Friday, March 26, 2010

#149 Adam's Rib (1949)


Director: George Cukor

Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell, David Wayne, Jean Haygen

I've been on a Hepburn rampage this week, as I borrowed Haley's collection. So here, third in a row, is another Hepburn film I've watched that graces my list. Adam's Rib is the story of two married lawyers (Hepburn and Tracy) who face each other in a court case regarding a woman who has shot her husband after she catches him cheating. Mrs. Bonner (Hepburn) is defending the woman on the grounds of equal rights for women, attacking the double standards for cheating men and women. Mr. Bonner (Tracy) represents the public who is charging the defendant with assault and attempted murder.

In the beginning, the couple seem blissfully happy as a married couple. But as the case gets more complicated and Mrs. Bonner stirs up more interest in her defense, their marriage goes on the rocks. The end of the case and the result of the marriage, I won't spoil in my review, but it's not so hard to make a guess of what happens. The humor in the film is somewhat iffy, though Hepburn maintains a captivating screen presence, as always.

I guess I'm struggling with the Tracy-Hepburn screen dynamic in comparison to that which existed between herself and Cary Grant. I took it upon myself to do a little research, and it turns out that Tracy and Hepburn actually maintained a very long real-life relationship off-screen until Tracy's death in 1967. Perplexing indeed.

I'm just not sold on it though. Also this week I've watched Woman of The Year-- another Tracy-Hepburn flick which is not a part of my list, and same thing there-- lack of attachment to characters and plot. Maybe it is a personal bias against Spencer Tracy, but something about him just isn't clicking with me in these films. He leaves a Ben Affleck after-taste in my mouth, which I assure you, is not a good thing.

More Cary Grant please.

Also, I find the "rub-down" scenes in this film to be somewhat disturbing.
That is all.

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