After months of wanting to see this movie, TCM finally aired it at a timeslot when I wasn't in class or asleep. Yes, last night I finally caught Adam's Rib, and it definitely did not disappoint.
It was included as part of TCM's Leading Couples series, and I could easily see why. It was my first time really seeing Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy together (well, I have seen Pat and Mike but to be honest, I hadn't really been paying attention). The legendary Hepburn-Tracy chemistry is evident throughout the movie, particularly in the massage scene when the mood changes from a light intamacy between husband and wife to a heated argument in an instant. Adam's expression as Amanda begs him to try to understand her point of view is very poignant and reveals a deeper level of their marriage than the audience had seen up to that point. Of course, his gentle and somewhat patronizing attempt to simply start over as if nothing had happened proved that he completely ignored that request, but what would a battle-of-the-sexes plot be without basic misunderstandings on both sides?
One of the things that I enjoyed most about this movie was that I could sympathize with both the man and the woman. On the one hand, Amanda did prove that the court was prejudicial against her client's gender. However, Adam was also right in that no one of any gender has the right to use violence against another person. I almost feel as though Amanda's point would have been strengthened if it had been a man on trial about to get off leniently and she'd had to prove that a woman would have had the proverbial book thrown at her, but in that case the feminist message of the film might have been harder to pull off.
This is definitely a movie I'd watch again. It was an entertaining look at gender roles, both in the legal system and in Adam and Amanda's own marriage. In the case of the latter, I really liked Amanda's ruminations about marriage to Kip, and Adam's willingness to subvert the traditional "macho-man" gender role after all to help him get his own way, just like a stereotypical woman. To quote Adam quoting the French, "Vive la différence!"