Thursday, July 12, 2012
Adam's Rib. B+
Adam's Rib is just a little more risqué, just a little more political-minded than the average classic 1940s screwball comedy. One of the central themes of the film is infidelity to one's spouse, which the film in turn uses to advertise some early Hollywood concern for feminist causes. The movie came out in 1949, and you can sense the production code already lightening up just slightly. But enough of that. I think the real reason anyone watches this film is because of George Cukor, Katherine Hepburne, Spencer Tracy, and unbelievably cool comic energy they were able to create. This film isn't hilarious, but it's very playful and lighthearted with scene after scene that's brilliantly orchestrated. Take one of the more famous sequences, when Tracy angrily slams a door, which sets off a domino effect of objects that eventually lead to the record player being turned on. Gentle music plays, and one suddenly feels that the intensity of the preceding drama is nothing to take too seriously. There are other classic comedies I would choose over this one. It isn't one of those old films you want to see again like an old friend. I think I liked it more for the sheer skill involved that's on prominent display throughout.