Producer/director Peter Bogdanovich's, "What's
Up, Doc?" is a fun, fast paced screwball comedy. It has "nonstop
action, improbable romance, and great performances," in the
spirit of the great 1930's screwball comedies.
The basic story tells the tale of what happened
when a bright, but strange young woman, Judy Maxwell (Streisand)
a confused, accident-prone Iowa rock Musicologist, Howard Bannister
(Ryan O'Neal) his bossy fiancee, Eunice Burns (Madeline Kahn)
and others all intermingle at a swanky hotel. Howard Bannister,
and his fiancee, Eunice, have come to this swanky, San Francisco
hotel to compete for a musicology research grant. Hilarious havoc
reigns the moment that a conniving, strange young college student,
Judy Maxwell, attaches herself to Howard, in a drug store where
they met at random. The underlying plot has to do with all the
identical plaid suitcases, that wind up getting mixed up, due
to the confusion of the bad guys. The two story lines come together
at the end, for hilarious consequences.
The cast includes Barbara
O' Neal, Kenneth
Pendleton, Sorrell Booke, Michael Murphy, and Madeline
Kahn. This was Kahn's first movie.
The cast works together in great comedic ensemble
work, that makes this wonderful screenplay work. Streisand can
do a comedic part extremely well, as well as sing, and Ryan O'Neal
is great as her straight man who plays this klutzy, absent-minded
scientist in a natural and believable way.
Austin Pendleton, who plays Frederick Larrabee,
the sponsor of the grant, and Kenneth Mars, who plays the dishonest,
arrogant Hugh Simon, Howard's competition for the grant, both
offer terrific supporting actor performances that add much to
One of my favorite scenes takes place under a
table, at a gem and rock convention dinner. Howard comes down
to the dining room alone, because Eunice was still getting ready
up in her room, and would come down later. He finds his table,
and to his horror, this crazy Judy woman is wearing Eunice's name
tag, pretending to be her. Frederick Larrabee, is sitting next
to her, and finds her very amusing, calling her Burnsy, lapping
up all the good things she is saying about Howard. After Howard
has sat down next to Judy, he deliberately drops his napkin and
he and Judy both go under the table for a private talk concerning
why she is there, and what to do about Eunice, who was due to
arrive in the dining room at any time. After a funny exchange
of clever and witty lines between the two of them, the rest of
the guests at their round dinner table wind up joining them there
with hilarious results. The head waiter, as he sees the guests
seated at this table entirely under the tablecloth, he asks the
waiter who was serving this table,"What kind of wine are
you serving them?"
Madeline Kahn is extremely funny in this film.
Her reaction is priceless, when she arrives at the dining room,
only to be humiliated when Howard says he doesn't know her. Waiters
have to drag her out, over her loud, funny demonstrative protests.
Another one of my favorite sequences of scenes
takes place during a wild, wacky, and really well choreographed
chase scene through the streets of San Francisco.
This film will cheer up anyone and improve anyone's
mood. It is great entertainment meant for the entire family.