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It's tempting to think that, as the sparring husband and wife lawyers, Hepburn and Tracy drew on aspects of their now legendary real-life love affair. Screen chemistry alone can't account for the endless nuances, sidelong looks and timing which make Adam's Rib such a delight. There's also a generosity to their fellow actors that few major stars, then or now, would be confident enough to indulge in. Judy Holliday, playing the wife accused of shooting her philandering husband, had still not secured the lead in the film of her Broadway hit, Born Yesterday. Aware that anything else would have been a travesty, Hepburn as her defence lawyer ensured that Holliday was favoured in their scenes together and she duly got the part.
In all the best ways, Adam's Rib is a quick-fire battle-of-the-sexes comedy, with Hepburn's brittle feminism striking sparks off Tracy's bemused chauvinism. The verdict might be a victory for Hepburn, but the real winner is an underlying love and respect which made this partnership one of the all time greats.
On the DVD: Adam's Rib is presented in standard 4:3 format from a decent print, with a picture quality and mono soundtrack to please anyone who knows the film primarily from TV matinees. The lack of extras, apart from a scene index, is disappointing for a film of this stature. --Piers Ford
One of the films best aspects is its portrayal of the loving relationship between Tracy and Hepburn, as he attempts to understand and reconcile his wifes beliefs and she tries to cut him some slack. The real-life relationship is evident in the chemistry the two share, producing one of the most believable couples seen on screen, and providing a warmth at the heart of the film.
Hepburn is ideal for the part of Amanda, as she brings strength to her character without turning her into a cliché, as she is still feminine and human. Tracy is also excellent as the bewildered husband Adam, dispensing some sharp lines. The climax is a little contrived but this can be excused as romantic comedies are never the strictest with reality!
Although, this film was well-acted and witty, it rarely made me laugh out loud and some of the set-pieces seemed a little lame. Inevitably, the film has dated - comedy tastes change. Despite this, i was still entertained and the charming performances of Tracy and Hepburn kept me watching. This film has gone down as a classic of its genre and I think deservedly so.
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