Saturday, March 10, 2012

40 years of "What's Up, Doc?"

Today is the 40th Anniversary of one of the greatest screwball comedies of all time, as well as one of my favorite movies of all time!

My friend Bill B. first introduced me to "What's Up, Doc?" which stars Barbra Streisand as Judy Maxwell, a career klutz who falls for mild-mannered Howard Banister (Ryan O'Neal) during a trip to San Francisco and a musicologist convention. All set against a case of mistaken identity involving several red plaid suitcases that a few questionable parties want to get their hands on no matter what.

This would be Madeline Kahn's first feature length screen appearance and she practically steals the movie as Eunice Burns, Howard's fiance and ever-controlling woman in his life who Judy wants to unseat. Judy goes so far as to impersonate Eunice at a dinner and comedic genius ensues. Kahn was nominated for a Golden Globe the following year for her role.

Peter Bogdanovich, who the following year directed "Paper Moon" also with Ryan O'Neal, was a major force in Hollywood at the having just come off the success of "The Last Picture Show". Bringing his love for slapstick comedies like "Bringing Up Baby", Bogdanovich crafted the perfect vehicle for Streisand and O'Neal, not to mention the likes of Kenneth Mars as the crazy Croatian musicologist Hugh Simon (one of my favorite characters in the film) and Austin Pendleton as Mr. Larrabee ("FREDERICK!"). Trivia note: "What's Up, Doc?" became the third highest grossing movie of 1972 right below "The Godfather" and "The Poseidon Adventure".

Today is the anniversary but this Monday night will be the actual anniversary screening in The 10th Box. Carrots, naturally, will be the concession stand special.


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