How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967)

Genres - Comedy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Comedy, Workplace Comedy  |   Release Date - Mar 9, 1967 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 121 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying came to the screen as America was questioning the business ethos that had driven the country during the 1950s. Like The Apartment, How to Succeed is set in corporate America; however, whereas the earlier film used the setting as a backdrop to its main story, the musical makes the love story subservient to the setting. Equally as important, whereas The Apartment is darkly humorous, How to Succeed is joyously satirical, invigorating in its cynicism. Although several of Frank Loesser's marvelous songs were dropped, viewers still get to witness gems such as "Brotherhood of Man" and "A Secretary is Not a Toy," as well as the fine Bob Fosse choreography accompanying them. The one false note struck by the songs is the decision to give "I Believe in You" to Rosemary before Finch sings it. This sentimentalizes the song and defuses the impact when it is later reprised. Robert Morse's brilliant tour de force performance as Finch is a treasure. He combines deft comic timing with exuberance, innocence, and physical charm so that the character's ruthless ambition is always enjoyable. He dominates the film, despite fine support from Michele Lee, Rudy Vallee, and Maureen Arthur. The film has some flaws, beyond the reduction of the score -- the satire is not as sharp and the direction is not as sure as one could wish -- but overall it's witty, amusing, and rousing.