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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Morse, Michelle Lee, Rudy Vallee, Anthony Teague
  • Directors: David Swift
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 079284484X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,132 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Collectible Trivia Booklet

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Big business means big laughs as Robert Morse schemes and scams his way to the top in this bold andbawdy musical that celebrates the Great American Corporate Wayand lampoons it at the same time. With musical supervision by the legendary Nelson Riddle (Pal Joey), this tune-filled comic gem is a goldmine of great Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls) songs, including "I Believe In You," "Rosemary" and "The Company Way." Written, produced and directed by David Swift (The Parent Trap) and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway hit, this classic musical is "bristling with humor, romance and song" (The Hollywood Reporter)! The story charts the meteoric riseof an ambitious window washer (Morse) who, with the help of a simple guidebook, gets the job, gets the girl (Michele Lee), gets the raise and gets the attention of the Big Boss (Rudy Vallee) himselfall by his second day at work! Now it's only a matter of hours before he goes from zero to CEO!


This fizzy musical was a Broadway smash in 1962, and boy, is it a product of its era. Executive washrooms, gray-flannel-suit businessmen, hip-swinging secretaries--they're all preserved in the movie's brightly colored amber. J. Pierpont Finch (Robert Morse) is the window washer who climbs the corporate ladder in a few days, guided by a how-to book. The Frank Loesser songs are great fun, the Bob Fosse dances are very clever and mod, and the gaudy set design may have given Andy Warhol a few ideas. The jack-in-the-box performance of the elfin Robert Morse doesn't seem toned down from his Tony-winning stage turn; think Mickey Rooney doing Jerry Lewis. Still, Morse is a unique presence, and his mad little solo dance down a real Manhattan street is an interlude of sublime daffiness. Grand old crooner Rudy Vallee shines as the president of Worldwide Wicket, barking his beloved alma mater's fight song: "Groundhog! Groundhog!" --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

It's one of the best musicals of the 1960's.
Andrew Philipoff
Robert Morse stars in the role that he was born to play and Michele Lee can rightfully be called Miss Yum-Yum for her performance!
Easy Critic
This story is good clean fun and the music is great.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 12, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
One of the most often overlooked movie musicals of the 1960s is also one of the most successful: the screen version of the Broadway smash HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, which delivers a sharp comic rap across the corporate knuckles in its tale of a nobody (Robert Morse) who uses a self-help book to rocket up the corporate ladder--and by the time our hero reaches the heights, romantic complications leads him to wonder what price corporate success.
Although the business world has changed quite a bit since 1967, SUCCEED is so dead-on with its attack that even modern corporate leaders will be bloodied from the fray. The company is just large enough so that no one knows what is actually going on, leadership cries out for creative solutions then promptly fires any one who shows a talent for it, and promotion doesn't hinge so much upon ability as it does upon [kissing] up, backstabbing, and looking like you know what you're doing. There are jabs at dressing for success, the idea that employees don't engage in sexual hankypanky, hidden nepotism, and the importance of belonging to the "right" clubs. And along the way our hero meets the classic business crowd: the company man, the bombshell secretary, the boss' nephew, and a host of largely incompetent yes-men VPs.
The film is very stylized, making no pretense at naturalism per se, and the cast follows suit, playing in a way that blends beautifully with the self-boosting and jingoistic tone that pervades the piece. Robert Morse gives a truly brilliant performance in the lead--and one wonders why Hollywood so seldom used him in later years; Michele Lee, as the secretary who befriends him, is equally fine, and the supporting cast is wonderful all the way around.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By M. Hart on May 19, 2003
Format: DVD
The 1967 musical comedy "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" is based upon a 1962 Broadway musical of the same name, as well as the similarly titled novel that was written by Shepherd Mead. The story begins with J. Pierpont Finch (Robert Morse) who works as a skyscraper window washer. He finds and begins to read a self-help book entitled "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying". Following advice from the book and while washing windows outside, he sneaks into of an office of the World Wide Wicket Corporation (WWWC). Quickly stripping out of his orange window-washing coveralls, Finch wears a smart business suit beneath and quickly endears himself to the company's president, J.B. Biggley (Rudy Vallee), one of the secretaries, Rosemary Pilkington (Michelle Lee), as well as a host of yes-men vice presidents. Impressed, J.B. sends Finch to the personnel office to be promptly hired to work in the company's mailroom. There, Finch meets J.B.'s nephew, Bud Frump (Anthony Teague), who also works for WWWC in the mailroom. Continuing to follow advice from the self-help book, Finch finagles and brownnoses his way up the corporate ladder in record speed and develops a love interest with Rosemary, but not everyone is happy with Finch's rise within the company. J.B. also hires a very attractive 'friend', Hedy LaRue (Maureen Arthur), who has little experience working in an office, but has a lot of experience with men.
The engaging, original music in the film, which was written by Frank Loesser, includes the songs:
* "How To" (sung by Robert Morse).
* "The Company Way" (sung by Robert Morse).
* "A Secretary Is Not A Toy" (sung by company employees).
* "Been A Long Day" (sung by company employees).
* "Rosemary" (sung by Robert Morse).
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By D. Goldberg on February 25, 2002
Format: DVD
This is one of the best transfers of a hit Broadway musical to movie musical. Everyone is superb! From Michelle Lee
to Robert Morse to Rudy Vallee to Ruth Kobart--all re-creating their Broadway Roles! Robert Morse's brilliant performance alone is worth the price of the dvd. Maureen Arthur's sexpot defines the word and is hilarious. Okay you can gripe that a few numbers from the Broadway Musical were left out--but overall this is a major success.
Concerns a window washer who reads a book "How to Succeed in Business" and within about a week, goes from
mail room clerk to Chairman of the Board . And he get's the girl in the end.
Fosse's Broadway choreography was recreated by an assistant for the film. Frank Loesser's Score is classic and singable.
And it shows how using the original Broadway Cast can make a film work incredibly well. (Take note those people who cast Lucille Ball in Mame and Peter O Toole in Man of La Mancha to terrible outcomes)
I don't think this film was a huge hit when it came out but it surely deserved to be. I watch it over and over. I sing the songs. It's a keeper.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MZ on March 14, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This musical transcends time. What was true in the 1960s - and before - is still true today. That is why this musical is a true mockery of the corporate world, which is in turn why it made my musical-mocking husband laugh out loud and physically turn away from the computer to watch.
Before I bought the DVD version of How to $ucceed, I had seen it performed live. I loved it and subsequently purchased the soundtrack featuring Matthew Broderick.
So, as you can see, it was with an already deep affection for (and prejudiced mind) that I bought the movie version. It surprised me greatly that this vision of How to $ucceed met up to my already high standards. Only a few songs from the musical were not included. But the movie is 2 hours long, so it was necessary to do some cutting.
If you like musicals, if you like big business, if you like to make fun of big business, this movie will make you laugh.
As far as the DVD goes, there were not a lot of special features, which is to be expected from an older film. It did include the trailer, which was amusing in its retro-style, and it's nice to be able to go back and play the scene of a particular song I liked here and there. The widescreen version really enhanced the film for me, especially when my cats decided to nap lazily on the television and dangle their limbs about while I was watching.
Good movie!
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