Executive Suite

1954 Drama | Comedy

Cameron Hawley's novel Executive Suite appeared around the same time as two other tales of big-business intrigue, the 1954 film A Woman's World and the 1955 Rod Serling teleplay Patterns. Elements of all three properties inevitably overlap. In Executive Suite, a furniture-store executive dies suddenly, resulting in a power play between five of his vice presidents. Julia O. Tredway (Barbara Stanwyck), daughter of the company founder and mistress of the president, must choose between solid family man McDonald Walling (William Holden), blackmail-prone Josiah Walter Dudley (Paul Douglas), ruthless Loren Phineas Shaw (Fredric March), duplicitous George Nyle Caswell (Louis Calhern), and eternal corporate bridesmaid Frederick Y. Alderson (Walter Pidgeon). Only Walling, the most honest of the bunch, refuses to campaign for the presidential chair. Despite the presence of the A-list leads and of supporting actors Shelley Winters, Dean Jagger, and Nina Foch, Executive Suite is a true ensemble effort, with everyone carrying like weight onscreen. The property was later adapted into a TV series, which owed more to Dallas than it did to the Hawley novel.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide