Desk Set

We came across this having looked for other Tracy-Hepburn vehicles after being disappointed by Adam’s Rib. What we found was delightful, in no small part because the looming threat of digitization found new resonance in this month’s rapid LLM advances.

Here is a romantic comedy that knows exactly what it is trying to do and spends very little time not doing it. Every pairing (or in the reference desk’s case, a quartet) has a fun and well-worn chemistry; the script is quick and witty and has a couple showcase scenes (the rooftop lunch; the disastrous unveiling of “Emmy”). Hepburn and Tracy are old here, and their casual charm is intoxicating.

(Also, TIL — Nora Ephron was a nepo baby, and her father wrote the script. She inherited the spirit of her father’s repartee; the dialogue and plot beats feel, and I mean this in a sincerely positive way; right at home in the nineties.)

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