Genre Grandeur – What’s Up Doc? (1972) – Michael Eddy


For this month’s first review for Genre Grandeur – Screwball Comedy Films, here’s a review of What’s Up Doc? (1972) by Michael Eddy

Thanks again to Steve of The Movie Movie Blog Blog for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Darren of Movie Reviews 101 and it is Zombie Films

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Oct by sending them to zombiedarren@movierob.net

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Darren!

Let’s see what Michael thought of this movie:

______________________________________

This one is a gem. So much going on. A crazy convoluted story (loosely based on another vintage “screwball comedy” – “Bringing Up Baby” by Howard Hawks, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant), this time around – it is directed by Peter Bogdanovich (at the TOP of his early career) and starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal and a bevy of scene stealing supporting players (amongst them Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Austin Pendleton, Randy Quaid and John Hillerman).

 

O’Neal plays a music professor with musical rocks who attends a conference with his fiancee (Kahn) – playing against type (and very Cary Grant-ish) as a clueless man immediately smitten with the dervish La Streisand after a chance meeting where she won’t take no for an answer, won’t stop talking and plays the wily spider to his unsuspecting fly. The wild and wacky screenplay (based on a story by Bogdonovich) is by Buck Henry (The Graduate) and the team of Robert Benton and David Newman (“Bonnie & Clyde” amongst others) – and involves the mix up of 4 identical plaid overnight bags – each containing an item or items belonging to someone who can ill afford to have it out of their sight for long.

 

The dialogue crackles, as Streisand goes a mile a minute – refusing to be upstaged by some of the best character actors in the game – O’Neal’s naivete – and some of the best comic set pieces ever set to film – amongst them – a wild shootout in an art gallery – and one of the GREAT chase scenes in movie history (dramatic OR comedic) on the streets of San Francisco – down the classic Lombard Street – and featuring cars (note the Volkswagon – almost a TV commercial for the car), delivery trucks, a pane of glass, a delivery bicycle with no brakes and a Chinese Dragon. Beautifully and hysterically staged.

 

The courtroom scene is funny near the end but slows things down a bit due to a lot of exposition delivered to the bewildered judge (a very funny and flummoxed Liam Dunn), but has a great save near the end – and the final scene is an immediate iconic moment for a line delivered by Streisand to O’Neal – which works for who HE is and NOT the character he’s playing. Their chemistry is palpable throughout.

 

I played this one some time ago for my children – who loved it. It is a whole lotta fun.

2 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – What’s Up Doc? (1972) – Michael Eddy

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur September Finale – The Palm Beach Story (1942) – Movie Movie Blog Blog |

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