The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956)

Sixty-four years ago today, the film The Solid Gold Cadillac premiered. There isn’t a Judy Holliday movie I don’t like, this one took me longer to first see because it wasn’t immediately available to rent. You have to see this movie.

Title: The Solid Gold Cadilac
Directed by: Richard Quine
Produced by: Fred Kohlmar
Written by: Abe Burrows
Based on: The Solid Gold Cadillac 1953 play by George S. Kaufman, Howard Teichmann
Starring: Judy Holliday, Paul Douglas
Narrated by: George Burns
Music by: Cyril J. Mockridge
Cinematography: Charles Lang
Edited by: Charles Nelson
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release date: August 22, 1956
Running time: 99 minutes
Country United States
Language: English
Box office: $2.4 million (US)
Academy Award for Best Costume Design Black and White Jean Louis

At a shareholders meeting for International Projects, a billion dollar corporation, John T. Blessington (John Williams) announces he is replacing Edward L. McKeever (Paul Douglas), the company’s founder, president and chairman of the board, who is resigning to work for the federal government in Washington D.C. Laura Partridge (Judy Holliday), a minority stockholder with just ten shares of stock, drives its arrogant, self-serving executives to distraction with her incessant questioning during this and subsequent meetings.

Blessington comes up with the idea of hiring the struggling actress as director of shareholder relations to keep her occupied answering letters from small shareholders. He assigns her a secretary, Amelia Shotgraven (Neva Patterson), with secret instructions to obstruct her as much as possible. The conscientious Miss Partridge, upon discovering there is nothing substantial for her to do, decides to write the stockholders herself. She gains Amelia’s friendship and wholehearted assistance by helping her develop a romantic relationship with office manager Mark Jenkins (Arthur O’Connell).

When the directors find out, they fire Amelia. However, Laura discovers that Blessington’s thoroughly unqualified brother-in-law, Harry Harkness (Hiram Sherman), has driven an apparent competitor into bankruptcy, unaware International Projects actually owns the unfortunate company. With that as leverage, she gets Amelia rehired.

Still determined to neutralize Laura, the board decides to send her to Washington to persuade McKeever to give them some government contracts. She agrees to go, with the secret intention of trying to convince him to return and take back control from his crooked cronies. However, the company directors recall that he has divested himself of all his shares and is thus powerless, so they brush him off.

McKeever takes them to court, arguing that Laura was an unlicensed, illegal lobbyist; but, when she is forced to admit on the stand that she had another, romantic, reason for seeing him, the case is dropped. However, Laura has forged a warm relationship with many of the smaller investors while working at the company; they responded and sent in their proxies, giving her the right to vote their shares. Laura and McKeever use these votes to replace the entire board. They marry. As a gift to “The Girl Who Has Everything,” her husband presents her a single solid gold Cadillac for her birthday.

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