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ADAM'S RIB
1949 - George Cukor
United States
105
Opening Shot

The film opens on a standard exterior shot of the city as the clock turns 5:00. The shot fades towards a park area where a young woman is pacing, looking at her watch and chewing a candy bar. She hides from a man who walks out from a building and then she follows him down to the crowed subway. On the ground floor she is bumped into and her purse drops to the floor and a gun is revealed inside. She quickly grabs it back close to her and hides it.

The Film

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy starred in 9 films together over a span of 25 years (of which they also shared an off-screen relationship). Most of them are fine films, but to me the one that stands out as truly great is Adam's Rib (their 6th film together). This is smartest and funniest Hepburn and Tracy collaboration and as in all their films together, the chemistry shines. Adam's Rib is a classic "battle of the sexes" comedy in which Hepburn plays a lawyer who is happily married to a District Attorney (played by Tracy). They eventually find themselves battling on opposite sides of a high-profile marriage case. Adam's Rib is directed by George Cukor, who always managed to get great performances from his stars. Cukor especially worked well with leading ladies, and most particularly Hepburn, whom he directed on a total of 10 films. Adam's Rib presents generally equal sympathy for both sides of this "battle of the sexes", but it does appear Cukor slightly favors Hepburn. Either way, Adam's Rib is magical and truly funny from start to finish. This is a classic and the best collaboration of one of film history's most memorable on-screen duos.

The Filmmaker

George Cukor was not really a visionary filmmaker or auteur in any sense. However, Cukor's filmography speaks volumes and he is responsible for some truly memorable classics of Hollywood. He started off in theater and his films very much represent this background as they are staged like a play. Cukor strength is his ability with actors. If he did not make them a star, he excelled in showcasing their stardom. Cukor was especially masterful with woman, most notably Katherine Hepburn whom he worked with on 10 films. Cukor worked with many screen legends, but the performances were also top-notch because he knew exactly how to use each of the stars (or soon to be stars) effectively. Towards the end of his career Cukor began making musicals beginning with 1954's A Star Is Born. Cukor earned a total of five Best Director nomination over four different decades (30s-60s). His only Best Director winner came on his 5th nomination (My Fair Lady in 1965).

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Resources
trailer (youtube)      
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