ADAM'S RIB

(1949)
With Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday, David Wayne, Tom Ewell, Jean Hagen
Directed by George Cukor
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

     Widely regarded as the best of the Tracy-Hepburn films, as memorable for its leads' legendary chemistry as for one of the finest comic supporting casts ever assembled.  Much was made at the time about the film's sexual double-standard message, as husband-and-wife attorneys-at-law Tracy (for the prosecution) and Hepburn (for the defense) come to blows in the courtroom in the case of a defendant (Judy Holliday) accused of shooting her husband (Tom Ewell) and his lover (Jean Hagen).  The "message" scenes are dated and naive today; what makes ADAM'S RIB an enduring classic are its colorful characters, a screenplay by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon overflowing with quotable one-liners, and comic timing as precise as an atomic clock. - JL

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