desk set a postmodern classic

desk set a postmodern classic


 Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) is a library reference clerk stuck in a dead-end relationship with a boring television executive (Gig Young). Her life is thrown into turmoil when computer expert Richard Summers (Spencer Tracy) enters it. He has been assigned with automating her department, and she is fearful that Summer’s’ new computers will automate her out of a job. She despises him at first, but eventually each of the two start to fall for the other’s charms and strong personalities.(plot info off goggle.)

Desk set is a very odd and offbeat movie. It feels somewhat very much modern in some ways as as it feels very postmodern and ahead of its time.  Its office setting with a computer seems very ahead of its time period.  It is not like the classic screwball comedy or battle of sexes movies of the 1940’s but it is one of those movies that is does not fit into any of those areas.  Nor is this second-to-last Tracy/Hepburn collaboration a throwback to their 40s battles. Desk set was as adapted from William Marchant’s stage play,The Desk Set. Lang’s  Desk Set  truly stands out as something diffrent form the other team ups of this duo. This is the duo’s last comedy together. Its an office comedy gem. 

Katherine Hepburn is in top form of her acting as she truly shines in this role as a middle aged head of the all girls research department. Its no wonder as Katherine Hepburn is my second favorite actress this movie remains one of my most watched movies of her many movies as i just adore this movie even with its simple story. Spencer Tracy truly shines as an  “efficiency expert that has plans to introduce his great invention “EMEREK”, the ultimate information source. Now the ladies in research fear that a computer will make their “human brain work obsolete. It does not go the way he planned as he truly learns the human brain is more key then a computer. Its no wonder that his acting here is in top form as he feels at home in this movie as he truly gives out one of his finest roles. He is one of my top ten favorite actors. This role is one is among one his best of roles. The supporting cast contains Joan Blondell and Gig Young and Phoebe Ephron acting out in top form as they give out such wonderful performances. All of the cast give out such wonderful performances.   relies on the intelligence of the audience and draws on that of the cast to produce a humor that never ages as it truly has such wonderful wit and humor. 

The best part of the film is the interplay between the two principals, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Its a tribute to them, as actors, they could work so well together. Also, toward the end of the movie, at the company’s Christmas party, we see a playful, and drunk Bunny singing Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” to the beat of the bongo playing of Richard Sumner. That scene shows a playful Katherine Hepburn having a great time in front of the cameras. This movie has also a smart screenplay and direction. Its very much a modern day comedy almost but wait this movie was not made in modern times but the 1950’s that puts this movie very much a ahead of its time. Tracy and Hepburn are the magical charm of this movie as this movie never ages as this is a classic for the ages. Watch it today

The Ruth Rating:five bette's


2 thoughts on “desk set a postmodern classic

  1. Colin says:

    I saw all the other Tracy/Hepburn movies before I came to this one and was delighted with it – I think it isn’t as well regarded overall but I find it has a lovely atmosphere and the look of the picture, with that marvelous wide lens, is just so attractive.

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