Executive Suite


(out of 5)

The president of a furniture-making corporation drops dead of a heart attack on the streets of New York not long after sending out a meeting request to his top executives. When the businessmen in question arrive and their boss never shows, they’re incredibly worried until they find out the bad news. There’s no time for mourning, however, since the power game of succession begins immediately, pitting hard-working engineer  against emotionless statistics master  for the newly empty top slot in the company. Hanging in the balance is the sympathy of , who has enough problems considering he’s cheating on his wife with his secretary (), and , whose father was the original president of the company and whose massive stock holdings make her an important member of the decision-making process.   has a strong appearance as the deceased’s devoted secretary in a film that captures the business world so accurately that only the clothing and décor seem dated. The politics of business hasn’t changed much in the decades since the film, which takes place entirely over a twenty-four hour period, was made, and that is what makes it worth watching despite a sluggish pace and a lack of invigorating characters. Holden is strong but is not stretching himself beyond his usual sensible handsome persona, while Stanwyck is the only really fiery character, a collection of nerves and insecurities whose fate really does inspire questions.

USA, 1954

Directed by Robert Wise

Screenplay by , based on the play by 

Cinematography by 

Produced by

Production Design by ,

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  Venice 1954

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Nina Foch as “Erica Martin”)
Best Art Direction (Black-and-White) (art direction: Cedric Gibbons, Edward Carfagno; set decoration: Edwin B. Willis, Emile Kuri)
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) (George Folsey)
Best Costume Design (Black-and-White) (Helen Rose)

National Board Of Review Awards
Best Supporting Actress (Nina Foch)
Top Ten Films

Venice Film Festival Award
Special Jury Prize (for Ensemble Acting: Mary Adams, June Allyson, Virginia Brissac, Louis Calhern, Tim Considine, Paul Douglas, Nina Foch, William Holden, Dean Jagger, Lucy Knoch, Fredric March, William Phipps, Walter Pidgeon, Harry Shannon, Barbara Stanwyck, Edgar Stehli, Shelley Winters)

Writers Guild Award Nomination
Best Written American Drama

Directors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Robert Wise)

British Academy Award Nominations
Best Film From Any Source
Best Foreign Actor (Fredric March)



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