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Monday, June 30, 2008

EXECUTIVE SUITE (1954)


A powerhouse cast helps to jazz up this very square boardroom drama which helmer Robert Wise & scripter Ernest Lehman (in the first of four award-winning collaborations) play strictly at right-angles. Fredric March, Walter Pigeon, William Holden, Dean Jagger & Paul Douglas are the execs up for the top spot when the company president drops dead. Barbara Stanwyck holds the deciding voting shares, Louis Calhern holds some unraveling stock, Nina Foch holds the phone and Shelly Winters (looking very fine) & June Allyson hold hands. There's not enough variety to the drama, but Lehman gives everyone tasty bits to chew on, saving his real ammunition for Holden's tour-de-force final oration. Holden got stuck with this sort of over-articulate speechifying for decades, and he always made it work. But the best perf comes from a shockingly snarky Fredric March who all but becomes Richard Nixon (from back in his ‘Tricky Dick’ days). Just watch him blot the tell-tale sweat off his lip.

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