New York Film Locations

Working Girl Set for a Revisit

23 March 2019

2019 has already seen revisits to the films “Hackers” and “Two Weeks Notice” and more recently, the Marilyn Monroe film, “How to Marry a Millionaire”. Up next sees the eighties classic “Working Girl” get the make-over treatment with new higher quality screen grabs and updated film locations.

The romantic comedy-drama was released in 1988 and directed by Mike Nichols. It starred Melanie Griffith as Tess McGill, a working-class girl from Staten Island with a bachelor's degree in Business from evening classes. She worked as a stockbroker's secretary in the mergers and acquisitions department of a Wall Street investment bank. Tess wanted nothing more than to aspire to reach an executive position. Tricked by her boss into a date with his lascivious, cocaine-snorting colleague, she gets into trouble by using the office ticker to insult him and is reassigned as secretary to a new executive, Katharine Parker, played by Sigourney Weaver.

Film: Working Girl

Seemingly supportive, Katharine encourages Tess to share ideas. Tess suggests that a client, Trask Industries, should invest in radio to gain a foothold in media. Katharine listens to the idea and says she will pass it through some people. Later, she says the idea was not well received. When Katharine breaks her leg skiing in Europe, she asks Tess to house-sit. While at Katharine's place, Tess discovers some meeting notes where Katharine plans to pass off the merger idea as her own. At home, Tess finds her boyfriend Mick Dugan in bed with another woman. Disillusioned, she returns to Katharine's apartment and begins her transformation.

Film: Working Girl

Tess decides to use her boss's absence and connections, including Katharine's fellow executive, Jack Trainer, to put forward her own idea for a merger deal. She uses Katharine's name to set up a meeting with Trainer played by Harrison Ford. She wants to see who Trainer is by attending a party the evening before the meeting, wearing one of Katharine's expensive designer dresses. Before the party, when Tess suffers a panic attack, her friend Cynthia gives her a Valium from Katharine's bathroom. At the party, Tess unknowingly meets Jack, who is fascinated by her. They have a couple of drinks, and the combined effect of Valium and alcohol lead to her waking next morning in Jack's bed. She leaves before he wakes and, entering the meeting, realizes Jack Trainer is the man she had spent the night with. She thinks the pitch goes badly. Back at "her" desk, she is mortified about the night before, but Jack comes in and says her idea has potential. Days later, Tess and Jack gatecrash Trask's daughter's wedding and pitch their plan. Trask is interested, and a meeting is scheduled. When Tess and Jack end up in bed again, Tess wants to explain the truth, but keeps quiet after learning Jack has been in a relationship with Katharine, which he assures is all but over.

Film: Working Girl

Katharine comes home on the day of the meeting with Trask. Tess overhears Katharine asking Jack to confirm his love for her, but he avoids answering. Tess rushes off, leaving her appointment book, which Katharine reads. The meeting goes well until Katharine storms in, accusing Tess, a "mere" secretary, of having stolen her idea. Tess protests but leaves, apologizing. Days later, Tess clears out her desk and then bumps into Jack, Katharine, and Trask at the lobby elevators. Tess confronts Katharine and starts to tell everyone her side of the story. Katharine tries to lead the group away, but Jack says he believes Tess. When Trask hears a convincing tidbit, he hops off the closing elevator, leaving Katharine still in the lift. Trask gets on another elevator with Jack and Tess, where Tess then gives her elevator pitch to Trask, telling him the roundabout way in which she came up with the idea for the merger. When they get to their floor, Trask confronts Katharine, asking her how she came up with the idea. She stumbles and balks and is unable to explain the idea's origin. Katharine is fired on the spot for her fraud, and Trask offers Tess an "entry-level" job with his company.

Film: Working Girl

Tess starts her new job, armed with a lunchbox prepared by Jack. Directed to an office, she sees a woman on the phone, assumes she is her new boss, and seats herself at the secretary station. The woman identifies herself as Alice and reveals that she is, in fact, Tess's secretary and that Tess is the new junior executive for whom she is working. Tess insists they work together as colleagues, showing she will be very different from Katharine. She then calls Cynthia from her office overlooking Manhattan to say she has landed her dream job.

Film: Working Girl

Many scenes were shot in the New Brighton section of Staten Island in New York City. Tess's office building lobby scenes were shot in the lobby of 7 World Trade Center, one of the buildings destroyed in the September 11 attacks. The scenes of Tess's secretarial pool and Katharine Parker's office were filmed at One State Street Plaza at the corner of Whitehall and State Street. One Chase Manhattan Plaza was featured at the end as the Trask Industries building. otsoNY plan to revisit “Working Girl” next month.


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