Tag: Spencer Tracey

Adam’s Rib

April 23rd, 2011 — 9:12pm


Adam’s Rib- nf.  Every once and awhile we like to go back and view a well acclaimed classic film. We do it for enjoyment but also to  try to figure out what is that makes it so great and so enduring. We chose one the 10 best films of all time according to the American Film Institute. The magnificent screenplay by Ruth Gordon and Garsen Karnin, nominated for an Academy Award puts a comedic spin on the age old battle of the sexes which really foreshadows the Women’s Movement and Women’s Liberation which was still 20 years away. The story opens as a woman (Judy Holiday) secretly follows her husband (Tom Ewell) to the apartment of a woman with whom he is having an affair. Quite distraught, she pulls out a revolver and tries to shoot the couple injuring her husband. The following day over breakfast, in a beautiful Manhattan apartment, another husband and wife are reading about the impending trial of this woman. The man who happens to be an Assistant District Attorney (Spencer Tracy) feels that this woman deserves to be fully punished for her terrible deed. His wife, a high powered attorney (Katherine Hepburn), isn’t so sure about that and believes that if the shooter were a man finding his wife having an affair, there would be much more sympathy the perpetrator. Wouldn’t you know it, the husband is assigned to be the prosecutor and the wife has independently decided she would offer to defend the shooter. The trial becomes the vehicle for a hilarious but penetrating analysis of society’s attitude towards women. All the arguments and counter arguments get played out in the courtroom during the day and then in Mr. and Mrs. Bonner’s (Tracy and Hepburn) apartment in the evening. Throughout the film each time one of the characters would seemingly make the winning point in the  male-female conflict, the other would seem to find a way to swing the pendulum in the other direction. The chemistry between these two people is quite palpable. Not only are they great actors but it is well known that they also had a real life romance over many years although never married to each other. The icing on the cake for this movie is that it also introduced an unforgettable Cole Porter song Farewell Amanda which is weaved into the story as it is sung by one of the characters (David Wayne) accompanying himself on the piano, reprised by the voice of Frank Sinatra on the radio, whistled by Katherine Hepburn and sung a cappella by Spencer Tracy. So put together a top notch story with a contemporary social issue that everyone can relate, add well timed comedy, two very well liked actors who have something special between themselves and a hummable musical theme and voila – you have an American classic film ! (1949)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Comedy, Romance

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