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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Man In The Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

Nudged on by his aggressive wife (Jennifer Jones) to climb the corporate ladder, a man (Gregory Peck) accepts a public relations job for a television network where he finds himself torn between compromise and being true to himself. Based on the best seller by Sloan Wilson (A SUMMER PLACE), this is an ambitious look on the Madison Avenue mentality, the MAD MEN of its day, perhaps a little too ambitious. Going over the 2 1/2 hour mark, the film could have used some excising of the bloat. The entire and lengthy flashback sequence in Rome could have been cut without any harm to the film though it would have eliminated the romantic subplot with Marisa Pavan that figures prominently in the film's finale. There is another story that runs parallel to Peck's story, that of the company head (Fredric March in an effective low keyed performance) and his relationship with his estranged wife (Ann Harding) and daughter (Gigi Perreau) that also takes up quite a bit of the film's running time but unlike the WWII Italian segment, its importance is crucial. Directed by Nunnally Johnson. The persuasive score is by Bernard Herrmann. With Lee J. Cobb, Keenan Wynn, Arthur O'Connell, Henry Daniell, Gene Lockhart, Sandy Descher, Kenneth Tobey, Nan Martin, Connie Gilchrist, Roy Glenn, Dorothy Adams and DeForest Kelley.

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