How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (film)

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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
How to succeed movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Swift
Produced byDavid Swift
Walter Mirisch
Irving Temaner
Screenplay byDavid Swift
Story byAbe Burrows
Jack Weinstock
Willie Gilbert
Based onHow to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
by Shepherd Mead
StarringRobert Morse
Michele Lee
Rudy Vallee
Anthony Teague
Music byFrank Loesser (songs)
Nelson Riddle (incidental music)
CinematographyBurnett Guffey
Edited byAllan Jacobs
Ralph E. Winters
Production
company
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • March 9, 1967 (1967-03-09)
[1]
Running time
121 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$3.5 million[3]
Box office$2,900,000 (rentals)[4]

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a 1967 American musical comedy film based on the 1961 stage musical of the same name, which in turn was based on Shepherd Mead's 1952 book. The film was produced by United Artists and directed by David Swift, with original staging by Bob Fosse.

The cast includes Robert Morse and Rudy Vallee (reprising their original Broadway roles), Michele Lee, Anthony Teague, Tucker Smith (in an uncredited role), and Maureen Arthur. The film marks the debut of Lee.

Plot[edit]

J. Pierrepont Finch (Robert Morse) buys the book How to Succeed in Business, describing in step-by-step fashion how to rise in the business world. The ambitious, young window cleaner follows its advice carefully. He joins the "World-Wide Wicket Company" and begins work in the mail room. Soon, thanks to the ethically questionable advice in the book, he rises to vice president of advertising, making sure that each person above him gets either fired or moved or transferred within the company.

Finch begins to fall in love with Rosemary Pilkington, a secretary at the company. Finch finds out that J.B. Biggley, the president of the company, has made advances towards Hedy LaRue, a beautiful but incompetent woman the company has hired. Finch uses this information to assist his climb on the corporate ladder.

Biggley's annoying nephew, Bud Frump, also takes advantage of the situation and tries to get to the top before Finch. By story's end, however, Finch has become chairman of the board, and might make the White House his next step to success.

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

$1 million was paid for the film rights with the other costs coming to $2.5 million. Both musical and non-musical versions were prepared.[3] The character of Finch was edited slightly as it was feared that the stage characterization of the character was too edgy and that audiences would not find him likable.

Many songs from the stage version were cut from the movie, most notably all of Rosemary's solos. She was given a version of the song "I Believe in You" in order to make up for this.

The Union Carbide Building (most recently the JPMorgan Chase Tower) that stood at 270 Park Avenue in New York City from 1960 until 2019 was used in exterior shots as the headquarters for the "World-Wide Wicket Company" in the movie. It most notably was used in the sequences in which Finch dashes into the building before his boss arrives in order to arrange coffee cups on his desk and pretends to have fallen asleep on it after apparently working all night as a way to convince his boss to promote him to a higher position in the company.

Many actors reprised their roles from the stage version, most notably Morse and Vallee. Dick Van Dyke was considered for the role of Finch, but he turned it down due to concerns that he was too old for the role.

Reception[edit]

The film received generally positive reviews; it currently holds an 89% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[5]

Although the original musical had been a great Broadway success, capturing seven Tony Awards, the film version was not nominated for any Academy Awards.

DVD[edit]

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was released to DVD on April 1, 2003 by MGM Home Video in a Region 1 DVD and is available on Region 2 DVD from Simply Media.

Blu-ray[edit]

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was released to Blu-ray on March 14, 2017 by Twilight Time in a Region A Blu-ray.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) - Release dates". Internet Movie Database. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  2. ^ "HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING (U)". British Board of Film Classification. 1967-03-01. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  3. ^ a b Swift New Idea: A Silent Film Los Angeles Times 15 Mar 1967: e12.
  4. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1967", Variety, 3 January 1968, pg 25.
  5. ^ How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Rotten Tomatoes

External links[edit]