How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying


2h 1m 1967
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Brief Synopsis

With the help of his handy guidebook, a window washer talks his way into the executive suite.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1967
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Mar 1967
Production Company
Mirisch Corp.
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying , music by Frank Loesser, book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert (New York, 14 Oct 1961), which was based on the book How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; the Dastard's Guide to Fame and Fortune by Shepherd Mead (New York, 1952).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 1m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

While on his way to work one morning, an ambitious and brash young window cleaner named J. Pierpont Finch buys a book entitled How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying . Impressed by what he reads, he leaves his window washing post and enters the offices of the World Wide Wicket Company. He charms a pretty secretary, Rosemary, tricks the personnel manager into believing he is a close friend of J. B. Biggley, the pompous head of Wicket, and lands himself a job in the mailroom. Following each suggestion in the book, Finch quickly connives his way through a series of advancements and promotions until he becomes a junior executive. Finch has also won the hatred of Biggley's nephew, Bud Frump, who plots to destroy him. By supplementing the book's advice with his own methods, Finch's meteoric rise continues until he is finally made the head of advertising. Aware that his uncle detests television giveaway programs, Frump tricks Finch into suggesting a World Wide treasure hunt for shares in the Wicket Company. To Frump's consternation, however, Biggley endorses the idea when Finch nominates Hedy LaRue, Biggley's current lover, as the Treasure Girl. The idea backfires when Hedy publicly announces that the free shares are hidden in Wicket offices throughout the world; and the public quickly reduces them to shambles as they frantically search for the prizes. Finch finally admits that he is a lowly window washer who wanted to become a success. Upon hearing the confession, the chairman of the board and former window washer Wally Womper announces that he is going to retire and that Finch will be his successor. Now at the top at last, Finch admits his love for Rosemary and promises to forget about ambition. Delighted, Rosemary vows that she would love him whether he was a mailboy or President of the United States. Finch starts thinking, and a short time later he is washing the windows of the White House. Musical numbers : "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (Finch), "The Company Way" (Finch & Twimble), "A Secretary Is Not a Toy" (Bratt, Frump, & office staff), "Been a Long Day" (Finch, Rosemary, & Smitty/Biggley, Hedy, & Frump), "I Believe in You" (Rosemary, Finch, & executives), "Grand Old Ivy" (Finch & Biggley), "Rosemary" (Finch), "Gotta Stop That Man" (Finch & executives), "Brotherhood of Man" and reprise of "The Company Way" (Finch, Biggley, Frump, Bratt, Twimble, Miss Jones, & office staff).

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1967
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Mar 1967
Production Company
Mirisch Corp.
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying , music by Frank Loesser, book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert (New York, 14 Oct 1961), which was based on the book How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; the Dastard's Guide to Fame and Fortune by Shepherd Mead (New York, 1952).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 1m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying


Written as a satiric guide to climbing the corporate ladder, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) proved to be publishing gold for its author, Shepherd Mead. Mead wrote the novel while working on Madison Avenue and watched as his story became a bestseller in 1952. Apparently an example of his own get-rich method, Mead retired from the work world at 41 and moved to the English countryside. There he would go on to write other how to books like, How to Succeed with Women Without Really Trying, How to Live Like a Lord Without Really Trying and How to Succeed in Tennis Without Really Trying.

Mead's story was first adapted for the stage in 1955 by playwright Willie Gilbert and Jack Weinstock, a neurosurgeon who wrote plays in his free time. Their version would be put to music by Frank Loesser, who wrote the songs, and Abe Burrows, who created the musical book. The play that emerged added an element of romance and even more social commentary to Mead's tale. The first person cast in the stage version of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was Robert Morse as J. Pierpont Finch, the window washer who takes Mead's book to heart. Actor/bandleader Rudy Vallee soon joined Morse as his boss at the World Wide Wicket Company.

Morse and Vallee would follow the play to Hollywood, taking the same parts in the film. Likewise, Michele Lee, who joined the Broadway cast after the original actress departed, would renew her role as girlfriend Rosemary. The adapted screenplay was written by David Swift, who also served as producer and director on the film. Swift began his Hollywood career as a Disney animator, later writing and directing such family classics as Pollyanna (1960) and The Parent Trap (1961). He went onto work as a TV writer and director on shows that spanned from Alfred Hitchock Presents to Barney Miller. Swift also had a small part in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Keep an eye out for him as an elevator operator.

Director: David Swift
Producer: David Swift, Irving Temaner
Screenplay: David Swift, Abe Burrows (play), Willie Gilbert (play), Jack Weinstock (play), Shepherd Mead
Cinematography: Burnett Guffey
Music: Frank Loesser (songs), Irving Temaner
Art Direction: Robert F. Boyle
Principle Cast: Robert Morse (J. Pierpont Fince), Michele Lee (Rosemary Pilkington), Rudy Vallee (Jasper Biggley), Antony Teague (Bud Frump), Maureen Arthur (Hedy LaRue), John Myhers (Bert O. Bratt), Carol Worthington (Lucille Krumholtz).
C-122m. Letterboxed.

by Stephanie Thames
How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Written as a satiric guide to climbing the corporate ladder, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) proved to be publishing gold for its author, Shepherd Mead. Mead wrote the novel while working on Madison Avenue and watched as his story became a bestseller in 1952. Apparently an example of his own get-rich method, Mead retired from the work world at 41 and moved to the English countryside. There he would go on to write other how to books like, How to Succeed with Women Without Really Trying, How to Live Like a Lord Without Really Trying and How to Succeed in Tennis Without Really Trying. Mead's story was first adapted for the stage in 1955 by playwright Willie Gilbert and Jack Weinstock, a neurosurgeon who wrote plays in his free time. Their version would be put to music by Frank Loesser, who wrote the songs, and Abe Burrows, who created the musical book. The play that emerged added an element of romance and even more social commentary to Mead's tale. The first person cast in the stage version of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was Robert Morse as J. Pierpont Finch, the window washer who takes Mead's book to heart. Actor/bandleader Rudy Vallee soon joined Morse as his boss at the World Wide Wicket Company. Morse and Vallee would follow the play to Hollywood, taking the same parts in the film. Likewise, Michele Lee, who joined the Broadway cast after the original actress departed, would renew her role as girlfriend Rosemary. The adapted screenplay was written by David Swift, who also served as producer and director on the film. Swift began his Hollywood career as a Disney animator, later writing and directing such family classics as Pollyanna (1960) and The Parent Trap (1961). He went onto work as a TV writer and director on shows that spanned from Alfred Hitchock Presents to Barney Miller. Swift also had a small part in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Keep an eye out for him as an elevator operator. Director: David Swift Producer: David Swift, Irving Temaner Screenplay: David Swift, Abe Burrows (play), Willie Gilbert (play), Jack Weinstock (play), Shepherd Mead Cinematography: Burnett Guffey Music: Frank Loesser (songs), Irving Temaner Art Direction: Robert F. Boyle Principle Cast: Robert Morse (J. Pierpont Fince), Michele Lee (Rosemary Pilkington), Rudy Vallee (Jasper Biggley), Antony Teague (Bud Frump), Maureen Arthur (Hedy LaRue), John Myhers (Bert O. Bratt), Carol Worthington (Lucille Krumholtz). C-122m. Letterboxed. by Stephanie Thames

Quotes

What's nepotism?
- Gertrude Biggley
That's when your nephew's a damn poop!
- J. B. Biggley
What's your name?
- Miss Jones
Finch, F-I-N-C-H. J. Pierpont Finch.
- J. Pierpont Finch
Well, why haven't I seen you before?
- Miss Jones
Well, ma'am, I'm not supposed to deliver the executive mail. That's his job. Bud Frump, F-R-U-M-P.
- J. Pierpont Finch
I know blood is thicker than water, but Bud Frump is thicker than anything.
- J. B. Biggley
I like the way you thinch, Fink.
- J. B. Biggley
That's "think, Finch."
- J. Pierpont Finch
I have nothing to hide!
- Hedy LaRue
Yes you do, and you keep it hidden!
- Rosemary

Trivia

The Broadway version of Finch had a lot more "edge" to him. The movie producers felt they had to make him nicer for the movie in order to be more likeable to the audience.

Many of the actors, notably Robert Morse and Rudy Vallee, reprised their Broadway roles in this film.

The "Coffee Break" number was filmed but judged to be unusable. The budget didn't allow for restaging of the number.

All of Rosemary's songs (including "Happy To Keep His Dinner Warm" and "Paris Original") were cut from the movie version, so they let her sing "I Believe In You" to Finch. In the play, he's the only one who sings it.

Notes

Dale Moreda's choreography is based upon that of Bob Fosse, who choreographed the original stage presentation. Location scenes filmed in New York City.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1967

Film adaptation of the Broadway show.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1967