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Screwball comedies were very popular in the 30s – 50s, but there are less of them in more recent times.  However, this film from 1972, is an extremely funny screwball, which pays homage to the earlier films in the genre (and in particular, Bringing Up Baby; Ryan O’Neal’s character in this film was based on Cary Grant’s character in the earlier film).

O’Neal is Howard Bannister, an uptight, straight-laced researcher who goes to San Francisco with his equally uptight fiancee, Eunice Burns (Madeline Kahn).  There they get mixed up with free spirited Judy (Barbra Streisand) and due to Bannister, Judy and two other guests at the hotel all having identical plaid suitcases, various mix-ups ensue.

This is an extremely funny film, which genuinely had me laughing out loud on several occasions.  O’Neal is fine as Bannister (although he cannot hope to play such a part as well as Cary Grant did), and Barbra Streisand is wonderful as Judy, who Bannister finds in equal parts gorgeous and utterly frustrating.  However, Madeline Kahn practically steals every scene she is in as the bossy, demanding and (understandably, to be fair) irritated fiancee.

As with most screwballs, the plot is pretty ludicrous, and in real-life, things would be sorted out pretty quickly – but that is not the point of this film.  This is entertainment pure and simple and doesn’t aim to be any more than that.  Rather wonderful, and the perfect film to watch if you feel in need of a good belly laugh!

Year of release: 1972

Director: Peter Bogdanovich

Producers: Peter Bogdanovich, Paul Lewis

Writers: Peter Bogdanovich, Buck Henry, David Newman, Robert Benton

Main cast: Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neal, Madeline Kahn, Austin Pendleton, Michael Murphy, Mabel Albertson

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