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Adam's Rib (1949)
Topic Started: Aug 29 2017, 06:44 PM (155 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Adam's Rib (1949) Dir. George Cukor
An MGM Production
101 min. / B&W / 1.37:1

Jilted wife Judy Holliday shoots philandering husband Tom Ewell when she catches him in the arms of his ditzy paramour, Jean Hagen. The city's DA wants a quick, clean conviction and so assigns the case to his top man, Spencer Tracy. Alas, Tracy's wife, attorney Kate Hepburn, is one of those feminist types and she's got this crazy idea that the sumbitch deserved the bullet he got, so she takes on the case for the defense, which doesn't do a lot of good for her and Spence's marriage, let me tell you.

It's been said many times that MGM didn't know what to do with comedians, and that's probably so, but they knew what to do with productions like this: get the heck out of the way. Garson Kanin and his wife, Ruth Gordon, wrote this specifically for their friends Kate 'n' Spence, and when Harry Cohn balked at casting Broadway star Holliday in the film version of Kanin's Born Yesterday, our heroes conspired to get her the role by casting her as the homicidal wife in this one - and thank you to everyone involved (Miss Holliday is a favorite of mine). David Wayne is a screamingly gay songwriter who keeps hitting on Miss Hepburn for some unknown reason, but the rest of the cast is letter-perfect and the dialog is non-stop hilarious and the direction is impeccable and yeah, I love this movie.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Mr. Wayne: "Lawyers should never marry other lawyers. This is called in-breeding. From this comes idiot children and other lawyers!"

Million-dollar Cross-Examination:
Miss Hagen: "And then I heard a noise."
Counselor Tracy: "What kind of noise?
Miss Hagen: "Like... a sound!"

The film takes a wrong turn with Kate brings in several very, very successful women to demonstrate that anything a man can do a woman can do, including (one supposes) protecting their home through artillery fire. Other than that, though, this is a laugh riot and a prime showcase for how good Kate and Spence were as actors and as a team. A gem.

Unfortunately, the Warners DVD is no great shakes. Hopefully a restoration will fix this someday.
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