Desk Set

Critics Consensus

Desk Set reunites one of cinema's most well-loved pairings for a solidly crafted romantic comedy that charmingly encapsulates their timeless appeal.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 23

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,052

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Movie Info

Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) is a library reference clerk stuck in a dead-end relationship with a boring television executive (Gig Young). Her life is thrown into turmoil when computer expert Richard Summers (Spencer Tracy) enters it. He has been assigned with automating her department, and she is fearful that Summers' new computers will automate her out of a job. She despises him at first, but eventually each of the two start to fall for the other's charms and strong personalities.

Cast & Crew

Spencer Tracy
Richard Sumner
Gig Young
Mike Cutler
Joan Blondell
Peg Costello
Dina Merrill
Sylvia Blair
Sue Randall
Ruthie Saylor
Neva Patterson
Miss Warriner
Henry Ephron
Screenwriter
Phoebe Ephron
Screenwriter
Leon Shamroy
Cinematographer
Robert L. Simpson
Film Editor
Cyril J. Mockridge
Original Music
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News & Interviews for Desk Set

Critic Reviews for Desk Set

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (23)

  • [I]t's still a witty, often diverting romantic comedy that further demonstrates how well the duo fit.

    January 25, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Drunken Christmas office parties and antiquated technology notwithstanding, the real fun in Desk Set is watching these two pros and longtime loves play off of each other for one of their final cinematic turns together.

    January 25, 2019 | Full Review…

    Gwen Ihnat

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • [Miss Hepburn and Mr. Tracy] can tote phone books on their heads or balance feathers on their chins and be amusing -- which is about the size of what they do here.

    March 25, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • The results are some splendidly crisp exchanges between the pair, and the inevitable scene of embarrassment where he is literally 'caught with his pants down'.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Rod McShane

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • One of the great Tracy-Hepburn pairings, this adaptation from the Broadway stage focuses on the love that grows from the contentious relationship...

    March 10, 2003 | Full Review…
  • The least, perhaps, of the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn collaborations...this 1957 comedy is nevertheless a bright and witty vehicle for its stars, directed well and anonymously by that fine old hack Walter Lang.

    January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Desk Set

  • Apr 15, 2016
    The script is clever, not great, the plot is cute, but not amazing, and the ending is predictable - but I like it anyway, and I've seen it several times over my life. For one thing, I've always liked the rooftop scene, where Spencer Tracy gives Katherine Hepburn a little intelligence test, complete with tricky riddles and difficult recall problems, and she effortlessly nails it, much to his surprise. She works phones with three other women in a reference library, the sort that people called back in the day pre-Internet, pre-Google, with questions ranging from the simple to the obscure. He's the inventor of the EMERAC, a computer or "electronic brain" as they put it, which threatens to take their jobs. Naturally, there is a question of her abilities vs. the computer's. On that note, it's fun to see the massive size of this computer and how it works in the movie, which aside from being a little silly, reflects how they were viewed in 1957. Oh, if only they could have known just how much computers would evolve, and change the world. The movie is refined and any age could watch it, but it does bring a smile to see various inappropriate behavior in the office, culminating in a pretty raucous Christmas party. I have to say, it's also great to see three of the main actors at ages you don't see much in these types of roles - Tracy (57), Hepburn (50), and Joan Blondell (51), who I've also been enjoying lately in her pre-Code roles from the early 1930's. I wish there were more movies like this! All three actors are a joy to watch.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 04, 2011
    What I really appreciated in this movie was that Hepburn was like - what, 50? - and Tracy approaching 60, and they could still create a magic movie that never, ever alludes to their age (which modern studio execs, particularly Nancy Meyers, would absolutely leap on). Also, I think that Joan Blondell is a ton of fun. It's nice to know she held onto her spark til the end.
    Jennifer X Super Reviewer
  • Nov 28, 2010
    The performances of Tracy and Hepburn - and sometimes the writing - make <i>Desk Set</i> an addictive watch, but to be totally frank it's also a pretty awful film and the computer angle must have seemed ridiculous even in 1957.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    Even people today can relate to the problems of modernization in the workplace, which is what this movie deals with, but in a humourous way. Hepburn and Tracy are great together as always, and this movie is a lot of fun.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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