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AN OLD FASHIONED, MADCAP, SCREWBALL COMEDY...
on 1 March 2005
This is a terrific, old fashioned, madcap, screwball comedy. Deftly directed by Howard Hawkes, the pace is frenetic from the get-go and never lets up. Starring Cary Grant, as a straight-laced paleontologist, and Katherine Hepburn, as an impulsive and beautiful heiress, this film is simply about as good as comedy gets.
The plot itself is simple. David Huxley (Cary Grant), a noted paleontologist, is trying to get a philanthropical grant of money for his museum from a wealthy donor. In his quest for this charitable gift, he runs into Susan (Katherine Hepburn), who, unbeknownst to him, is the niece and prospective heiress to his potential philanthropist's fortune. Once David meets up with this madcap heiress, his life will never be the same.
The film is noted for its highly improbable situations, its rat-a-tat-tat, staccato delivery of lines, its frenetic pacing, and impeccable comedic timing. Toss in a missing dinosaur bone, a little dog with a fondness for such, a domesticated leopard (if there is such a thing), a not so tame leopard, a great cast and script, and voila, one ends up with a great film!
Cary Grant is marvelous as David Huxley, the straight-laced, befuddled man of science who is drawn into improbable situations by Susan. Katherine Hepburn is sensational as Susan, the airhead heiress whose hair-brained ideas just lead to trouble. Of course, Susan falls for David, and the games begin. In addition to Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, the film has notable performances by Charles Ruggles, as big game hunter Major Applegate, Barry Fitzgerald as the hapless hired hand, Mr. Gogarty, and Walter Catlett, as Slocum, the criminally stupid town constable.
It is with good reason that this film made the Entertainment Weekly list of the 100 best comedies ever made. It is an assessment with which I heartily concur. This is a superlative, vintage film that is well worth having in one's personal collection. Bravo!