Adam’s Rib, written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin
8 out of 10
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This is considered to be one of the best comedies…
It is on The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list:
Katharine Hepburn is majestic as the lawyer Amanda Bonner.
Her real life husband and excellent actor Spencer Tracy portrays the spouse and also a man of the law- Adam Bonner.
The title seems to refer to the Bible story that has the woman created by God, but only from Adam’s Rib.
The suggestion is one of supposed inferiority and the main theme of the film is there expressed in the metaphor of the title.
Doris Attinger is a woman betrayed, cheated upon by her husband Warren that is having an affair with Beryl Caighn.
We see the confused and depressed Doris Attinger, trying to advance thorough a crowd and find her way.
When she reaches the room where she knows she can find her husband, she takes out a revolver and…causes the audience to laugh.
Because she starts reading instructions from a booklet that is evidently the manual for the gun that she fires.
For the viewers it is clear that the woman does not what she is doing, even after entering the room where she finds her husband.
He is intimate with another woman, there is screaming and accusations fly, while Doris Attinger pulls the gun.
But when she shoots, she does not even look towards her enemies, she looks back, scared by this outrage.
Warren Attinger is injured, taken to a hospital, while the wife is taken into police custody, indicted and placed in the newspapers ‘headlines.
Amanda Bonner reads about the story and expresses a rather feminist view that would dominate the film.
Adam Bonner is not pleased to find out that he is assigned on the case of Doris Attinger as the prosecutor.
He even calls his wife to share this feeling and she is so incensed that she decides to defend the victim of men’s prejudices.
Amanda Bonner makes excellent points and many humorous ones, as she establishes the guilt of the husband.
Walter Attinger, not only neglected his wife, cheated on her, but he has also abused her and used violence.
Adam Bonner is no pushover and in his turn he proves that the wife responded to aggresivity with her own violence.
Laughs can he heard in court when different women are invited, prominent in their domain and they demonstrate that women are equal, if not more to men.
The jury is invited to imagine a different scenario, wherein the two women involved in the case are men.
And Walter Attinger is a woman in this version, and as the actor and actresses are dressed and made up this is again funny.
The comedy is effervescent, the dialogue is sparkling, but the themes proposed are serious and poignant.
Especially in the forties, when the movie was produced and women still had to gain more rights, as they actually do even today.
If we consider Saudi Arabia and other lands with the sharia or other laws that restrict women rights to a bare minimum, the emancipation of women has a long way to go.
Notwithstanding this most important issue in the film, Adam Bonner has his points to make and he is on the right side of the argument.
In spite of everything, her mistreatment by her husband, her equal rights in marriage and in front of the law, Doris Attinger broke the law when she used a gun to get a vigilante payback and tried to revenge herself.
Excellent comedy, with important moral and ethical themes.