Sunday, March 15, 2009

What's Up, Doc? (1972)

What's Up Doc? (1972)

This is one of my all time, absolute, compared to none, fav-or-ite movie. It is A Numbero Uno with me.

"What's Up Doc?" was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and written by Buck Henry. They made a good team, at least in the movie world, that is.

Barbra Streisand plays the lead role of Judy Maxwell. There's a twist at the end that is just a riot.

Ryan O'Neal plays the male lead role of Dr. Howard Bannister. He made an excellent Straight Man.

It has many big name stars one of which was the then unknown Madeline Kuhn in her first starring role as Eunice Burns. Gosh, she was funny in this movie. Poor thing died of cancer in December 3rd, 1999. I miss her comedy.

If you haven't seen the movie, this is the synopsis according to Wikipedia:

What's Up, Doc? is a screwball comedy from 1972. It was intended to pay homage to comparable motion pictures of the 1930s, such as "Bringing Up Baby" (released by RKO Pictures), as well as the Bugs Bunny cartoons — which, like this film, were made by Warner Bros. Pictures.

The story, which takes place in San Francisco, centers on four identical plaid overnight bags and the people who own them.

One of the bags belongs to Howard Bannister, Ph.D. (played by O'Neal), and is filled with igneous "tambula" rocks that have certain musical properties. Bannister, a musicologist from the Iowa Conservatory of Music, and his tightly-wound, overbearing fiancée, Eunice Burns (Madeline Kahn), have come to San Francisco from Iowa in the hope of winning a grant funded by Frederick Larrabee (Austin Pendleton). Howard has a theory about how ancient man may have used rocks to create music. Howard's rival for the grant is the ethically-challenged, dubiously-accented Hugh Simon (Kenneth Mars), who apparently is from Yugoslavia (Croatia) but seems to be doing work in Western Europe.

The second bag belongs to Judy Maxwell (Streisand), and is filled with her clothes, and, interestingly enough, a large dictionary. No matter where Judy goes, trouble happens, from car crashes to spontaneous combustion of hotel rooms. She never finished college, but nevertheless has amassed a considerable amount of knowledge from all of the courses she took at the many institutions of higher learning from which she was expelled.

The third bag belongs to Mrs. Van Hoskins (Mabel Albertson), a rich woman who is using it to store her valuable jewels.

The fourth and last overnight bag belongs to the mysterious "Mr. Smith" (Michael Murphy) and contains top-secret government papers. There is at least some indication that he has them illegally and wishes to make them public. The equally mysterious "Mr. Jones" (Philip Roth) identifies himself as a being from the government, and is on a mission to recover the documents.

Howard, Eunice, Mrs. Van Hoskins, and Mr. Smith all happen to check into the Hotel Bristol at the same time, whereupon Judy lodges herself there without paying and begins pursuing Howard (to his bewilderment), two hotel employees (Sorrell Booke and Stefan Gierasch) attempt to steal the jewels belonging to Mrs. Van Hoskins, and Mr. Jones attempts to get the bag belonging to Mr. Smith. Over the course of the evening, the bags get switched willy-nilly from room to room as the four parties unwittingly take one another's suitcases. Howard ends up with the jewels, Judy with the documents, Mr. Smith with the clothes, and the thieves end up with the rocks. Few people ever actually open the bags to confirm that what they think they have is what they actually possess. Meanwhile, Judy manages both to secure the grant for Howard while masquerading as Eunice and to destroy his hotel room. The following day, everyone makes their way to Mr. Larrabee's home where a shooting ensues, Howard and Judy take all the bags and are chased up and down the hills of San Francisco on a delivery bike and a Volkswagon Beetle (after they crash the bike into a costume shop) by the thieves, Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones, Eunice, Simon, Larabee and a few roped-in bystanders. They go through Chinatown, down Lombard Street, and eventually into San Francisco Bay. All the protagonists finally end up in court, under the gavel of a world-weary and curmudgeonly judge (Liam Dunn) who, improbably, turns out to be Judy's father.

WARNING: Below is the Spoiler!.
In the end, everything is cleared up, Mrs. Van Hoskins pays the considerable damages in Howard's name with the reward money he would have received for the return of her jewels, the hotel thieves are forced to flee the country and the papers are put back in the hands of the government (though perhaps not for long...). More importantly, Judy exposes Simon as a fraud and plagiarist, Eunice leaves Howard for Larabee and Judy announces she is taking one more pass at college — studying Music History at the Iowa Conservatory of Music. The film ends a suitably romantic (and silly) note as Howard and Judy share an airborne kiss while their in-flight movie shows the Bugs Bunny cartoon that gave the film its name.


I love this movie and never tire of watching it. I'm not a 'fan' of Barbara Streisand as I don't like her as a person nor her politics. (This was made back before she was so nutty.) But whenever I need a Pick Me Up, I pop in the DVD and it's instant joy. I hope you enjoy it too.

Have a great Sunday y'all!

♥ ∞


Lanny said...

Okay truth be told my hairstyle was effected by Hollywood but an older set than myself, This movie and a few others caused many a morning ironing my hair. Mom couldn't quite understand because she thought my hair quite straight enought thank you. (She struggled with trying to keep a curl in my hair)

I really liked Streisand's movies and music. My dad had her Christmas albums. I wonder when and why we gave entertainers such clout with the other areas of life. I understand perhaps the playwrite who feels he needs to tell the world his opinion through his art. But actors, actresses?

Anonymous said...

I liked this movie a lot - thanks for the memory today.

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

Hi Lanny ~ In my 20's & 30's I let actresses determine my hairstyle too. I've had the obligatory Farrah Fawcett style, the Carol Chaning look, etc. Now, I just have my own style. :o) I enjoy BS's music too. She did have a lovely voice. But I wish people would stop looking to the Hollywood misfits and weirdos for answers to their lives.

Hi Mildred ~ I knew you have good taste in movies. :o) This comedy, to me, is a classic. ♥ ∞

Janeen said...

I think I've only seen bits and pieces of this movie. I'll have to rent it again! Yea, thanks to you my friend, my Netflix queue will never be empty! ha ha

Well I'm off to start working on the 100 hair pins for my up-do today.

Janeen said...

By the way, how do people do those link to your posts at the bottom. I clicked on it and it has your post title info there? I don't get it?

Linda said...

I remember that movie. And yes, I use to allow the movies to determine my hairstyle too. Thank goodness, that being nearly 42, I will no longer do that, LOLOL.

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

Hi Janeen ~ I recommend renting the movie and watching it uncut and uninterrupted. It's a Laugh Riot, honest! And I gotta see your hair with all those Bobby Pins.

I am trying to learn how to do the Link To My Thought too. I did one at another blog and it posted on my blog! Is that what happened to you? I thought I'd messed up, deleted it and backed away from it. Does anybody know how to do these Link Backs please? Janeen and I want to learn this. :o) Thanks!

Hi Linda ~ I hope your day is better & a little brigher today. We've all be so worried about y'all.
Yeah, isn't it nice being over 40 'cause we don't give a Rats Hinny anymore what's "in"! (ha ha) We just be ourselves. :o) ♥ ∞