Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1938. RKO Radio Pictures. Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, Hagar Wilde, based on the story by Hagar Wilde. Cinematography by Russell Metty. Produced by Howard Hawks. Music by Roy Webb. Production Design by Van Nest Polglase. Costume Design by Howard Greer. Film Editing by George Hively.
Prototypical screwball comedy has been attempted many times since and was never quite replicated. Cary Grant is a bumbling scientist whose life work is the reconstruction of dinosaurs through the discovery of their fossilized bones. Katharine Hepburn is a klutzy heiress who manages to get in everyone’s way no matter where she goes. When these two team up it’s a miracle the whole eastern seaboard doesn’t collapse under the weight of their folly! Crackling direction by Howard Hawks plus a great screenplay are partly responsible, but the charm of the film is pretty much in the hands of its stars, who work wondrously well together (they also co-starred in Holiday that same year). Interestingly enough, the film was a huge bomb upon its first release, ignored by both audiences and critics alike, but is today hailed a masterpiece and a classic.