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Executive Suite

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Executive Suite (1954) starring William Holden, June Allyson, Barbara Stanwyck, Frederic March, Walter Pidgeon
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Executive Suite (1954) starring William Holden, June Allyson, Barbara Stanwyck, Frederic March, Walter Pidgeon

Synopsis

Executive Suite – the president of Tredway Corp. has unexpectedly died. Long live the new president. But who will the exec be? There’s no official line of succession, and so insider back-stabbing begins.

Julia O. Tredway: No matter how horrible things are, they can always get worse. 

Product Description

The president of Tredway Corp. has unexpectedly died. Long live the new president. But who will the exec be? There’s no official line of succession…and so the shady deals and insider back-stabbing begin. Boardroom and boudoir politics play out in this star-packed tale of corporate machinations directed by versatile Robert Wise (The Sound of Music, The Set-Up). A bottom-line opportunist (Frederic March) and an idealistic manufacturing VP (William Holden) emerge as leading candidates for the top post. But while power-suited men maneuver, a woman (Barbara Stanwyck) may have the most clout. She’s the founder’s daughter and the company’s major stockholder…and may be the velvet power behind the Tredway throne.

McDonald Walling: We’ll have a line of low-priced furniture, a new and different line – as different from anything we’re making today as a modern automobile is different from a covered wagon. That’s what you want Walt, isn’t it – what you’ve always wanted? Merchandise that will sell because it had beauty and function and value – not because the buyers like your scotch or think that you’re a good egg. The kind of stuff that you, Jesse, will feel in your guts when you know it’s coming off your production line. A kind of product that you will be able to budget to the nearest hundredth of a cent, Shaw, because it will be scientifically and efficiently designed. And something you will be proud to have your name on, Miss Tredway. 

Julia O. Tredway: [exits the board room and approaches Mrs. Walling] You’re Mary Walling aren’t you?
Mary Blemond Walling: Yes.
Julia O. Tredway: You must be very proud of him.
Mary Blemond Walling: I am. I’m a little frightened too.
Julia O. Tredway: Because you don’t quite understand him? We never do, not completely, not men like that. He’ll make you very lonely at times when he shuts you out of his life, but then he’ll always come back to you, and you’ll know how fortunate you are to… to be his wife. Will you tell him something for me? Say ‘thank you, for saving my life.’ [walks away]

Cast of characters

  • William Holden (Miss Grant Takes Richmond, Stalag 17) … McDonald Walling. The idealistic VP for Design and Development. Who wants to build products they can be proud of.
  • June Allyson (Two Girls and a Sailor, Woman’s World) … Mary Blemond Walling. McDonald’s faithful wife, afraid of what will happen in McDonald wins.
  • Barbara Stanwyck (Double Indemnity, Titanic 1953) … Julia O. Tredway. The daughter of the company founder. She’s heartbroken after news of the death of Bullard, whom she loved.
  • Fredric March (Les Miserables (1935), Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)) … Loren Phineas Shaw. Ambitious, but short-sighted, He’s more concerned with short-term gains and satisfying the stockholders than the quality of the company’s actual products — and long-term growth
  • Walter Pidgeon (Forbidden Planet, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) … Frederick Y. Alderson. One of the deceased Bullard’s close friends, manipulated by Shaw to not seek the presidency.
  • Shelley Winters (A Patch of Blue) … Eva Bardeman. Dudley’s secretary & lover.
  • Paul Douglas (Angels in the Outfield (1951), Never Wave at a WAC) … Josiah Walter Dudley. The gregarious VP of Sales, having an affair with his secretary, Eva. Which Shaw uses to blackmail him into supporting his bid for president
  • Louis Calhern (Annie Get Your Gun, High Society) … George Nyle Caswell. He sees Bullard’s body in the street, and decides to “cash in” by short selling his stock, expecting to repurchase it after the news of Bullard’s death causes the stock price to drop.
  • Dean Jagger (Billy Rose’s Jumbo, Revolt of the Zombies) … Jesse Q. Grimm. He retires, rather than seek the presidency.

Secondary characters

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