*William Shakespeare, “Twelfth Night” Act III, sc. 4.
From: Jeremy Norman’s HistoryofInformation.com:
“The romantic comedy film, Desk Set, brought to the silver screen in 1957, was the first film to dramatize and satirize the role of automation in eliminating traditional jobs. The name of the computer in the film, EMERAC, and its room-size installation, was an obvious take-off on UNIVAC, the best-known computer at the time. In the film, the computer was brought-in to replace the library of books, and its staff—an early foreshadowing of the physical information versus digital information issue. Directed by Walter Lang and starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Gig Young, Joan Blondell, and Dina Merrill, the screenplay was written by Phoebe Ephron and Henry Ephron from the play by William Marchant.
The film “takes place at the “Federal Broadcasting Network” (exterior shots are of Rockefeller Center, in New York City, headquarters of NBC). 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 network executive Mike Cutler (Gig Young), with no marriage in sight.
“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 computers (called “electronic brains” in the film). Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy), the inventor of EMERAC 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, he 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. Their fears seem to be confirmed when everyone on the staff receives a pink slip printed out by the new payroll computer. Fortunately, it turns out to be a mistake; the machine fired everybody in the company, including the president”
“Summertime (released in the UK as Summer Madness) is a 1955 British-American Technicolor romance film directed by David Lean and starring Katharine Hepburn, Rossano Brazzi, Darren McGavin, and Isa Miranda. The screenplay by Lean and H.E. Bates is based on the play The Time of the Cuckoo by Arthur Laurents…
(Amazon review): “This delicately handled love story was legendary director David Lean’s first colour film and his own personal favourite. Katherine Hepburn shines in the leading role and both director and star were nominated for Oscars. American spinster Jane Hudson has finally saved enough to take the trip of a lifetime and she hopes Venice will bring a spark of magic into her life. Overwhelmed by the beauty of her surroundings her holiday becomes all the more special when she encounters a charming antiques dealer and is soon swept of her of her feet. Could this be the romance she has waited her whole life for?”
…Government officials initially resisted director David Lean’s request to allow his crew to film on location during the summer months, the height of the tourist season, especially when local gondolieri, fearful they would lose income, threatened to strike if he was given permission to do so. The problem was resolved when United Artists made a generous donation to the fund established to finance the restoration of St Mark’s Basilica. Lean also was required to promise the cardinal that no short dresses or bare arms would be seen in or near the city’s holy sites.
He became so enamoured with Venice during filming that he made it his second home.
Bosley Crowther of The New York Times observed, “In adapting for the screen Arthur Laurents’ stage play The Time of the Cuckoo, Mr. Lean and H.E. Bates discarded most of the individual shadings and psychological subtleties of that romance. They reduced the complicated pondering of an American woman’s first go at love with a middle-aged merchant of Venice to pleasingly elemental terms. And they let the evident inspiration for their heroine’s emotional release be little more than the spell cast by the city upon her fitful and lonely state of mind. The challenge thus set of making Venice the moving force in propelling the play has been met by Mr. Lean as the director with magnificent feeling and skill. Through the lens of his color camera, the wondrous city of spectacles and moods becomes a rich and exciting organism that fairly takes command of the screen. And the curious hypnotic fascination of that labyrinthine place beside the sea is brilliantly conveyed to the viewer as the impulse for the character’s passing moods. … It is Venice itself that gives the flavor and the emotional stimulation to this film. For it can’t be denied that the credibility of the brief love affair … is considerably strained in substance. Nor can it be honestly gainsaid that the break-up after a blissful go-round is abrupt and illogical.” “.