it wasn't like it was awkward, we did actually laugh a few times.

I'm not taking it off my iTunes or anything, because there were certain scenes I liked, and I may come back to it and find I like it more or something. At any rate, I can't actually bring myself to pan something with Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, giant 50s computers and Joan Blondell in it, so here is a little post of some GIFs and pictures from the film I've either taken or found lying around on the internet. It was very pretty anyway so that's something going for it! :-)


This means awesomsauce, but I should have read the other credits.


Pretty research office :-)


I don't know either Kate. Seriously.


LOOK AT THAT COMPUTER THING! OUR I.T. DEPARTMENT AT SCHOOL NEEDS THIS!


Doesn't matter what the movie's like. Spence and Kate win at everything. Especially pretending to be on a cruise in a library.


Her costume comes from the scene where she looks like Santa Claus, and Gig Young buys her a stuffed Bunny (get it?). Then she goes up to the piano and the bongo drums and starts singing "Night And Day". Sheesh, this film was crazier than my blog is, HA!


Peg Costello: Then one day you realize you're out of circulation. It's all happened. You don't even know when it happened. 
Bunny Watson: Well, when that day comes we'll move in together and keep cats.


This scene is pretty cool. I wish I was as good at maths as Bunny Watson. He asks her questions about train stops and passengers and how many got on, how many got off etc. etc. etc. So she gets the answers right and when he asks her how, she just goes "There are nine letters in Chappaqua, and I've been to White Plains three times in my life." WHAT THE HECK??? I wish I was this ninja at word problems.


I wouldn't over-recommend this movie, it's a bit odd... But if you are a big Tracy/Hepburn, Hepburn/Tracy fan, the take a look anyway, bits of it are fun :-D

~Bette

3 comments:

Heather said...

This was the first Tracy Hepburn movie I ever saw. It's certainly quirky, but as you said actors of their caliber can make any scene work. Lesser talents would have made it unbearable to sit through.

Emily said...

I might be on my own here, but I have to disagree with you! Desk Set is one of my favorite films. I guess I just see it differently. My favorite Kat/Spence pairing is Adam's Rib, but for some reason I can watch Desk Set over and over again. So cute. Guess there is something for everyone!

Margaret Perry said...

This is like my favorite movie of all time! It is DEFINITELY my favorite Hepbrn/Tracy film. I wrote my undergraduate thesis paper on this movie and how the community of women is portrayed. There's a post about that on my blog. But I seriously LOVE your pictures! They kind of capture the whole feel of the movie - fun and witty and a lot of laughs. I especially like what you said about them pretending to be on a cruise - that's a fun scene!

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. It makes me happy to see people are interested in my posts!

~Bette