COMEDY GOLD #4: Doris’ version of events from Adam’s Rib (1949)

d689e58487837ab1c57b8c5f1a54f857--katharine-hepburn-ribsThe real-life case of attorneys William Dwight Whitney and Dorothy Whitney and their clients Raymond Massey (yes, that Raymond Massey) and Adrienne Allen inspired powerhouse screenwriting team of Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon to write Adam’s Rib (1949), a comedy about the battle of the sexes, in which Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy play two lawyers on opposite sides in a case involving a woman who shot her unfaithful husband.
Adam’s Rib is the most famous and well-regarded of the nine films starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and while they shine as the rivaling married lawyers defending their married clients, Judy Holliday is a revelation as the scorned wife. Hepburn famously asked director George Cukor to focus on Holliday during the scene where her character explains what happened in order to showcase her talents and to guarantee that she’d be cast in the film version of Born Yesterday (1950) and boy, did it work. Not only did she indeed get the role she’d originated on Broadway – winning the Best Actress Oscar in the process – but the scene is one of the funniest in the film. You can’t take your eyes off her! Her account of the events is hilarious, her timing is perfect and her deadpan expression is downright adorable. She’s an endearing, sympathetic character that you root for throughout the film and this is probably her best moment. Judy Holliday had a gift for comedy and I’ve often wondered what her career would have been like in her later years. No doubt she’d have continued to make people laugh well into old age. It’s a shame she died so young, but we’ll always have her movies.

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