Greed is good. William Holden is better.

If you’ve been craving your upscale mid-century office fix ever since Mad Men ended, here’s the film to scratch the itch. Robert Wise’s Executive Suite is the ultimate corporate confection/dissection, packed with backstabbing stockholders, long-suffering secretaries, and a healthy dose of cynical yet stoic social conscience, personified by that tall drink of water known as William Holden.

Released in 1954, Executive Suite showcases the best of high-gloss studio-era filmmaking: sleek sets, flawlessly photographed women, snappy dialogue (written by Sweet Smell of Success’s Ernest Lehman), and a cavalcade of great “Oh, it’s that guy!” actors like Frederic March, Walter Pidgeon, Shelley Winters, and Nina Foch, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance. But it’s also a time capsule that reveals as much about the business culture of the 1950s as Wall Street would about that of the ’80s – an entertaining reminder that executive bad behavior didn’t start (and won’t end) with Enron.

BUY Executive Suite

SEARCH for Executive Suite

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.