Black SplatAdam's Rib (1949)

"Lawyers should never marry other lawyers. This is called inbreeding; from this comes idiot children...and more lawyers."

Adam's Rib - David Wayne and Katherine Hepburn

Description: David Wayne as Kip Lurie, the neighbor of lawyer Amanda Bonner (Katherine Hepburn) in the motion picture Adam’s Rib (1949).

Amanda Bonner and her husband, Adam are both lawyers. When Doris Attinger (Judy Holliday) is accused of shooting at Warren, her unfaithful husband (Tom Ewell) and his mistress (Jean Hagen), Assistant Attorney Adam Bonner is assigned to defend the injured man in court. Amanda, who sympathizes with the female shooter becomes her lawyer. And so it is husband against wife as Adam and Amanda try to prove their clients innocent. The entire affair becomes a media circus.

Adam's Rib - Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in courtroom

Adam uses the legal defense that no one has the right to injure another, while Amanda defends her client on the basis that there is a double standard in the law, that is, if a man had done the same thing, it would be considered just. Referring to the "unwritten law" that gives men a pass in such situations when adultery is involved.

Amanda Bonner: And when did you stop loving your wife? Tell the truth.
Warren Attinger: At least [shrugs] 3 years.
Amanda Bonner: Why? Tell the truth.
Warren Attinger: She started getting too fat.
Amanda Bonner: Did you tell her about that?
Warren Attinger: Yes.
Amanda Bonner: What happened?
Warren Attinger: She got fatter.

When Amanda wins in favor of her female client, Adam Bonner devises a plan to get even. One night, he peers through the window of his house to see his neighbor Kip Lurie talking with his wife. Adam knows that Kip is interested in Amanda in a romantic way, and so Adam, playing the jealous husband, breaks into the house with gun drawn.

Adam's Rib -  Adam Bonner points gun at his wife and her alleged lover

Amanda is none to amused and proclaims, "You've no one has the right!" Adam feels vindicated from Amanda's reaction, the same point of view he expressed in the case he just lost. Then Adam puts the gun in his mouth. Amanda and Kip shriek in horror, but then Adam takes a bite out of the gun, which is made of licorice. Amanda and Kip express their outrage at such a juvenile act. An act that breaks up the couple.

"You've got no respect for me, have you?...Answer me one question, will you? What is marriage? Tell me that?...It's a contract. It's the law. Are you going to outsmart that like you outsmarted all other laws. That's clever, very clever. You've outsmarted yourself. And you've outsmarted me. And you've outsmarted everything. You get yourself set on some dimwitted cause and you go ahead regardless. You don't care what it does to me or does to you or to anybody. And you don't care of what people watching think of us. Well I'll tell you what they think of us. They think were a couple of uncivilized nuts. Uncivilized. Just what blow you struck for women's rights, or what have you, I'm sure I don't know. You certainly have fouled us up beyond all recognition. You've split us right down the middle....I've done it all the way I said I would. I'm sick of this house, richer or poorer, better or worse. This is two words. This is basic. I'm old fashioned I like two sexes. And then another thing, all of the sudden I don't like being married to what is known as a new woman. I want a wife, not a competitor. COMPETITOR! COMPETITOR! If you want to be a big he-woman go and be it but not with me." - Adam Bonner [to Amanda Bonner]

Time moves on and Adam and Amanda are reunited during a meeting with their accountant. where they reminisce about their past life when they lived happily on their farm. Consequently, the two lawyers reconcile.

Later, Adam announces that he has been selected as the Republican nominee for County Court Judge. Upon hearing the good news, Amanda jokingly thinks about running against her husband as the Democratic candidate. The battle of sexes continues.

Note: Here are some more examples of anti-lawyer humor in the cinema:

  • “If there is ever to be law and order in the West, the first thing we have got to do is take all the lawyers out and shoot ‘em down like dogs” — Henry Hull in Jesse James (1939)
  • “What do you got in place of a conscience? Don’t answer. I know...a lawyer.” — Kirk Douglas in Detective Story (1951)
  • “There’s only one thing more devious than a Philadelphia lawyer, and that’s an Irish lawyer.” — James Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
  • “Some men are heterosexual, some men are bisexual, some men don’t think about sex at all: they become lawyers” — Woody Allen in Love and Death (1975)
  • “The justice system moves swiftly, now that they’ve abolished all the lawyers.” —Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future Part II (1989)
  • “What’s 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?...A start!” — Danny De Vito in The War of the Roses (1989)
  • “You got it backwards, pal, first you go to law school, then you become a sleazeball with no respect for anyone.” — True Colors (1991)
  • “Scientists are now using lawyers instead of rats for their experiments. There are two reasons for this. The scientists don’t become attached to the lawyers; and there are some things rats won’t do.” — Robin Williams in Hook (1991);
  • “Lawyers are like nuclear warheads. I have them because the other guy has them, but the first time you use them it fucks everything up” — Danny DeVito in Other People’s Money (1991)
  • “What’s the difference between a lawyer and a hooker? A hooker’ll stop screwing you when you’re dead” — Matt Damon in The Rainmaker (1997).

Adam's Rib - Movie Title

Adam's Rib - Movie Poster

Adam's Rib - Movie Poster

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