Sunday, February 21, 2010

I thought I'd already blogged about...

The Solid Gold Cadillac. TCM is showing it overnight at 2:30 AM ET, and I was going just to mention the fact that it was coming up, with a link back to the old blog post on it. But, there doesn't seem to be any "old post" on the movie, so I have to blog about it now instead.

Judy Holliday, that great comic actress of the 1950s, stars as Laura Partridge. She's a small shareholder in a large conglomerate, and she exercises her right to speak at the annual shareholders' meeting. And boy does she pester the board with questions. She's not evil, to be sure; if anything, she's just a bit ignorant about the way big business works, and so asks so many questions that the board just wishes she'd finally be done with it already. They'd like to shut her up, but that would be bad PR. So, they come up with a better idea: give her a make-work job, specifically one of being a PR director, dealing with all the questions of the other small shareholders. She'll spend so much time answering the shareholder questions that she won't have time to bother the board any more.

Still, Miss Partridge takes her job seriously, including getting in touch with the former CEO, Edward McKeever (Paul Douglas). He's been sent to Washington on a "dollar a year" job that basically involves lobbying the government to get contracts for his old conglomerate. This begins to get Laura concerned, but she becomes even more concerned when she learns from a small shareholder married to an employee that one of the many subsidiaries of the conglomerate is being driven out of business. When she investigates, she discovers that the subsidiary is being annihilated -- by the conglomerate itself! What's a woman to do? Well, she figures that the only thing she can do is to get all the small shareholders together and debate this at the next shareholders' meeting, voting in a new board if push comes to shove.

Solid Gold Cadillac is an enjoyable enough movie, but it suffers a bit from being too predictable. You know that the movie is going to have a happy ending, as well as that Partridge and McKeever are going to fall in love along the way. If anything, it's almost too reminiscent of Born Yesterday, in which Holliday plays another woman who learns a thing about the business world and its nexus with politics. Still, Holliday doesn't fail to deliver a delightful performance. Paul Douglas is one of those actors who played a lot of great secondary roles, but never got to be as famous as the quality of his work would have merited. It's probably because he wasn't the best-looking man out there. Thankfully, we have his work, which stands the test of time.

Solid Gold Cadillac was released to DVD several years ago, but has apparently fallen out of print.

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