Post-screening Q&A with author Claire L. Evans, Electronic Resources Librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library Eileen Ybarra, and Associate Director of Reference and Public Services at the Margaret Herrick Library Elizabeth Youle.
Network television research librarian Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) finds her job threatened when efficiency expert Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy) becomes fixated on replacing the all-female department with cutting-edge computing technology. For the movie’s fictional “EMMARAC” system, IBM provided early supercomputer prototypes to Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, which are impressively captured by cinematographer Leon Shamroy’s CinemaScope lensing. At its core a workplace comedy and a battle between two genders (and Tracy and Hepburn’s eighth of nine films together), Desk Set also eerily forecasts the increased digitization and consolidation of certain careers while interrogating the capitalistic motivations behind workplace efficiency measures.
To discuss the rich history of women and technology, we’re pleased to be joined by a panel of guests, including Claire L. Evans, author of the book Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet, Eileen Ybarra, Electronic Resources Librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library, and Elizabeth Youle, Associate Director of Reference and Public Services at the Margaret Herrick Library.
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