Saturday, September 29, 2012

Arthur 2: On the Rocks

Year 4, Day 273 - 9/29/12 - Movie #1,263

WORLD TOUR Day 27 - New York, NY

BEFORE:  Once again into the breach, dear friends - I guess I've learned that I'm not really a big fan of Dudley Moore, after all.  When I was a kid I saw the abysmal Biblical comedy "Wholly Moses", and that may have colored my perceptions - I mostly avoided his films until this project started, and except for "Crazy People", I haven't really found that any of his movies have appealed to me.

The best thing about "Arthur" to me was probably that Burt Bacharach song sung by Christopher Cross, which was stuck in my head all day.  Linking's a snap tonight since all the leads carry over, which is the best justification I have for watching the sequel - that, and I bought a combo-pack of the two movies last year at the $5 DVD store.

THE PLOT: Arthur loses all his money, and his wife wants a baby.

AFTER:  This is the plotline that really should have been part of the first film - the first film was just 90 minutes long, they could have worked it in.  The repercussions of Arthur leaving Susan at the altar include Susan's father taking over the Bach family company, and cutting Arthur off.  As a result he's forced to leave his mansion and live in stereotypically terrible New York apartments, quit drinking and get a job.

Someone was clearly going for a redemptive storyline - making the audience not hate Arthur by making him one of "us".  And riffing off of a "Trading Places" or "Brewster's Millions" vibe seemed the way to do it.  But the premise at heart makes little sense.  If Arthur's such a drunk, arrogant screw-up, why the heck would Mr. Johnson even WANT him to marry his daughter?  And forcing them together, despite the fact that he doesn't love Susan - isn't that going to make him resentful, which will make him drink more, which will make him a worse husband for her?  And Mr. Johnson can't be doing this to get at the Bach family fortune, since the Johnsons are already rich.  The motivation here seems to be simple revenge, of the most destructive kind, with the expectation of somehow producing a positive result.

Arthur, of course, is motivated by love, as evidenced by the cuteness of he and his wife telling similar jokes and finishing each other's sentences - see, if you're funny when you're drunk, you can also be funny sober.  But the double-reversal also makes little sense, and several narrative threads get dropped along the way.  (plus Susan is now played by a different actress, what's up with THAT?  Jill Eikenberry wasn't available?)

We're supposed to believe in the end that Arthur has matured because he's (relatively) sober, and seems to have learned some valuable lessons.  But what lesson does giving him his fortune BACK teach him?  Wouldn't working for money have taught him even more?  Nope, this was the 80's, the decade of excess and self-indulgence, of Donald Trump and Princess Diana, when we all celebrated rich people. 

Filling John Gielgud's role as Arthur's butler here is Paul Benedict (last seen in "The Front Page"), who is perhaps most famous for playing a wacky neighbor, Bentley, on the TV show "The Jeffersons".  He also made appearances on "Sesame Street" as The Mad Painter - a guy who would walk around town painting, say, the number 5 on things, so that the kids at home would learn the number.  The segments were a throwback to the days of silent comedy, since the Painter never spoke.  Looking back on it, watching him on both shows as a kid might have been the first time that I realized that an actor could be on two shows, which led to the awareness that what I saw on TV was fiction, merely people pretending to be.  It also might have been the first time I said, "Hey, it's THAT guy!" while watching TV.

Nowadays, a lot of big stars do appearances on "The Street", but back then it was a lot less common.  I guess they didn't want to sully the purity of the Muppet reality with a lot of Hollywood cameos.  You might have noticed the voice of Joan Rivers or Mel Brooks in an animated segment, if you were a really hip kid into voice-overs, but more likely since you were 3 or 4 years old, you didn't recognize them. 

The redemptive storyline is a slight improvement, but the Chris DeBurgh song is no replacement for the original theme, so the score tonight is a wash. 

Starring Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Barney Martin (all carrying over), Kathy Bates (last heard in "Bee Movie"), Cynthia Sikes, with a cameo from Jack Gilford (last seen in "Cocoon: The Return")

RATING: 4 out of 10 stuffed animals

Friday, September 28, 2012

Arthur (1981)

Year 4, Day 272 - 9/28/12 - Movie #1,262

WORLD TOUR Day 26 - New York, NY

BEFORE: You may be wondering why I picked the films that I did to represent New York - well, I already did a New York-themed chain back in 2009, which included "Wall Street", "City Hall", "The Pope of Greenwich Village", "Harlem Nights", "Gangs of New York", and "Bright Lights, Big City", and a few others.  The films this week are sort of the NYC-centric films that have entered the list since then, and which I've otherwise avoided up until now.  I'm sure I still must have left some off, but what can I do?  At least this one has that great Oscar-winning theme song about New York City.

Linking from "Changing Lanes", character actors save me once again, as Ben Affleck was also in "Daredevil" with Mark Margolis, who appears in "Arthur" as a wedding guest.

THE PLOT:  Arthur is a happy drunk and also the heir to a vast fortune which he is told will only be his if he marries Susan.  Arthur proposes but then meets a girl with no money who he could easily fall in love with.

AFTER:  Well, I went from a movie with two characters acting like spoiled children to one where the main character never grew up.  From a character who attends A.A. meetings to one who probably should.

The other day I used a common expression in the office, saying that someone's "elevator didn't reach the top floor".  (I could have said "wasn't playing with a full deck" or "was a few sandwiches shy of a picnic lunch", but I went with that)  Several co-workers younger than me apparently hadn't heard that metaphor before, so it was regarded as clever and innovative, but I said it thinking it was common and overused.  You can't always tell what people will regard as clever.

That said, I didn't really get why people have raved about this movie - all of the bits where Arthur was stumbling drunk or being disruptive in a public place, I just didn't find that to be clever.  Driving his car while intoxicated?  I sure didn't see the humor in that.  Worse, he laughed at all of his own jokes or said "That's FUNNY!" after each one.  I've found that the more a person says how funny their own statements are, the less that turns out to be the case.  I don't know if just saying something's funny makes me feel it's not funny, or whether it demonstrates that the speaker knows it's not funny and is trying to cover that fact up, but either way, it doesn't work for me.

What am I supposed to admire about Arthur?  The fact that he's super-rich and still aimless?  That he doesn't have a solid direction in his life, other than what people suggest for him?  OK, so he's capable of falling in love - so are a lot of people.  And not for nothing, but since he tends to pick up street hookers when he's drunk, proving that he doesn't act responsibly, maybe he should sober up before proposing, I'm just sayin'.

New York is a great drinking town, with tons of bars, delis and liquor stores - then there are social events where alcohol is served, and on top of that you've got your beer festivals and special tasting events.  And the subway and cabs are always there to get you home safely.  I've been known to imbibe a bit too much at beer gatherings, but then I go home and I go to sleep, preferably in that order.  I don't drive around, I don't pick up hookers, I don't crash other public events while blitzed.  OK, I've eaten in a couple of diners to sober up a bit, but I'd like to think I didn't cause trouble while doing so.

So, I didn't really get what makes Arthur a "lovable" drunk, or endearing at all for that matter. 

Still, some solid NYC scenery tonight, from the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel to Bergdorf-Goodman's mens department, a church on Park Avenue and the Carnegie Hill mansion on 91st St.   The other mansions were filmed out on Long Island, in Manhasset and Glen Cove.

Starring Dudley Moore (last seen in "Bedazzled"), Liza Minnelli (last seen in "New York, New York"), John Gielgud (last seen in "Elizabeth"), Jill Eikenberry (last seen in "Butch and Sundance: The Early Days"), Barney Martin, with cameos from Paul Gleason, Lou Jacobi (last seen in "Avalon").

RATING:  4 out of 10 martinis

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Changing Lanes

Year 4, Day 271 - 9/27/12 - Movie #1,261

WORLD TOUR Day 25 - New York, NY

BEFORE: My tour of New York City is half over, and coming out of the tunnel, we logically end up on one of its many highways.  Linking from "Daylight", I'm quite shocked to learn that Dan Hedaya and Richard Jenkins, two of my go-to connector actors, have never been in the same film.  Hunh.  No worries, Dan Hedaya was also in "Shaft" with Samuel L. Jackson (last seen in "The Avengers"), another well-connected man.

THE PLOT: The story of what happens one day in New York when a young lawyer and a businessman share a small automobile accident on F.D.R. Drive and their mutual road rage escalates into a feud.

AFTER:  New Yorkers get a bad rap, when it comes to matters of driving courtesy and manners in general.  If you ask around, take a survey of people and ask them which city has the rudest drivers, the most common answer you get is equivalent to "this one."  Every city's residents believe that their drivers are the worst, so what does that tell us?  (Seriously, what does that tell us?  Seems like an inconclusive result to me.)

I came to New York to attend college when I was 17, and then I stuck around (Yeah, there was this girl - but that's not important now.)  Had I been inclined to leave the city, I don't know where else I'd go, I didn't have another plan in place, no ambition to head out and make the most of whatever L.A. or Chicago or (shudder) Boise had to offer.  I infiltrated the enemy camp, and ended up fighting on their side.  I came to see the circus, and I took a job in the sideshow.

What I've learned from my years observing the New Yorkers is that they operate by a certain set of rules, which have been put in place for their own benefit/survival.  The problem is, nobody TELLS you the rules, and they have an annoying tendency to vary, from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even from person to person.  Some are very simple - don't carry a map and look like a tourist, don't walk through bad neighborhoods after dark, don't carry your money in your back pocket.  To that list I like to add: don't preach religion to me loudly on the subway platform, don't cough or sneeze on your hand and put it RIGHT BACK on the subway pole, and above all, don't be walking all slow in front of me, weaving back and forth on the sidewalk when I am TRYING TO GET SOMEWHERE.

See? I've become one of them.  Go on, save yourself, it's too late for me now.  If I try to live somewhere else, I'll never make it through the day, knowing that the world's best pastrami sandwich or matzoh ball soup is NOT just a short subway ride away.  Other cities have pizza, other cities have bagels, but come on, it's just not the same.  As Woody Allen said about New York, "I need to know I can get Chinese food at 3 am - I never get it, but I need to know it's there."

What's that you say?  Tonight's movie?  Right, right.  Like last night's film, it starts with a series of contrivances, kicked off with a traffic accident.  We all "know" what you're supposed to do when you're in a traffic accident - get out of your car (assuming it's safe to do so), make contact with the other driver (even though he's a complete MORON, obviously), and calmly exchange contact information and insurance paperwork.  That's one school of thought.  In New York City, you're just as likely to encounter somebody who wants to settle it with fisticuffs, or perhaps someone who'll throw you a wad of cash because no one needs to make the insurance companies any richer, or even someone who'll inform you that he was "never there", and if you know what's good for you, "you didn't see nuttin".

The film is a primer on what can happen when characters representing the two schools of thought clash - the honest insurance salesman who wants to do thing the "right" way, and the shady lawyer who's late for court and just wants to write out a blank check and be done with it.  But the two men unknowingly have interrupted each other's lives, and their accident has implications beyond the damage to the cars.  They each come to regard the other as the thing that's standing in their way, the thing that's holding them back from some measure of success.

What follows is a game of one-upsmanship that didn't need to happen, the characters are given several opportunities to be the bigger man, to return the property the other one needs, to not seek revenge.  But why be nice when you can destroy another person's life?  It would be SO easy for the movie to devolve into a live-action version of Bugs Bunny vs. Elmer Fudd, and it almost does.

But that's when reflection at last takes over, and the serenity prayer is spoken, and another meaning is given to the film's title.  Without getting mushy here, each of the two lead characters eventually realizes that he is at least partially to blame for his situation, and it's not going to improve unless HE improves.  Time to get out of the rut, the downward spiral, to get off the crazy merry-go-round that has no end.  Petty vengeance didn't get them anywhere, and bigger vengeance didn't help either, so it's time to change lanes and try something else.

Also starring Ben Affleck (last seen in "Forces of Nature"), Toni Collette (last seen in "The Hours"), with cameos from William Hurt (last seen in "Robin Hood"), Sydney Pollack (last seen in "Michael Clayton"), Richard Jenkins (last seen in "Friends With Benefits"), Amanda Peet (last seen in "Gulliver's Travels"), Matt Malloy, Bruce Altman, Dylan Baker (last seen in "Secretariat").

RATING: 7 out of 10 A.A. meetings

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Year 4, Day 270 - 9/26/12 - Movie #1,260

WORLD TOUR Day 24 - New York, NY

BEFORE:  Headed back from Brooklyn into Manhattan - but the bridges are busy this time of day, so we should take the tunnel.  Gee, I hope nothing goes wrong...

Linking from "Brighton Beach Memoirs", Judith Ivey was also in a film called "A Life Less Ordinary" with Dan Hedaya (last seen in "Searching for Bobby Fischer").  Thanks go out to the Oracle of Bacon for that one. 

THE PLOT: Disaster in a New York tunnel as explosions collapse both ends of it. One hero tries to help the people inside find their way to safety.

AFTER:  OK, so technically the tunnel is not named, but from the visual cues of the surrounding area, it's got to be the Holland Tunnel.  I'll adjust the mileage counter accordingly.  My dad always used to point out locations in films that he recognized, mostly things shot in the Boston area, and now I get to do the same thing with films shot in New York.  (and Boston, San Diego, San Francisco)

The first half of this film is utterly ridiculous, as we see a number of different people's narrative threads going essentially nowhere, except that these people from different social classes represent the people who are later going to be traveling through the tunnel at the worst possible time.  The accident that occurs is so bizarre that I can barely stand to repeat it.  Why did it have to be THAT exact combination of jewel thieves and toxic waste?  Does toxic waste even explode?  Did someone even think to check that factoid?

It turns out that the only man who remembers the proper training, having run a simulation on how to handle a tunnel explosion, was removed from duty months prior, and is now driving a cab.  But his cab just happens to be JUST outside the tunnel when disaster strikes - how's that for coincidence.  BUT, no one will listen to him, despite the fact that he's the only one with the knowledge to keep the situation from getting worse.  Maybe they just won't listen to him because he's played by Sylvester Stallone.

Let me repeat that - Sylvester Stallone plays the only man with the intelligence to contain the explosion.  Thousands of trained emergency professionals, and it comes down to him.  The problem, however, seems to be that all of his solutions involve blowing stuff up.  The tunnel's on fire?  Well, we'll just have to blow it up!  Your leg is stuck in a pipe?  Well, we'll just have to blow it up!

Then there's a lot of arguing, over what to do, what not to do, with people all talking at once.  Maybe that's the way people in a panic situation talk, but a movie needs to have clear dialogue.  Some of the dialogue that did cut through the chatter was blatantly ridiculous, though - "We have to make a short swim under water."  As opposed to what, swimming through the air?  Through pudding? 

The second half of the film got better, since it was more action-packed.  But this was still too reminiscent of "The Poseidon Adventure", minus the ocean liner, plus the Holland Tunnel.  The concept is the same - a small group of survivors has to keep moving and overcome obstacles, heading for a rescue that they're not sure is coming. 

The last shot in the film is of the World Trade Center, which was a solid editing choice then, but now it's an eerie precursor of events in the real world just 5 years later.  It's almost saying, "Sure, our tunnels may collapse, but our buildings will always stand!"  If only.

Also starring Amy Brenneman (last seen in "Heat"), Viggo Mortensen (last seen in "The Road"), Jay O. Sanders (last seen in "Green Lantern"), Karen Young (could've sworn it was Melanie Mayron, but it wasn't), Stan Shaw (last seen in "Cutthroat Island"), Vanessa Bell Callaway.

DISTANCE TRAVELED TODAY:  12 miles / 19 km  (Brighton Beach, Brooklyn to the Holland Tunnel in Manhattan)

DISTANCE TRAVELED SO FAR:   5,796 miles / 9,330 km

RATING:  5 out of 10 giant fans (this is an aggregate score tonight, since the first half of the film is like a 3, and the 2nd half about a 7)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Brighton Beach Memoirs

Year 4, Day 269 - 9/25/12 - Movie #1,259

WORLD TOUR Day 23 - Brooklyn, NY

BEFORE: It's autumn in New York, which is a fine time to visit.  But it also means I've got my first head cold of the season, right on schedule.  I took the day off and tried to sleep most of the day, which of course further screws up my already screwed-up sleeping schedule.  Tonight's film represents a side-trip out to the far side of Brooklyn, which will at least add a little mileage to my counter.  I couldn't find a way to put both films that were adapted from Neil Simon plays together, but at least one got scheduled for the day after Rosh Hashanah, and the other one plays tonight, on Yom Kippur.  A deli sandwich and some matzoh ball soup for me, please.

Tonight TCM is playing films like "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and "The Lords of Flatbush", so great minds think alike, and we're finally in the same place at the same time.  Well, in time I'm still in the 1930's, and I think I've spent the last 10 days in the 1930's and 1940's, with films either made or taking place in those decades.  Linking actors is tough tonight, but Katherine Hepburn was also in "Love Affair" with Harold Ramis, who was also in "The Last Kiss" with Blythe Danner (last seen in "Paul").

THE PLOT: Eugene, a young teenage Jewish boy, recalls his memoirs of his time as an adolescent youth. He lives with his parents, his aunt, two cousins, and his brother, Stanley.

AFTER: Maybe it's the cold medicine affecting me, but I didn't really glom on to this one.  I don't know why, it's not that the experiences of the people in the film are that different than mine - I could watch "Biloxi Blues" and understand the experiences even though I've never been in the army.  Maybe it's the way that the ethnicity of the family here was so punched up.  It's similar to "Avalon", I suppose, except these people act more stereotypically Jewish.

I guess everyone romanticizes their childhood, even if they had to make a lot of trips to the market, since there was no supermarket.  And people had no way to get in touch with someone if they stayed out all night.  And teen boys had to wonder what naked ladies looked like, since there was no "Playboy" magazine yet, and no internet.  

But it's really about a family trying to stay together while they're at risk of fracturing, they all get on each other's nerves, plus there's the threat of World War II looming, so they're worried about their family members in Europe.  The themes are universal, teens growing up and getting jobs, wondering about their future lives, and as is typical for a Neil Simon story, one just can't wait until he's a writer and can pen a play about his crazy family.  (How many times did he go back to THAT well?)

I'm too tired to really analyze this one tonight, or find some way to connect it to my own childhood...

Also starring Jonathan Silverman (last seen in "Class Action"), Bill Dishy, Judith Ivey (last seen in "Flags of Our Fathers"), Brian Drillinger, Lisa Waltz, with cameos from David Margulies, Fyvush Finkel (last seen in "Nixon"), and Jason Alexander (last seen in "The Last Supper").

DISTANCE TRAVELED TODAY:  11 miles / 18 km  (New York, NY to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn)

DISTANCE TRAVELED SO FAR:   5,784 miles / 9,311 km

RATING: 5 out of 10 dance lessons

Monday, September 24, 2012

Woman of the Year

Year 4, Day 268 - 9/24/12 - Movie #1,258

WORLD TOUR Day 22 - New York, NY

BEFORE: Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy carry over - they made 9 films together, after all, and this is the 5th in my project, but I think I've seen the best of them, the other 4 don't seem to have the same recognition. Tonight I'm back to reporters - Chicago's a great city for newspaper reporters, but so is New York.

THE PLOT: Rival reporters Sam and Tess fall in love and get married, only to find their relationship strained when Sam comes to resent Tess' hectic lifestyle.

AFTER: I'm willing to concede it, Hepburn and Tracy made for a cute couple, and I think this film shows it off best.  Certainly better than "Adam's Rib" did, or even "Desk Set".  They're cute when they're falling for each other, they're cute when they're cooking for each other, heck, they're even cute when they're fighting and dividing up their property.  My problem with some of their other films was sort of a relationship shorthand, since the audience knew they were a couple in real life, it was pretty much a certainty that they'd end up together in the movie.  Since this was their first film together, there are no shortcuts here - so the film (rightfully) has to detail all of the steps in the forming of the characters' relationship.

There are no third parties involved here, unlike "Adam's Rib" or "Desk Set" - no love triangles or quadrangles - but the relationship is complicated enough without that.  Since he's a sportswriter and she's a columnist (who also devotes her time to society parties and charitable causes), they both travel a lot.  The courtship is so quick they don't have time to think about where they're going to live after they get married, so they sort of maintain separate apartments for a while.  There are also some major communication issues between them - neither is very upfront about what kind of relationship they want to have, so they try to maintain the lifestyles they had before, and sort of wing the rest.

I'm sure there are plenty of career-oriented people, even today, who can't or won't adjust to a married lifestyle.  (ASIDE:  If the institution of marriage is so outdated, why were all those gay people fighting for it?)  I think we've been sold this American Dream that's something of a fallacy, which says that we can, and should, all have career, marriage and raising kids on our agendas.  But honestly, I don't know how anyone manages to tackle all three simultaneously.  I think many people settle for two out of the three - couples where both partners have busy careers could hire a nanny, for example, so that's one way around the impossible balancing act. 

Hepburn's character's solution to "having it all" involves an attempt at adoption, something that's become a trend among high-profile actors and actresses, who either can't take the time out from their career to be pregnant, or are worried about the effect it will have on their body.  Taken this way, the selfless act of adoption also seems rather self-serving.  She also has a maid, but the best gags in the film come near the end, when she tries to make breakfast and coffee by herself, dressed in a full mink coat.  She doesn't even know how to light the stove, and things just get worse, and funnier, from there.  You probably see Spencer Tracy's characters cooking in films a lot more than Hepburn's did.

Of course, in the 1940's, women were all expected to know how to cook - but that doesn't mean they all did.  My dad was trained as a baker, and was an Army cook as well, but once he got married (early 1960's) he expected my mother to learn how to cook for him.  Outside of the occasional "Pizza Night", he never cooked at home - still doesn't.  But it's all about two people finding an arrangement that works for them.  After college, I asked my Mom to write out all her recipes for me, so as a result I do more of the cooking at home (though usually it's just heating frozen foods, I am capable of more).  But after a few incidents, I'm not allowed to make coffee.

Anyway, the film - I found there were quite a few narrative threads that this film generated that it just never followed up on.  What happened to the German scientist?  The little Greek refugee boy?  How'd that whole World War 2 thing turn out, anyway?  I'd think that the marital problems of two reporters might not amount to a hill of beans when compared with the problems of the world, but I guess I'd be wrong. 

Also starring Fay Bainter, Reginald Owen, Minor Watson, William Bendix.

RATING: 5 out of 10 boxing stories

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adam's Rib

Year 4, Day 267 - 9/23/12 - Movie #1,257

WORLD TOUR Day 21 - New York, NY

BEFORE:  Another legal film, but I think this is the last one.  I didn't include "Inherit the Wind", because I'm fairly sure I've seen it before (maybe I'll watch it over the holiday break, just as a refresher) and I didn't include "Witness for the Prosecution", because I don't have a copy.  Anyway, a change in venue brings me to New York City, which means I've made it all the way across the U.S.  But since so many movies are set here, and because it's my adopted home, I'll be here for about a week, hopefully the movies I've picked will represent the city well, and I'll take the tour global on October 1.

Linking's pretty simple tonight, Jimmy Stewart to Katherine Hepburn (last seen in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner") via "The Philadelphia Story".

THE PLOT: Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.

AFTER: This is sort of the flip-side to last night's film, which featured a man who shot the man who'd raped his wife, and tonight a woman is on trial for shooting her husband, who'd been having an affair.  But what this is really about is the cause of equal rights, treating both sexes the same in the eye of the law.

Hepburn's character points out the double standards of the day (1949), saying that if a man had an affair, he was merely "sowing his wild oats".  It wasn't exactly overlooked, but neither was it treated as a scandal in the way that a woman's affair would be.  A man's reputation would probably survive a public affair, but a woman's might not.  The shooting victim in this film felt no need to return home to his wife each night, and seemed to prefer the company of his girlfriend, and moreover, felt no remorse in doing so.

Also like last night's film, there's no question about who committed the crime, merely questions about the state of mind of the shooter, and whether there was just cause for committing the act.  While one lawyer sees an open-and-shut case, the other sees a woman who was in a blind panic, concerned not only for her marriage but also the welfare of her children.

The conflict here spills over from the courtroom into the lives of the opposing counsel, who are married to each other.  I don't know, it seems like there should be some rule that prevents this - yeah, maybe they just both agree to not discuss the case while they're at home.  But one or the other could have asked to bow out, they're both just too sure of their causes to do so.   Perhaps they each are the best choice of lawyer for their clients, but if one of them asked to be taken off the case, at least it wouldn't have gotten so personal.

So it's a strain on their marriage, one wins the case, but at what cost?  There's a third side to the love triangle as the sarcastic songwriter neighbor (so obviously gay by today's standards, but you couldn't say that sort of thing back then) seems to have an interest in Hepburn's character, and moves in when the couple's going through a rough patch.  What to make of this?  Well, she's also his lawyer for songwriting contracts, so perhaps he was just interested in marrying in to some free legal work, or maybe he wasn't fully aware of his nature.  Maybe he was looking for a relationship that would act as a cover for his proclivities.  Everyone sure seemed to be aware of who he really was, Hepburn's character never considered him a viable suitor for a moment.

It's an engaging enough farce, but the movie's poster claims "it's the hilarious answer to who wears the pants", but I'm not sure it answers anything.  Treating the sexes as equal is a noble cause, but it takes time to catch on.  Most people were like the secretary character, who didn't realize they had the power to change society, just by virtue of being part of society.  This concept can be extended to today's equal rights issues, such as gay marriage.  But already some states that granted it have repealed it, so again, it takes a generation or so to make a change stick.

NITPICK POINT: Hepburn's character calls about 30 female witnesses to prove the equality between the sexes.  But no judge in his right mind would allow this, in my opinion, since this was not the central issue to the case at hand.  It was in her mind, but that doesn't make it directly relevant from where the judge sits.  Society itself was not on trial here.

NITPICK POINT #2: Lamb curry takes time to cook (I'm assuming...) but someone in this film slaps it together in just a few minutes.  Yum, raw lamb!

Also starring Spencer Tracy (also last seen in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"), Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell (last seen in "The Seven Year Itch"), David Wayne (last seen in "The Front Page"), Will Wright (last seen in the original "All the King's Men") with cameos from Tommy Noonan (last seen in "A Star Is Born"), and Marvin Kaplan (later known for a lot of animation voice work, and for playing Henry the mailman on the TV show "Alice")

DISTANCE TRAVELED TODAY:  778 miles / 1,253 km  (Marquette, MI to New York, NY)

DISTANCE TRAVELED SO FAR:  5,773 miles / 9,293 km

RATING: 5 out of 10 home movies