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4.0 out of 5 stars Bunny Vs EMMARAC and Richard, 18 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Desk Set (Ws Dub Sub Dol) [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn movies are fun to watch; they are great comedies that bring quality family entertainment. Some of their movies tackle social and domestic issues. In the movie Adam's Rib, the inequality of the law; the unwritten rule of husbands shooting adulterers (but not wives) is examined. The movie Pat and Mike deals with the success of women athletes in professional sports, and how some greedy male managers try to exploit them. In Desk Set, the story is about the effect of automation at work place and how it affects the jobs and lives of workers. You get to see a lot of lighter side of office environment.

When efficiency expert Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy) is assigned to the research department of the Federal Broadcasting Company to evaluate work patterns, his eccentric behavior catches the imagination of researchers Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn), Peg Costello (Joan Blondell), Sylvia Blair (Dina Merrill) and Ruthie Saylor (Sue Randall). They begin to worry when Sumner informs Bunny that his mission is to improve the efficiency, but actually Mr. Azae (Nicholas Joy), the head of the network, approves a project to computerize the department and asks Richard to keep the project a secret.

Bunny admires a gown she purchases and all excited in the hope that Mike Cutler (Gig Young), her boss and suitor of seven years will invite her to a country club dance. However, circumstances prevent that from happening, and in the mean time Bunny start dating Richard. The date turns into business meetings for them as Bunny finds out that Richard is the inventor and patent holder of EMMARAC, an electronic brain. The women at research department get worried that their jobs will lost due to the machine, when they find out that half the payroll department gets pink slips after EMMARAC becomes the machine of the Payroll department.

On the eve of a big weekend, Mike break his date with Bunny because of a business trip to Chicago, and in the meantime on a stormy day, Smithers (Harry Ellerbe), the office gossip offers Richard and Bunny a ride and drops them at Bunny's apartment building. Bunny invites the soaked Richard in for dinner and gives him a robe to wear that she has bought as a Christmas gift for Mike. Mike's plane gets cancelled due to inclement weather and he visits Bunny's apartment and gets shocked to see Richard in robe. This is one of the funniest moments of the movie. However, later, at the office Christmas party, the research staff laments the fact that this will be their last office party. The air of congeniality is shattered at the research department when Miss Warringer (Neva Patterson), an assistant of Richard and a computer operator start working. Due to an error of the machine entire staff gets pink dismissal slips including Richard. This is another hilarious moment and the movie takes a jab at the competence of a machine replacing people. The staff obviously sad begins to pack up and refuse to answer the phones, which forces Miss Warringer to deal with the onslaught of calls. Richard then explains that EMMARAC was never intended to replace the research department, but only to help them do their job, and the project was kept secret because of an impending merger with another network.

William Marchant's play Desk Set was based on an actual CBS research librarian, Agnes E. Law, though the film's shots of Rockefeller Center suggest NBC. In Marchant's play there was no romance between Richard Sumner and Bunny Watson, but screenwriters Henry and Phoebe Ephron added a romantic story line to capitalize on the enormous success of Tracy and Hepburn screen relationship. The socialite-heiress Dina Merrill made her film debut in this movie, and Joan Blondell offers an excellent performance as Bunny's sidekick Peg.

This movie is set around Christmas time and movie-critics never mention this. I believe any movie set in Christmas time deserved to be treated as movie worth watching during Christmas time. You get to feel and enjoy the joyous occasion. The festive spirit is reflected in the office, windows, and doors being decorated with Christmas wreaths, Christmas Carols in the background, Christmas party at work with office Santa Claus is a very happy occasion.
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