Adam’s Rib (1949)

Years ahead of its time, this classic comedy tackled issues of sexual equality through the story of husband-and-wife lawyers on opposite sides of a controversial case. Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, in their sixth of nine films together, turn the legal foray into one of the screen’s most high-spirited and sophisticated battles of the sexes, with major assistance from director George Cukor and husband-and-wife writers Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin. The Kanins drew the idea from married lawyers William and Dorothy Whitney and even during early discussions referred to the characters as Spence and Kate. That was good news for the screen’s most beloved acting team, who had both been in box-office slumps in the late ’40s. ADAM’S RIB gave them the hit they needed. The picture also proved a boon to four younger actors in supporting roles. Judy Holliday figures most prominently as a woman on trial for shooting her cheating husband and the showcase role helped her land the lead in the film version of her Broadway hit, Born Yesterday (1950). Tom Ewell played the husband, Jean Hagen, in her film debut, the floozie and David Wayne, a young composer with a crush on Hepburn. Cole Porter wrote the song Wayne pens in her honor, with Frank Sinatra contributing a now-lost recording heard in snippets in the background.

(d. George Cukor, 101m, 35mm)

Note: The film will be preceeded by a 30-minute performance by Greg Proops, which will be recorded for use on his podcast, Greg Proops Film Club.

In attendance: Greg Proops