Katherine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy comedy to conclude Spring 2003 classic film series at Syracuse University
Katherine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy comedy to conclude Spring 2003 classic film series at Syracuse UniversityApril 11, 2003Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies will present the 1957 film classic “Desk Set” April 16 at 7 p.m. in the Maxwell Auditorium. The presentation, part of the Spring 2003 series “Back to the Future: Classic Movies of the Information Age,” is free and open to the public. The movie will be followed by a discussion led by Assistant Professor Catherine Arnott Smith.
Fears about technology replacing people in the workplace are not unique to the current “Information Age” society. Set in a time when computerization of office procedures was in its infancy, “Desk Set” is a comic depiction of interplay between Bunny Watson (played by Katherine Hepburn), the head of the a company’s research department, and systems engineer Richard Sumner (played by Spencer Tracy), whose job is to evaluate and streamline the department’s operations.
“Nearly everybody worries that computers or robots will replace them in the workplace; it’s a feature of virtually every job of the late 20th century,” writes movie reviewer John Haywood. “The genius of ‘Desk Set’ is that it takes the pervasive fear and uses it as the basis of a romantic comedy. The amazing part is that it works very well, and has held up for more than 40 years despite the advance of technology.”
The “Back to the Future: Classic Movies of the Information Age” series focuses on the challenges of the Information Age as depicted in movies. Each film is followed by a discussion that addresses the philosophical, ethical and psychological challenges of the Information Age, including issues of identity theft, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. For more information about the series call 443-6140.