Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1954. Twentieth Century Fox. Screenplay by Claude Binyon, Russel Crouse, Howard Lindsay, Mary Loos, Richard Sale, from a story by Mona Williams. Cinematography by Joseph MacDonald. Produced by Charles Brackett. Music by Cyril J. Mockridge. Production Design by Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Charles Le Maire. Film Editing by Louis R. Loeffler.
This film belongs beside the Sirkian melodramas of the 1950s that seemed harmless but really had important social messages underlining them, though in this case the message isn’t too subtle and the overall quality isn’t up there with All That Heaven Allows or Written On The Wind. An auto plant president (Clifton Webb) invites three couples to New York City in order to decide which of the businessmen he’d like to have take over the position of General Manager at his factory. While the three gentlemen (Van Heflin, Fred MacMurray, Cornel Wilde) are quite anxious to prove their worthiness for the job, the real test of strength is in their wives. Webb knows full well that he expects just as much from executives’ wives as he does from their husbands, and so puts all three women (June Allyson, Lauren Bacall, Arlene Dahl) to an equal test. The film’s viewpoint, that the world is run by women who are hiding behind men, is ironic even now, but the process is enjoyable and the characters interesting. Bacall is especially fetching, though this is low-grade material considering the stuff she was doing in the forties. Directed by Jean Negulesco with his usual splashy sense of costumes and sets.