When a woman attempts to kill her uncaring husband, prosecutor Adam Bonner gets the case. Unfortunately for him his wife Amanda (who happens to be a lawyer too) decides to defend the woman in court. Amanda uses everything she can to win the case and Adam gets mad about it. As a result, their perfect marriage is disturbed by everyday quarrels...Written by
Chris Makrozahopoulos <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hepburn and Tracy at their best - which is saying a lot
Adam and Amanda Bonner (Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn) are married New York lawyers (prosecuting and defense respectively) who end up opposing each other in an attempted murder case: Doris Attinger (Judy Holliday) attempted to kill her husband (Tom Ewell) and his mistress (Jean Hagen), injuring her husband in the process. Amanda believes there is a double standard in adultery cases like this one where cases are most often dismissed when men do what Doris did.
There are many ways this film seems ahead of its time. The screenplay by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin openly challenges sexist attitudes at a time when, presumably, such attitudes were unquestionably part of the collective DNA. The ridiculous antics of media during the court sequences is also a reflection of what would be to come - or perhaps media circuses were already a sadly regular part of life seven decades ago.
The otherwise sharp script gets too out of hand in scenes where Amanda's courtroom shenanigans are over the top. While she is right to challenge double standards, her stand seems to be that two wrongs make a right. It also seems that the screenplay leans toward this viewpoint which shows weakness.
But director George Cukor keeps things lively with his superb cast especially the two leads who are brilliant individually and as a pair. Hepburn is at her energetic best, firing out words a mile a minute while still being fully articulate. (Many of today's mumbling actors should take note.) And Tracy more than holds his own against the fireball. Even if the story doesn't fully support his character, he makes his point clear and then some.
This is mostly a comedy and a very successful one at that. One of the lighter moments include a dinner party in which the Bonners show a home-movie of their farm home in Connecticut. During this sequence, David Wayne is quite funny as an annoying neighbour who has the hots for Amanda. And Holliday is quite funny during an interview scene with her defense lawyer, Amanda. - dbamateurcritic
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS: Acting by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
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