Desk Set, 1957

Beautiful young Katharine Hepburn is Bunny Watson, a television research department head. She’s smart and knows how things should run. But when a strange man enters her world, he turns everything topsy-turvy.

Spencer Tracy stars as the perplexing Richard Sumner. He’s supposed to go about his business in secret so no one knows he’s going to computerize the office. However, Bunny figures him out.

The pairing of Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn always brings sharp dialogue and well-timed humor to a film. This was the 8th of nine films Tracy and Hepburn starred in together.

Today’s American audience has a hard time imagining a world where a company can exist without a computer. We laugh at the crazy concept of what they used to see as cutting edge technology. This film’s computer reminds me of the computer in Apollo 13 which was also state of the art at the time, but a far cry from what today’s teens use for their own entertainment.

The screenplay, written by Phoebe and Henry Ephron, was taken from the play by William Marchant. The Ephrons wrote four films directed by Walter Lang: The Jackpot starring James Stewart, On the Riviera starring Danny Kaye, There’s No Business Like Show Business starring Marilyn Monroe, and Desk Set. I think most of my generation is more familiar with Nora Ephron, their daughter, for writing Meg Ryan movies like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail.