Adam’s Rib (1949)

Toronto Film Society presented Adam’s Rib (1949) on Monday, August 28, 1967 as part of the Season 19 Summer Series “And On to the Present”, Programme 2.

Chickens Come Home   USA   1931   Sound   3 reels   b&w   16mm

Production Company: Hal Roach Studios.  Producer: Hal Roach.  Director: James W. Horne.  Dialogue: H.M. Walker.  Photography: Art Lloyd.  Editor: Richard Currier.  Sound: Elmer Raguse.
Cast:  Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch.

Based upon a 1927 silent short by the Hal Roach Comedy All Stars, Love ’em and Weep, in which Laurel and Hardy had appeared.  Would you believe Ollie as a candidate for mayor?  Or as a “man with a past”?  He relies on Stan to help him out of a blackmail plot.  Lotsa luck, Ollie.

Rabbitson Crusoe  USA   1956   Sound 7 mins  Technicolor   16mm

Production Company: Warner Brothers.  Director: Friz Freleng.  Story: Warren Foster.  Animation: Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, Arthur Davis.  Layouts: Hawley Pratt.  Backgrounds: Irv Wyner.  Musical Director: Milt Franyn.  Voice Characterizations: Mel Blanc.
Cast:  Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam.

A hilarious romp in which Bugs, as usual, outwits poor Sam.  There is an unusual amount of comic invention relying upon the unexpected for its effect.

Notes by Ron R. Anger

– Intermission   10 minutes –

Adam’s Rib (1949)

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Producer: Lawrence Weingarten.  Director: George Cukor.  Script: Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin.  Photography: George J. Folsey.  Editor: George Boemler.  Art Directors: Cedric Gibbons and William Ferrari.  Music: Miklos Rozsa.  Song: “Farewell, Amanda” by Cole Porter.

Cast:  Spencer Tracy (Adam Bonner), Katharine Hepburn (Amanda Bonner), Judy Holliday (Doris Attinger), Tom Ewell (Warren Attinger), David Wayne (Kip Lurie), Jean Hagen (Beryl Caighn), Clarence Kolb (Judge Reiser), Hope Emerson (Olympia La Pere), Will Wright (Judge Marcasson), Emerson Treacy (Jules Frikke), Polly Moran (Mrs. McGrath), Elizabeth Flournoy (Dr. Margaret Brodeigh), Eve March (Grace).

The choice of tonight’s feature film was, to some degree, a token nod of acknowledgement to all of the unsung comedy films and film-makers not included for one reason or another, in the list of the Best Comedy Films compiled by the international critics’ poll.  Adam’s Rib is not a “Great Film”–but it is a thoroughly entertaining one, and one which exemplifies the work of a superb group of talented professionals, each of whom, from writers and director to the actors, is represented here at or near the top of his form.  The film is a bright combination of comedy of manners and straight farce, a civilize spoof on the battle of the sexes from a team of high-class practitioners of comedy, many of whom worked well and often together on a surprising number of the more memorable Hollywood comedies of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

Katharine Hepburn and the late Spencer Tracy also were teamed in the following films (all but three of them comedies): Woman of the Year (1942), Keeper of the Flame (1943), Without Love (1945), The Sea of Grass (1947), State of the Union (1948), Pat and Mike (1952), Desk Set (1957) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (1967).

George Cukor also directed Tracy and Hepburn in Keeper of the Flame and in the Kanin’s Pat and Mike, and Tracy alone in Ruth Gordon’s charming comedy, The Actress (1953).  He directed Katharine Hepburn in her first film, A Bill of Divorcement (1932), as well as in Little Women (1933), Sylvia Scarlett (1936), Holiday (1938) and The Philadelphia Story (1940).

He also directed Judy Holliday in Winged Victory (1944), Borne Yesterday (1950), The Marrying Kind (1952) and It Should Happen to You (1954).

Cukor’s other best-known films are: Dinner at Eight (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Romeo and Juliet (1936), Camille (1937), The Women (1939), A Woman’s Face (1941), Gaslight (1944), A Double Life (1947), A Star is Born (1954), Les Girls (1957), Heller in Pink Tights (1960), and My Fair Lady (1964), for which he won his first “Oscar” as Best Director.

On their own or together the Kanins also wrote: A Double Life (1947), Born Yesterday (1950), The Marry Kind (1952), Pat and Mike (1952), The Actress (1953), It Should Happen to You (1954) and The Rat Race (1960).

A fine director himself, Garson Kanin also wrote and/or directed these films: A Man to Remember (1938), Bachelor Mother (1939), The Great Man Votes (1939), My Favourite Wife (1940), They Knew What They Wanted (1940), Tom, Dick and Harry (1941) and The True Glory (1945 – with Carol Reed).

Notes by Doug Davidson

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