Saturday, July 7, 2012

217. Adam's Rib (1949)

Running Time: 101 minutes
Directed By: George Cukor
Written By: Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin
Main Cast: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell, David Wayne
Click here to view the trailer


Believe it or not, this is the first Spencer Tracy film that I've watched for THE BOOK (unless I'm forgetting something) and wouldn't you know that it's alongside the lady he made a total of nine films with, Katharine Hepburn. Here, the two play dueling lawyers, in a comedy about the battle of the sexes.

The film opens with Doris Attinger (Holliday) tailing her husband Warren Francis Attinger (Ewell) through the subway, to the apartment of his mistress. When she arrives there, behind him, she pulls a gun from her handbag and fires, albeit with horrible aim, at her husband, striking him in the shoulder and sending his mistress screaming out of the room. We then cut to the bedroom of Mr. Adam Bonner (Tracy) and his wife, Amanda Bonner (Hepburn), as the two wake up to breakfast in bed, served by their housekeeper and a morning paper. As the couple sip their coffee and juice, they read about the attempted murder of Warren Francis Attinger via his wife Doris Attinger and the two split sides, Amanda siding with Doris and Adam siding with Warren. It also turns out that Mr. and Mrs. Attinger are both lawyers and when Adam arrives at work that morning, he finds out that he's been assigned Warren Attinger as his newest client. When he calls his wife to tell her the news, she breaks her neck to represent Mrs. Attinger and the movie is off and running. We then head into the courtroom, as the Bonner's wage war on the floors of justice and head home at night to try and keep their home life more civil than their professional battle.


There wasn't anything particularly wrong with "Adam's Rib", in fact, they got a whole lot of things right. I don't even have to tell you that the pairing of Hepburn and Tracy was a match made in heaven, as the two got along swimmingly and made you believe, for the duration of the film, that they were really a married couple. The chemistry that the two had was uncanny and I couldn't help but smile at the lifelike marriage that the two portrayed. According to THE BOOK, this film is actually based on real events. Apparently, in the real life story, the married couple actually went through with their divorce and ended up marrying their respective clients. After reading that tidbit, I was shocked that they didn't go with that ending. I guess when the filmmaker's thought about the idea of actually splitting up the loveable marriage of Hepburn and Tracy, they knew the audience wouldn't go for it. I bet someone like Preston Sturges could've gotten away with having it end with the couple marrying their clients and I'm sure we would've all been okay with it in the end too.

Anyway, I'm rambling. The film is funny and provides some unusual situations that I can't believe haven't been ripped off more than they have been. With the exception of the Hepburn/Tracy chemistry, there wasn't anything blatantly exceptional about the film. I found myself smiling many times throughout the picture, yet it wasn't anything that blew me away or anything. The situations do get a little bit corny and I couldn't help but think that if they had beefed up the courtroom drama aspect of the whole thing and played it as a half comedy/half drama, it would've worked out a lot better. They could've had strict drama in the courtroom and strict comedy when the couple returned home at night. Anyway, it was what it was and it wasn't bad. I think this is a film where the story matters less than just witnessing Hepburn and Tracy onscreen, together.

RATING: 6.5/10  At this point, I've seen so much good that these final few movies are going to have a really tough time winning me over.


July 7, 2012  5:30pm

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