The Solid Gold Cadillac
|The Solid Gold Cadillac|
|Directed by||Richard Quine|
|Produced by||Fred Kohlmar|
|Written by||Abe Burrows|
|Based on||The Solid Gold Cadillac|
by George S. Kaufman
|Narrated by||George Burns|
|Music by||Cyril J. Mockridge|
|Edited by||Charles Nelson|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|August 22, 1956|
|Box office||$2.4 million (US)|
The Solid Gold Cadillac is a 1956 film directed by Richard Quine and written by Abe Burrows, Howard Teichmann and George S. Kaufman. It was adapted from the hit Broadway play of the same name by Teichmann and Kaufman, in which they pillory big business and corrupt businessmen. The film stars Judy Holliday and Paul Douglas. The film is in black-and-white except for the very last scene, which is in Technicolor.
At a shareholders meeting for International Projects, a billion dollar corporation, John T. Blessington (John Williams) announces that he is replacing Edward L. McKeever (Paul Douglas), the company's founder, President and Chairman of the Board, who is resigning to work for the federal government in Washington D.C. Laura Partridge (Judy Holliday), a minority stockholder with just ten shares of stock, drives its arrogant, self-serving executives to distraction with her incessant questioning during this and subsequent meetings.
Blessington comes up with the idea of hiring the struggling actress as Director of Shareholder Relations to keep her occupied answering letters from small shareholders. He assigns her a secretary, Amelia Shotgraven (Neva Patterson), with secret instructions to obstruct her as much as possible. The conscientious Miss Partridge, discovering there is nothing for her to do, decides to write the stockholders herself. She gains Amelia's friendship and wholehearted assistance by helping her develop a romantic relationship with office manager Mark Jenkins (Arthur O'Connell).
When the directors find out, they fire Amelia. However, Laura discovers that Blessington's thoroughly unqualified brother-in-law, Harry Harkness (Hiram Sherman), has driven a competitor into bankruptcy, unaware that International Projects actually owns the unfortunate company. With that as leverage, she gets Amelia rehired.
Still determined to neutralize Laura, the Board decides to send her to Washington to persuade McKeever to give them some government contracts. She agrees to go, with the secret intention of trying to convince him to return and take back control from his crooked cronies. However, the company Directors recall that he has divested himself of all his shares and is thus powerless, so they brush him off.
McKeever takes them to court, arguing that Laura was an unlicensed, illegal lobbyist; but, when she is forced to admit on the stand that she had another, romantic, reason for seeing him, the case is dropped. However, Laura has forged a warm relationship with many of the smaller investors while working at the company; they responded and sent in their proxies, giving her the right to vote their shares. McKeever uses these votes to replace the entire Board. He marries Laura. In gratitude for rescuing the company, the shareholders make a gift of a solid gold Cadillac to the happy couple.
- Judy Holliday as Laura Partridge
- Paul Douglas as Edward L. McKeever
- Fred Clark as Clifford Snell, the company treasurer
- John Williams as John T. Blessington
- Hiram Sherman as Harry Harkness
- Neva Patterson as Amelia Shotgraven
- Ralph Dumke as Warren Gillie, a director
- Ray Collins as Alfred Metcalfe, another director
- Arthur O'Connell as Mark Jenkins
- Harry Antrim as Senator Simpkins
- George Burns as narrator
Bosley Crowther of The New York Times praised Holliday highly, stating, "the invincible Miss Holliday has dared to project her youthful figure and personality into the character shaped by Miss Hull" (Josephine Hull, then in her seventies, played the role in the Broadway play) and is "knocking the role completely dead." However, he felt that the villains of the piece were neither particularly convincing ("not precisely representatives of the workaday financial world"), original ("cut from a fairly familiar stencil of Kaufmanesque farce"), or formidable enough ("The problems set up by the play-wrights are little barriers of cardboard farce"). He concluded, "it will give you an entertaining ride, but don't expect it to take you or your intelligence very far." The Film4 reviewer agreed that the story was not particularly convincing ("Yeah – like global capitalism gets overthrown that easily"), but "even so, it's undemanding and amusing."