This John Houseman production is a real pro job, of a calibre that doesn’t come along too often. Cameron Hawley’s novel, Executive Suite, was good reading, and Ernest Lehman has fashioned it into screen form as a dramatically interesting motion picture humanizing big business and its upper echelon personalities.
Eight scene-stealers vie for the star billing and each is fine, with some standing out over what amounts to standout performances by all concerned in the drama. Certainly Fredric March’s characterization of the controller will be remembered among the really sock delineations. So will William Holden’s portrayal of the idealistic, but practical, young executive.
Also effective as the other stars are Louis Calhern, cynical stockbroker who tries to turn misfortune to personal gain; Barbara Stanwyck, neurotic heiress; Walter Pidgeon, an executive never able to rise above a number two position; Paul Douglas, the hearty sales executive; June Allyson, Holden’s wife and Shelley Winters, Douglas’s secretary and after-hour amour.
The drama is built on the efforts of the several vice-presidents to take over the top position, with most of the conflict in the film version centers on March, as he tries to seize power.
1954: Nominations: Best Supp. Actress (Nina Foch), B&W Cinematography, B&W Costume Design, B&W Art Direction