Category Archives: 1-By Laksh

All these articles are from Laksh’s desk

The Old Man

It is always a challenge to present an aged man as the protagonist and even a big challenging if a veteran like Jeff Bridges steps into the role. The Old Man overcomes these two challenges even with Jeff Bridges in the titular role. Modelled as a spy thriller with intertwining personal relationships, the series has lot to offer not just to Jeff Bridges fans but also to anyone who is interested in a good drama based action series. 

The Old Man is about an ex-spy living a lonely old life with his wife dead and a daughter far away. His only solace in his bucolic existence is the phone conversations with this daughter and two dogs.

But things change quickly for The old man aka Dan Chase (Jeff Bridges)when an intruder is in his house and his old killer instincts come back to put him on a no return path.

What follows is an interesting triangle between Dan Chase, Harold Harper (John Lithgow) and Emily/Angela (Alia Shawkat). As the series moves forward, the old stories reveal at various points to provide the shock and suspense.

The Old Man is streaming on Disney+

Desk Set: Love is around the desk

Release Date : March 2, 1957
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Duration: 1h 43m
Rating: 2.9/5
Director Walter Lang
WriterPhoebe Ephron , Henry Ephron
William Marchant(based on the play written by)
Produced byHenry Ephron
StarsSpencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Gig Young
Cinematography              Leon Shamroy
Edited by             Robert L. Simpson
Music by              Cyril J. Mockridge
Production Design byMaurice Ransford, Lyle R. Wheeler
Production companies20th Century Fox

Richard Sumner: Caroline was a model. Five feet ten in her stockinged feet.

Bunny Watson: You had occasion to measure her?

Richard Sumner: Among other things, yes, yes.

What is it about

The movie is about an efficiency expert, Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy) with a mandate to install his computer machine EMARAC, in a division headed by an experienced and able manager, Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn). His initial thoughts about women, are shattered in the first lunch meeting at the top of the building. And he falls in love with her. But there is a problem. She is already in a relationship with another guy, her boss and an upwardly mobile guy.

Will EMARAC create problems as the staff thinks it would? Will Mr.Sumner succeed in both this personal and professional missions?

Desk Set answers these in a humorous and a mature fashion.

Thumbs up

Lead Cast
Sharp Writing
Premise
Production Design

Thumbs down

Slapstick towards the end.
A hurried climax

Final verdict
Overall, a good film for old movie lovers, exploring themes that are relevant even today.

Management Concepts/ Lessons/ References

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
English idiom

“Machines Do More, So That Man Can Do Less.”
― ENIAC (1945) machine slogan

Analysis
The movie presents a few interesting perspectives that are relevant even today.

  • The perception of women, especially well dressed and fashionable (as portrayed by Katharine Hepburn, interestingly the blu-ray had a news item about a fashion launch around the movie).
  • The trepidation towards modern technologies, during its various cycles like computerization, internet and now AI etc 

The theme of the heroine in a hopeless relationship is portrayed in several films like The Apartment, The Terminal etc, but in Desk Set, both are equally independent and intelligent.

It would be interesting to see a reverse story of this…with the efficiency expert being a woman.

Tidbit.

Apparently the sounds created for the machine in this movie were later used for movies like ‘Fantastic Voyage’

Norma Rae: An idea whose time has come

Release Date : March 2, 1979
Genres: Drama
Duration: 1h 54m
Rating: 3/5
Director Martin Ritt
WriterIrving Ravetch 
Harriet Frank Jr.
Produced byTamara Asseyev, Alexandra Rose
StarsSally Field, Ron Leibman, Beau Bridges,
Pat Hingle, Barbara Baxley
Cinematography              John A Alanzo
Edited by             Sidney levin
Music by              David Shire
Production Design by
Production companies20th Century Fox

Norma Rae Webster: Who’s this? Dylan Thomas?

Reuben Warshowsky: He was a poet. A genius and a drunk.

What is it about

In a small town in North Carolina, Norma Rae (Sally Field) is born in a working class family and all she knows to earn for her livelihood is by working in the local textile mill. Her free spirit gets her into quite few problems but the biggest of all comes knocking in the form of Reuben Warshowsky (Ron Liebman) who asks her help in setting up a trade union for the mill workers. She wants to redeem herself from being called a trash for working in the mill and having kids out of wedlock, and also create better conditions for her children if they decide to work for the mill at sometime in their lives.

Will she succeed in her mission?

Thumbs up

Sally Field
Uplifting tale

Thumbs down

Final verdict

A feel good movie with terrific performances, keeps you engaged throughout.

Management Concepts/ Lessons/ References

“If they answer not to thy call, walk alone,
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall, O unlucky one,
open thy mind and speak out alone.”
Ekla Chalo, Rabindranth Tagore

“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and opressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”
― Thomas Jefferson