World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Desk Set

Desk Set
Original cinema poster
Directed by Walter Lang
Produced by Henry Ephron
Screenplay by Phoebe Ephron
Henry Ephron
Based on Desk Set (play) 
by William Marchant
Starring Katharine Hepburn
Spencer Tracy
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge
Cinematography Leon Shamroy
Distributed by 20th Century-Fox
Release dates
  • May 1, 1957 (1957-05-01) (US)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,865,000[1]
Box office $1.7 million (US rentals)[2]

Desk Set (released as His Other Woman in the UK) is a 1957 American romantic comedy film directed by Walter Lang and starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. The screenplay was written by Phoebe Ephron and Henry Ephron from the play by William Marchant.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
  • Namesake 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Hepburn with Spencer Tracy, Promotional image for Desk Set (1957)

Desk Set takes place at the "Federal Broadcasting Network" (exterior shots are of Rockefeller Center, headquarters of NBC). Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) is in charge of its reference library, which is responsible for researching and answering questions on all manner of topics, such as the names of Santa's reindeer. She has been involved for seven years with rising network executive Mike Cutler (Gig Young), with no marriage in sight.

The network is negotiating a merger with another company, but is keeping it secret. To help the employees cope with the extra work that will result, the network head has ordered two computers (called "electronic brains" in the film). Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy), the inventor of EMERAC (used as a homoiophone metonym for ENIAC) and an efficiency expert, is brought in to see how the library functions, to figure out how to ease the transition. Though extremely bright, as he gets to know Bunny Watson, he is surprised to discover that she is every bit his match.

When they find out the computers are coming, the employees jump to the conclusion they are being replaced. Their fears seem to be confirmed when everyone on the staff receives a pink slip printed out by the new payroll computer. Fortunately, it turns out to be a mistake; the machine fired everybody in the company, including the president.

Richard Sumner reveals his romantic interest in Bunny Watson, but she believes that EMERAC would always be his first priority. Richard Sumner denies it, but then Bunny Watson puts him to the test, setting the machine to self-destruct. Richard Sumner resists the urge to fix it as long as possible, but finally gives in. Bunny Watson accepts him anyway.



Bosley Crowther, film critic of The New York Times, felt the film was "out of dramatic kilter", inasmuch as Hepburn was simply too "formidable" to convincingly play someone "scared by a machine", resulting in "not much tension in this thoroughly lighthearted film".[3]

Today the film is seen far more favorably, with the sharpness of the script praised in particular; it currently has a rare 100% rating on [5]


A Canadian radio program, Bunny Watson, was named for and inspired by Hepburn's character.

See also


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1
  2. ^ "Top Grosses of 1957", Variety, 8 January 1958: 30
  3. ^ Bosley Crowther (May 16, 1957). "Desk Set (1957)". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Desk Set". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Dennis Schwartz (March 9, 2005). "So Refreshingly Smart". Osuz's World Movie Reviews. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from School eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.