In 1954, long before it was fashionable to stand up for women's equality and make the point that the female members of humanity were just as important as men, this movie quietly pushed that fact to the forefront. Those were the days when Lucy was trying to finagle a new way to get more
household money out of Desi so she could buy a new dress and the nature of America's viewing habits was such that some of the subtleties of this movie may have gone unnoticed. Webb is the head of a large automobile manufacturing company. His sales manager has just died and Webb needs someone
strong and polished to take over the important assignment. He imports a trio of his vice presidents and district managers to company headquarters in New York to get a closer look at them. The three are equally competent and Webb is at a loss to decide which to choose so he opts to let his
selection be determined by which has the wife who is best suited to be a top executive's mate. Heflin is married to Dahl, an ambitious and cunning woman who wants her husband to have the job at any cost. Heflin is surely able to handle it but he doesn't have the ambition to go along with his
abilities. MacMurray is married to Bacall. He is totally devoted to the company, and Bacall knows that if he gets the job, their marriage is all but finished as he would double his already Herculean efforts and never see her at all. Wilde is married to Allyson, essentially a small-town woman from
the Middle West. She is faithful and devoted to her husband and will help in any way to achieve Wilde's goal, but she knows she would be far happier in Kansas City than in New York City.
The wives become the focus of attention and take it upon themselves to help their husbands. Allyson is adorable, sweet, and terribly clumsy as she attempts to win over Webb. There is not one iota of sham in her, and he appreciates her honesty as she mistakenly locks herself in the ladies' room and
spills martinis all over the place. Bacall fits right in with the glitz and glamor of New York City and she tries to remain as outwardly loyal as she can to MacMurray, all the while hoping that the job goes somewhere else. Dahl is on the make and uses her wiles in a smarmy fashion. She comes on
strong to certain men, thinking she can persuade them to help make the decision to give the job to "them" (as she feels she is as much a part of the executive staff as Heflin). She errs and chooses the wrong man to work her charms on, and Heflin's name is taken off Webb's list right away, thus
leaving Wilde and MacMurray in the running. Heflin finds out about Dahl's behavior, goes to Webb, and explains that her activities were strictly her own. He apologizes for what she's done and explains to Webb that he would have liked the job, but surely not enough to send his wife on a sexual
foray to get it. Webb is impressed by Heflin's integrity and pencils his name back on the list. Heflin winds up getting the job, which is the best for all concerned. Bacall and MacMurray will have the opportunity to revive their flagging marriage, and Wilde and Allyson can happily return to their
Kansas City lifestyle. Heflin walks out on Dahl and she doesn't get her chance to shine in Manhattan society.
There are similarities to EXECUTIVE SUITE, issued earlier, and PATTERNS, made a few years later with Heflin in a similar role. The difference is that the posit is made that women are as important as men in the business world. Good acting, good story, and a nostalgic look at New York in the 1950s
all combine to make this worth viewing. The title song by Sammy Cahn and Cyril Mockridge became a hit by the Four Aces.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: In 1954, long before it was fashionable to stand up for women's equality and make the point that the female members of humanity were just as important as men, this movie quietly pushed that fact to the forefront. Those were the days when Lucy was trying to… (more)