**½/**** Image A- Sound B- Extras C+
starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Gig Young, Joan Blondell
screenplay by Phoebe and Henry Ephron, based on the play by William Marchant
directed by Walter Lang
by Bill Chambers One of the more effectively simple credits sequences opens Desk Set, with a telegraph situated on a Mondrian-inspired backdrop spitting out the names of cast and crew. This, it turns out, is the movie reduced to symbols. Modernities clash as Spencer Tracy's ironically oafish efficiency expert is deposited in the environment of Katharine Hepburn, who thinks and dresses geometrically but brings a splash of colour to the room. They're hip and as hip as each other, even if she's a Luddite and he pimps a supercomputer for IBM, because career comes first for both. Counterbalancing a general mistrust of the electronics revolution (and the typical politically-incorrect trappings of Fifties cinema), the movie embraces a progressive quality in its power-couple leads, who still seem remarkably contemporary because neither assumed aggressively gender-specific roles--they always played equals of different temperaments.