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Assistant District Attorney Adam Bonner (Spencer Tracy) is in a quandary. He loves his defense attorney wife Amanda (Katharine Hepburn), but is horrified when he realizes he will have to face her in court - on the opposite side. She insists on representing Doris Attinger (Judy Holliday), who is accused of attempting to murder her husband Warren (Tom Ewell) and his mistress Beryl (Jean Hagen). Society's double standards and the letter of the law come into conflict, as does Adam and Amanda, both in and out of court.

Review by Louise Keller:
'I am going to cut you into 12 little pieces and serve you to the jury, so get prepared for it,' Spencer Tracey's Assistant District Attorney Adam Bonner tells his attorney wife Amanda (Katharine Hepburn) just before bed in this delightful battle of the sexes. They have hosted an elegant dinner party at home when Amanda drops the bombshell that she is going to defend the woman her husband is about to prosecute. The Oscar-nominated script is clever and witty, introducing us to the happily married couple at home and then in court (he calls her Pinkie; she calls him Pinky - the distinction being cited in court).

There's something intangible about the successful onscreen relationship that Tracey and Hepburn shared, and in Adam's Rib, the relationship between Adam and Amanda is equally comfortable and playful. 'Hot dog,' Amanda says, when reading the newspaper headline about a woman who attempts to murder her husband. Female equality is the point in question and the final straw comes when Adam makes a flippant comment. The action hots up as husband and wife face each other in court by day, and gets even hotter as they face each other at home by night. 'Save your eloquence for the jury; I want a wife, not a competitor.' Adam retorts to Amanda when the relationship begins to fall apart.

George Cukor directs with a light touch and the film leaps from one priceless moment to the next. All the performances are well judged and I especially like David Wayne's effeminate song-writer Kip, who pens a catchy dedication song 'Farewell Amanda' (written by Cole Porter). Judy Holliday as Doris is also terrific: she was nominated for a Golden Globe. But of course the film belongs to Tracey and Hepburn, who make the battling of wits into an artform and great entertainment besides.

Published May 29, 2008

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(US, 1949)

CAST: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell, David Wayne, Jean Hagen

PRODUCER: Lawrence Weingarten

DIRECTOR: George Cukor

SCRIPT: Ruth Gordon, Garson Kanin


EDITOR: George Boemler

MUSIC: Miklós Rózsa

PRODUCTION DESIGN: William Ferrari, Cedric Gibbons (art direction)

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1:33:1 (original)


DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: April 9, 2008

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