Desk Set [1957]

One of the later Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn matchups, this time pitting efficiency expert--sorry, that's "methods engineer"--Richard Sumner (Tracy) against TV-network research whiz Bunny Watson (Hepburn) over adding a new-fangled computer--again, sorry, that's "electronic brain"--to her department, thereby threatening her and her colleagues' livelihoods. Gig Young appears as Bunny's beau, an ambitious network executive who strings her along and becomes apoplectic at the idea that she doesn't need him. But as always, it's Hepburn and Tracy's bickering-flirting that makes this such a winning enterprise--a lunch date that turns into an interrogation and their sly repartee during a Christmas party are a couple of the movie's hilarious highlights. Interestingly, what starts out as something of a technophobic exercise--Hepburn fears for her job, and a computer goes haywire--takes an abrupt turn (perhaps the IBM product placement had something to do with that). Briskly scripted by Henry and Phoebe Ephron (Nora and Delia's parents) from a play by William Marchant. --David Kronke

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