Saturday, July 30, 2011

What's Up Doc? A Celebration Of my favorite Peter Bogdanovich movie

Do you know the meaning of the word propriety?

Happy Saturday!!
I would like to celebrate a birthday today...not mine...one of a man who added to my teen years, Peter Bogdanovich in the 70s!



One of my all time favorite movies is WHAT'S UP DOC? written by Buck Henry, David Newman and Robert Benton and directed by Peter Bogdanovich in 1972. I was 11 years old when that film opened and I thought it was one of the funniest movies I had ever seen. I was already in love with Barbra Streisand!

The year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. Within the context of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) it was the longest year ever, as two leap seconds were added during this 366-day year, an event which has not since been repeated.
It was on this date in 1972, that Jane Fonda was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.
She has since apologized.



Hugh: I find that as difficult to swallow as this potage au gelee.
Judy: How would you like to swallow one sandwich d'knuckles?

What's Up, Doc? is a 1972 screwball comedy film released by Warner Bros., directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, and Madeline Kahn (in her first full-length film role, which was also her first Golden Globe-nominated role). It was intended to pay homage to comedy films of the 1930s, especially Bringing Up Baby,as well as old Bugs Bunny cartoons (another WB product).




Judy: You don't wanna marry someone who's gonna get all wrinkled, lined and flabby!
Howard: Everyone gets wrinkled, lined and flabby!
Judy: By next week?



The film was a success, and became the third-highest grossing film of 1972. The film won the Writers Guild of America 1973 "Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen" award for writers Buck Henry, David Newman and Robert Benton. It was placed at number 61 on the list of 100 greatest comedies published by the American Film Institute, and at number 68 on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions.

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 Ryan 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 (Barbra 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.

Howard: What am I gonna tell Eunice?
Judy: That's the easy part. You go up to her room. She answers the door; now she will have been crying so her eyes will be all bloodshot and her nose will be all red and runny, but you look past all that. You stare purposefully into those red-rimmed, swollen eyes, and you say, "Eunice, my dear, there's been a terrible mistake. I've behaved like a cad, a bounder! But now I see everything clearly and I've decided that Judy and I are gonna put you into a home."
Howard: That is not funny!

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

he 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 Brooks and Stefan Gierasch) attempt to steal the jewels belonging to Mrs. Van Hoskins, while Mr. Jones attempts to get the bag belonging to Mr. Smith. Over the course of the evening, the bags get switched haphazardly 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 Volkswagen 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.


Judy: I know I'm different, but from now on I'm going to try and be the same.
Howard: The same as what?
Judy: The same as people who aren't different.

Eunice: [while Judge Maxwell is making a list of crimes with which to charge a group of people] They tried to molest me.
Judge Maxwell: That's...
[looks at Eunice]
Judge Maxwell: unbelievable.

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 (thus getting Howard the grant), Eunice leaves Howard for Larrabee and Judy announces she is taking one more pass at college — studying Music History at the Iowa Conservatory of Music. The film ends on 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.

Barbra Streisand as Judy Maxwell!

Judy: I don't know who he is but I hate him.

Judge Maxwell: I think I want to skip over this part, too.
Howard: That night, I went back to my room and she was in the bath.
Judge Maxwell: Who was there? No, don't tell me, just go on.
Howard: When Eunice walked in and the drapes caught fire, everything burned. They asked me to leave. I really don't blame them.
Judge Maxwell: Good boy. Is there more?
Howard: Sure.
Judge Maxwell: There's more.
Howard: Well, the next day, today, Mr. Larrabee asked me to his house with my rocks and to bring Eunice. Or rather, Burnsy, the one he thinks is Eunice. Is that clear?
Judge Maxwell: No, but it's consistent.
Howard: Shall I go back over it?
Judge Maxwell: No, please, I beg you, don't. Just go on.
Howard: It gets kind of complicated now. First, there was this trouble between me and Hugh.
Judge Maxwell: You and me?
Howard: No, not you. Hugh.
Hugh: I am Hugh.
Judge Maxwell: You are me?
Hugh: No, I am Hugh.
Judge Maxwell: Stop saying that!
[to bayliff]
Judge Maxwell: Make him stop saying that!
Hugh: Don't touch me, I'm a doctor.
Judge Maxwell: Of what?
Hugh: Music.
Judge Maxwell: Can you fix a hi-fi?
Hugh: No, sir.
Judge Maxwell: Then shut up!

God, Do I Love this movie! Happy Birthday, Peter! And THANK YOU!


"If I have offended one person, I have offended one person too many" Here's to an INCREDIBLE weekend for ALL!


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Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

1 comment:

  1. I have seen this movie more than any other film and my friends refuse to watch it with me as I recite all the dialogue. I can now also sing "As Time Goes By" with a perfect C minor 7.
    Cheers,
    Stephan

    ReplyDelete