2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I can't breathe, is it possible to break a lung?"
The first screwball comedy to be a box office blockbuster since the early forties, WHAT'S UP, DOC? fills it's 94 minute runtime with so many terrific one-liners, double innuendoes, and visual puns that the average viewer will probably have to watch the film a couple of times before he or she catches all of the jokes! Apparently the film inspired repeat viewing even...
Published on April 5 2004 by Det. Abilene
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for a laugh
As movies of that day go it is pretty good. When I first saw it I appreciated itj
more because I was younger. Now it seems a bit silly. All in all it has its good
moments and silliness. Enough said!
Published on Sept. 15 2010 by Joan B. Henn
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I can't breathe, is it possible to break a lung?",
The first screwball comedy to be a box office blockbuster since the early forties, WHAT'S UP, DOC? fills it's 94 minute runtime with so many terrific one-liners, double innuendoes, and visual puns that the average viewer will probably have to watch the film a couple of times before he or she catches all of the jokes! Apparently the film inspired repeat viewing even during it's initial release - Doc was the third-highest grossing film of 1972 (right behind THE GODFATHER and THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE). In all honesty, I think this film has a higher laugh-per-second ratio than any film before or since.
This film was the perfect (and surprising) way for director Peter Bogdanovich to follow-up his cinematic landmark THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, and he keeps the film's momentum running right at the perfect speed. He also knows how to cast a film flawlessly. Buck Henry's marvelous screenplay contains many scenes with overlapping dialogue and double reverses, and the entire cast never misses a beat. Barbra Streisand literally radiates with magnetism throughout the entire film! Anyone who still wonders why she was the highest grossing actress of the seventies definitely needs to see this film; Streisand's performance in DOC is what being a movie star is all about. Many critics complained that Ryan O'Neal was miscast when the film was originally released, and those critics obviously missed out on the joke. The fact that O'Neal was considered a heartthrob at the time was all part of the fun in seeing him cast as complete goof; and I don't think anyone can deny the fact that he throws himself into the role completely.
As most viewers already know, Madeline Kahn has her finest screen role in Doc, and steals nearly every scene she's in (and she wisely knows just how far to push the characterization without going over the edge). The rest DOC'S supporting cast also could not be improved upon, Kenneth Mars, Austin Pendlrton, and Liam Dunn give just three of the standout performances in this perfect supporting ensemble. As with most comedies, DOC was snubbed at the Academy Awards (Bogdanovich, Streisand, and Kahn all deserved nominations in the respective categories in my opinion), but time has been good to DOC and remains far more popular than many of the films that did get Oscar noms in 1972. Arguably, the best comedy of all time.
About the DVD: The picture quality is very good - a tad soft at times, but very natural and true to the film's original look. The sound is mono, but it's well-rendered. It's great to have the trailer and vintage featurette preserved on disc, and while Streisand's brief commentary isn't very illumenating, Bogdanovich's full-length track is very informative and entertaining.
5.0 out of 5 stars What are you doing with Howard's rocks?,
Dr. Howard Bannister (Ryan O'Neal) is on his way to a convention to try to win a grant; he carries a plaid over-night bag containing experimental rocks. A mysterious stranger at an airport picks up an identical plaid bag containing top secrets. A rich lady carries (you guessed it) a plaid over-night bag full of her jewels. To add to the mix is a walking accident Judy Maxwell (Barbra Streisand) carrying her own plaid bag.
Soon all are inevitability going to converge. Toss in mistaken identities and a bubble bath. You have one of the most memorable comedies.
Lots of fun comedy with most of the clich's, Back and forth in a hallway, Obligatory chase scene, they show their puns, and even a quasi food fight, all over a hand full of bags. At one point Judy hangs around out side Howard's window; one wonders how her towel stays on.
If this ever gets sorted out we are in for a surprise.
If you find the concept of mixed bags funny then you need to also watch Sylvester Stallone in "Oscar" (1991).
5.0 out of 5 stars Remains delightfully fresh after over thirty years,
WHAT'S UP, DOC? has to stand as one of the finest remakes of a great original ever made. By and large, remakes of classics are profoundly stupid. Although the remakes virtually never match the originals (and admittedly this one is no exception), most are merely pale imitations. Although this one does not come close to supplanting BRINGING UP BABY, it nonetheless manages to bring enough originality to make it utterly delightful. Ever since I first saw it, it has remained my favorite Barbra Streisand film, and is delightfully kooky in a way completely different from the way that Hepburn is kooky in the original. Ryan O'Neill is indeed a pale imitation of Cary Grant, but then, who wouldn't be? But Madeleine Kahn, on the other hand, is a remarkable addition to the storyline. This was, for all practical purposes, her film debut, and she makes the most of it.
This was director Peter Bogdanovich's second hit film in a row, following his marvelous THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. The next year he would make PAPER MOON, and for all intents and purposes he seemed to be the next great American director. But then for whatever reason his gifts seemed to desert him, and while he has occasionally reemerged with a decent film, he has never managed to reascend to the level of these three films. He has, however, managed to write a great deal of film criticism, along with one of the greatest collections of interviews with directors ever published. But in this film his direction was fine, and if the comedy towards the end sometimes seems less screwball than Keystone cops, I find it easy to forgive him.
I repeat that this is my favorite Barbra Streisand film. I know people are divided on her looks, but when I look at her in this one, I think she is remarkably beautiful, and her personality is so infectious that she manages to dominate the screen every second she is onscreen. She was so superb in this film that I wonder why she didn't try to undertake similar parts in the future. She did the follow up to FUNNY GIRL, but she never really tried anything this goofy again. It's a tremendous loss, because she obviously excelled at it.
I'm surprised at how well this film has aged in thirty years. Sometimes you go back and see a film two or three decades after you first saw it, and it can be shocking how aged it appears. I had that experience with both TOOTSIE and ROXANNE, and both now seem hopelessly outdated. But this one, despite the early seventies clothes and decor, remains truly fresh.
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't stop laughing!,
One of the best comedy films ever made, "What's Up, Doc?" is finally on DVD. The first time I saw this movie I had tears in my eyes and my stomach was in such pain because I was laughing so hard. And today when I view this movie I get the same reaction. The judge in this movie cracks me up! And Barbra Streisand is perfect. She's actually perfect in any thing she's ever done. I love her version of "You're the Top." It fits in perfectly. I was really looking forward to Barbra's commentary on the film. I was expecting stories from the set and what was going through her mind as she had to do some of the VERY DANGEROUS stunts but she really doesn't offer much. Once scene where she has to cross the street and these two motorcyclists come inches from hitting her she says she was so scared she closed her eyes and just walked straight forward. She seems to have forgotten everything else about the making of the movie. Most of the time it's like she's watching it for the first time and the little information she does give she sounds rather bored. At times it sounds like she's eating something. A bit disappointing for one of my favorite movies but I guess I'll live.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Streisand movie ever,
At 7.3, "What's Up, Doc?" is the highest rated Streisand movie on the Internet Movie Database web site. And, as I've read, it's among la Streisand's least favorite movies. Ironic, but typical for Barbra.
In my opinion, "What's Up, Doc?" is the best comedy Streisand ever did. (One might make a case for "The Way We Were" as her best drama, but it won't be me.)
If I remember correctly, "What's Up, Doc?" was on DVD before but without captions or anything of significance in the way of special features.
The current incarnation includes captions, which I never watch a movie without, and a director's commentary by Peter Bogdanovich. (There's also a brief, selected-scenes, commentary by Streisand that provides next to nothing in the way of insight.) The director's commentary is comprehensive, entertaining and informative.
For example, the fact that Judy calls Howard by the name Steve is a private joke for the benefit of director Howard Hawks, whose wife called him Steve. Or so sayeth Bogdanovich in his commentary.
Also, Bogdanovich says he asked Ryan O'Neal to consult with Cary Grant on how to play Howard Bannister, seeing as how "What's Up, Doc?" was inspired by Grant's movie "Bringing Up Baby." Grant's advice to O'Neal... Wear silk underwear.
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Screwball Fun for the Whole Family,
I've never been easy to please when it comes to comedies, but I remember having a great time watching 'What's Up Doc' when I was a kid. Now, 31 years later, I wondered if I would still laugh just a little...
And did I! What makes screwball comedies so difficult to pull off (and probably why no one does them anymore) is the rare combination of acting talent and timing. Both are present here. There are no acting slouches in this film. One of the true joys of watching the film is the absolutely flawless way in which the characters behave. It's obvious that director Peter Bogdonavich studied thousands of hours of screwball comedies from the 1930's and early 40's. It was certainly time well spent. 'What's Up Doc' still holds up as a non-stop, funny, silly, zany, screwball ride from beginning to end. (And the whole family can watch it! How many films can you say that about these days?) To describe the plot would be a waste of time and it would probably spoil the fun, so I'll just say see it for yourself. Enjoy!
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, one of the best comedies on DVD,
"How much is it without bufferin?"
I like everything about this movie and the DVD version that has finally just come out. As for the movie, it's funny, witty, entertaining, and even though it's made in the image of a classic screball comedy (Bogdanovich says he even got Howard Hawkes' blessing before starting this picture, which is inspired by Hawkes' "Bringing up Baby"), it seems current.
I won't summarize the bizarre and zany plot too much here (how could I?), except to say that it is about a henpecked musicologist (Ryan O'Neal) who attends a conference in San Francisco with his overbearing and plain fiance (Madeline Kahn). While at the conference he meets and has his life turned upside down by a mischevious young woman (Streisand). In the middle of this are are four identical bags, which of course, get mixed up. And don't forget about the jewel thieves and the cinema's best car chase since The French Connection. Suffice to say, this is a zany movie with humor that functions on many levels and rewards the observant viewer. See it again to catch all the subtle sight gags and jokes that pay off earlier setups. I could go on and on about the inspired script and the wonderful performances by the entire cast, who all seem absolutely perfect in their parts. It is worth the price of admission just to watch the scene where Madeline Kahn's character is dropped off at a seedy location on a pier and meets up with some local thugs. Bogdanovich was at his height when he put this one together. After this--and the wonderful Paper Moon--it was all downhill. . .
As for the DVD, it is a great transfer with a sharp picture and good sound. The print they made if from looks to have been in good shape. For those of us with widescreen TVs, the picture is true anamorphic widescreen, which means it naturally fills up your widescreen without you having to use a "zoom" view. The DVD extras are also very nice, including a complete commentary by Bogdanovich and a selected commentary by Streisand, as well as a mini 'making of' documentary and a trailer or two.
Highly recommended. ****
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Comedy Ever (?),
Quite possibly it is the best comedy committed to film.
I'll state this at the beginning of my review: Madeline Kahn has possibly THE best debut role in film history. She carries it off wonderfully - and led her almost as funny roles in Mel Brooks' movies.
I've been waiting forever for this to be released on DVD. Even the original date of last fall didn't go through - and I was crushed. I usually pre-order NOTHING - but this I did. ..and I did again when a new release date was announced.
Though I can do w/out the header "The Streisand Collection", I assume it would not have been released without some name attached. That being said - it's still a GREAT movie.
It has everything going against it (who would think Streisand and O'Neal?) yet everything going for it. It seems like an overdone plot worthy of any sitcom (chase scenes, mixed-up luggage), but all of it really really works. This is what they were all trying to achieve - and which no one has been able to do since.
As mentioned in earlier review, the entire movie is quotable and hilarious. *If* there is a weak point, it's Streisand singing. It's not horrid - but it's not needed.
BUY IT. BUY IT. BUY IT.
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious! A must for comedy lovers,
I love, love this movie. It is the funniest movie I have seen in a really long time. The dialogue is amazing. They definitely don't write script like they used to anymore. Most of the actors are superb in their roles. Madeline Kahn is a special stand out. She steals almost every scene she's in. It's hard to believe that this was her first movie role. She's amazing in it. Babara looks amazing and shows off great comic timing. I never realized she had such a sexy presence. I love her version of Cole Porter "You're The Top" at the movie introduction and her brief snippet of "As Time Goes By". I wish there were more opportunities to hear Babara's amazing voice. If there is a weak point in this movie, I would have to say it is Ryan O'Neill. He wasn't quite convincing pulling off the Gary Grant role, but then there could only be one Gary Grant. The commentary by the director is insightful and priceless. Even back then Babara was already telling the directory how to direct scenes :). I've seen the DVD about three times already, and I plan on seeing more of it. I wish there were more screwball comedies available on DVD. (C'mon, when is "Bringing Up Baby" gonna be out on DVD?"). Highly recommended for all ages. You'll be laughing out loud.
5.0 out of 5 stars "Nothing much to see, really, we're inside a Chinese dragon",
It's a smart-zany-girl-meets-absent-minded-professor-and-hijinks-ensue movie modeled on the screwball comedies of the 30's. This is a funny movie for the whole family. And it's now on a great DVD with commentary by director Peter Bogdanovich (the whole movie) and Barbra Streisand (on selected pieces of the movie.) It also includes some behind the scenes footage including Peter demonstrating for Barbra how to seduce co-star Ryan O'Neal in the "Time Goes By" scene.
What? You want to know what the movie is about? Well it's about these four identical suitcases, and... oh, let's just let the main character put it in his own words:
"My name is Howard Bannister and I'm from Ames, Iowa. It all started when I bumped my head in the taxicab on my way in from the airport. I went to the drugstore for some aspirin and he tried to charge me for a radio because she said her husband would pay for it. But I didn't of course. Anyway, she ripped my jacket and then Eunice, my fiancé, came along. But she kept calling me Steve. Not my fiancé, my wife, or rather the one who isn't my wife.
"Well, anyway that night at the banquet she was there again and everyone was calling her Burnsy. That's short for Burns, Eunice's last name. But Eunice wasn't there. Burnsy was there. Or rather the one who isn't Burnsy. That night I went back to my room and she was there taking a bath. Well, Eunice walked in and the drapes caught fire and the room burned and they asked me to leave the hotel. I really don't blame them. Then today, Mr. Larabee asked me to come to his house and to bring my rocks and bring Eunice. Or, rather Burnsy, the one he thinks is Eunice. Is that clear?"
"No, but it's consistent."
That last line is from the judge, driven to the edge of a nervous breakdown and memorably played by Liam Dunn, who I learned from the DVD was a casting agent, not an actor, and this was his first film appearance.
This film is full of great lines that you will be repeating to yourself for weeks afterward:
"Now don't be nervous Howard, just remember, everything depends on this."
"You'll be safe in the bathroom. Snakes, as you know, live in mortal fear of... tile."
"Since when have you taken bubble baths?" "It came out of the faucet like that."
"So what is the point? The point is, the point is, oh God I've forgotten the point."
Doc is that rare comedy that excels both in snappy dialog and physical shtick. And it throws in just about every physical bit you can think of: pie in the face, a keystone-cops-like group of fireman, girl hiding out on the window ledge and getting knocked off but hanging on by her (well-manicured) fingernails. And a chase scene to end all chase scenes up and down through San Francisco streets.
If nothing else, the film deserves a place in movie comedy history for introducing us to Madeline Kahn. Here, fresh out of college, Pete Bogdanovich found her at an audition in New York and brought her out to California for this film. And what a talent! She gets a laugh with every line, grimace, and whine and all but steals the film right from underneath Barbra Streisand's nose. And she does it by creating a character that at first makes you groan, but you really get to feel for as movie develops. The other supporting players are all the best of Hollywood at the time and are top-notch.
Streisand returned to the screen in this film after a year off, and looks relaxed, tanned and sexy. The script doesn't ask her to do much, other than be herself and use her natural comic talents, which are considerable. She takes old vaudeville shtick (such as "has anyone ever told you that you're very sexy? They never will") and makes it sound fresh.
Ryan O'Neal has two things going for him. He looks cute in his underwear and plaid bow tie, and he has terrific chemistry with Barbra. But he comes off as wooden and empty. This is Ryan O'Neal imitating Peter Bogdanovich imitating Cary Grant. Ironically, in the off screen footage included on the DVD, Ryan is charming, sexy and funny between takes. For some reason Bogdanovich has asked him to hide is charm under a bushel to portray this dull professor. (Fortunately, Peter allowed Ryan to redeem himself the following year in "Paper Moon", arguably Ryan's best screen performance.)
Fast pacing, snappy dialog, great character actors, funny shtick - What's Up Doc has it all and is just as funny today as it was when it broke box office records in 1972.
Back Stage Note: While Barbra was taking vacation, ex-husband Elliot Gould was becoming the busiest star in Hollywood pumping out film after film in the early 70's. In 1971 he was both producing and starring in the drama "A Glimpse of Tiger". Although versions differ, Gould seemed to go out of control, threatening co-star Kim Darby and trying to fire director Anthony Harvey, and finally disappearing for days. Warner Brothers shut down production and tried to recast the picture. Ironically, the star they eventually got was Barbra Streisand who wanted to work with director Peter Bogdanovich. Peter wanted to work with Barbra, but wanted to do a comedy instead of a drama. In a matter of weeks, he and Robert Benton wrote the first draft of "What's Up Doc?". They gave it Buck Henry, who produced the second draft in another three weeks - which became the shooting script. Thus, eight weeks after shutdown, "Glimpse of Tiger" had morphed into "What's Up Doc?" and was filming in San Francisco.
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