Librarians in Films

Desk Set (His Other Woman in the UK) is a 1957 American romantic comedy.

Desk Set takes place at the “Federal Broadcasting Network”. Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) is in charge of its reference library, which is responsible for researching and answering questions on all manner of topics, such as the names of Santa’s reindeer. She has been involved for seven years with rising network executive Mike Cutler (Gig Young), with no marriage in sight.

The librarians in Desk Set

The network is negotiating a merger with another company, but is keeping it secret. To help the employees cope with the extra work that will result, the network head has ordered two “electronic brains”. Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy), the inventor of EMERAC (an allusion to the early computers UNIVAC and ENIAC) and an efficiency expert, is brought in to see how the library functions, to figure out how to ease the transition. Though extremely bright, as he gets to know Bunny, Richard is surprised to discover that she is every bit his match. When they find out the computers are coming, the employees jump to the conclusion the machines are going to replace them, whereas they are merely intended to help ease the research. Their fears seem to be confirmed when everyone on the staff receives a pink slip printed out by the new payroll computer – they have been fired. The resulting battle of wits and witty dialogue pits Bunny’s fear of losing her job against her dawning attraction to Richard.


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3 Responses to Librarians in Films

  1. Jennifer says:

    Whenever I see articles on librarians in movies/books, I think of The Mummy. It has my favourite librarian quote ever (well, except for Ook, of course):

    Evelyn: Look, I… I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
    Rick: And what is that?
    Evelyn: I — am a librarian.

  2. Brilliant, Jennifer. I’ve never seen The Mummy but with a quotation like that I might be tempted.

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog – I’m tickled pink I found this post! This is one of my favorite movies, albeit sad in a way. Think of all those payroll folks put out of jobs; then look back on the days of “steno pools,” rooms full of typists who could make a decent wage typing memos and letters, etc. in triplicate with onionskin paper for copies. And rooms full of accountants, adding and subtracting first by hand, and later by the adding machine.

    Those jobs are now obsolete, including proofreaders – although a good proofreading is worth his or her weight in gold, because s/he won’t let “manger” get by, even though SpellCheck said it’s a word, when the writer meant to print “manager”!

    Tracy and Hepburn’s best, in my opinion, and I’m a movie buff. Here’s one you will enjoy. Amy

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