7.8/10
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156 user 38 critic

What's Up, Doc? (1972)

G | | Comedy | 10 March 1972 (USA)
The accidental mix-up of four identical plaid overnight bags leads to a series of increasingly wild and wacky situations.

Director:

Peter Bogdanovich

Writers:

Buck Henry (screenplay), David Newman (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbra Streisand ... Judy Maxwell
Ryan O'Neal ... Howard Bannister
Madeline Kahn ... Eunice Burns
Kenneth Mars ... Hugh Simon
Austin Pendleton ... Frederick Larrabee
Michael Murphy ... Mr. Smith
Philip Roth Philip Roth ... Mr. Jones (as Phil Roth)
Sorrell Booke ... Harry
Stefan Gierasch ... Fritz
Mabel Albertson ... Mrs. Van Hoskins
Liam Dunn ... Judge Maxwell
John Hillerman ... Hotel Manager
George Morfogen George Morfogen ... Headwaiter
Graham Jarvis ... Bailiff
Randy Quaid ... Professor Hosquith
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Storyline

Two researchers have come to San Francisco to compete for a research grant in Music. One seems a bit distracted, and that was before he meets her. A strange woman seems to have devoted her life to confusing and embarassing him. At the same time a woman has her jewels stolen and a government whistle blower arrives with his stolen top secret papers. All, of course have the same style and color overnight bag. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A screwball comedy. Remember them?

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 March 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Glimpse of Tiger See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$66,000,000, 31 December 1972
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The book which Eunice is reading in bed and which she subsequently tosses away in disgust is 'The Sensuous Woman' by "J", a best-seller at the time, depicting in very graphic detail various sexual techniques from a woman's viewpoint. See more »

Goofs

Hotel Manager escorts Howard to call an elevator, whereupon fingers are clearly visible sliding said elevator door open, and are visible again upon closing. See more »

Quotes

Eunice: Now, tell me how you are going to introduce yourself.
Howard: What? Oh, well, I'll probably say something like "Hello there, Mr Larrabee. I'm Howard."
Eunice: You are not.
Howard: I am not Howard.
Eunice: You are not going to say "Hi, my name's Howard." Anyone could say that! Anyone.
Howard: Anyone named Howard.
See more »

Connections

References The Caine Mutiny (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

You're the Top
by Cole Porter
Performed by Barbra Streisand (uncredited) and Ryan O'Neal (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Peerless contemporary looney-tune, a self-appointed comic valentine to the 30s served up in expert fashion by Peter Bogdanovich.
2 October 2001 | by gbrumburgh-1See all my reviews

Finally, a zany, riotous slapstick comedy that lives up to what it purports to be...a zany, riotous slapstick comedy! Silly, simple and superficial, with no lowbrow, leering takes or hidden moral messages lurking, `What's Up, Doc?' is pure, unadulterated fun. Bugs Bunny should be proud.

Saluting its classic screwball predecessors, this innocent send-up has all the joy, style and panache one could ask for, hitting its broad targets about 90% of the time. Director Peter Bogdanovich, (who also wrote the story and co-produced) was at his zenith when he made this in 1972. Thirty years later, I've yet to see anything comparable top it.

Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand recycle the wacky `Bringing Up Baby' characters created most famously by Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, then Hollywood's reigning king and queen of elegant farce. The madcap plot and situations may have been altered and updated, and the approach itself may be less than chic, but the results are still the same: non-stop hilarity.

Proving before her she had a nose for comedy (she was a hoot in `The Owl and the Pussycat'), Streisand outdoes herself here. She wisely (and generously) defers to the director and, in return, churns out her most engaging performance yet as a wacky, accident-prone, highly determined gal who creates utter chaos out of confusion while striving to win the guy. She proves once and for all she is a funny, FUNNY girl, her quicksilver timing a joy to behold. And, as a bonus, she sings!

Matching Streisand schtick for schtick, O'Neal is the perfect deadpan foil as the hapless but oh-so-handsome cluck she sets her unyielding sights on. His milquetoast musicologist, who has substituted rocks for brains and is about as exciting as plankton, is wonderfully maudlin -- a textbook performance in sad-sack comedy. Bogdanovich apparently brings out the best in O'Neal (`Paper Moon') who was often vilified for his lack of cinematic presence.

Madeline Kahn, in her film debut, is side-splitting as O'Neal's prodding, adenoidal, anal-retentive fiancee. Stealing scene after scene, she offers the most consistently funny character since Jean Hagen's Lina Lamont in `Singin' in the Rain,' and that's saying something. The late Ms. Kahn a sublime farceur who could probably draw laughs from a well, would never again be put to such good use as she was under the early 70s tutelage of both Bogdanovich and Mel Brooks. And how could a slapstick comedy be complete without the comicbook villainy of snooty Kenneth Mars and Austin Pendleton's inept, rumpled genius?

Be sure also to catch a number of familiar TV faces strewn about in minor roles: Mabel (`Bewitched') Albertson, John (`Magnum P.I.') Hillerman, Sorrell (`Dukes of Hazard') Booke, Graham (`Fame') Jarvis, John (`Soap') Byner, and Randy (`Davis Rules') Quaid. Best of all, however, is diminutive Liam Dunn, hilarious in the climactic courtroom scene, as a cranky, pill-popping judge.

The film receives a tremendous boost from other key creative hands, notably the fast and furious scriptwriter and the colorful production designer. Each help to amplify what's happening onscreen.

In a time of uncertainly and skittishness, `What's Up, Doc' is a refreshing reminder that laughter is still the best medicine. Th...Th...That's all, folks!


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