Sunday 11 March 2012

1,001 Films: "Adam's Rib" (1949)

"I've got a theory. You wanna hear it? I think the human race is having a nervous breakdown." A logical consequence of the Thin Man movies' success, George Cukor's comedy Adam's Rib established the template and set the bar for all those subsequent films in which lawyer spouses/lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the courtroom. A woman puts a bullet in her philandering husband, and - in doing so - puts the whole idea of husbandry on trial, to the delight of Mrs. Adam Bonner (Katharine Hepburn, defending) and the increasing discomfort of Mr. Adam Bonner (Spencer Tracy, prosecuting), who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a three-ring circus with his own wife as ringmaster. It's not quite as consistently funny as the very best screwball confections, but the leads - carrying a whole history of shared intimacies into the film with them - are perfect, and there's greater balance between the sexes here than there was in their previous collaboration Woman of the Year: the Gordon-Kanin script eventually hands down the equal and exact justice promised on the courthouse exterior. Great fun.

Adam's Rib is available on DVD through Warner Home Video.

No comments:

Post a Comment