One of the tag lines in the film's ads was "It's the hilarious answer to who wears the pants!"
Garson Kanin often bragged that neither he nor his wife, Ruth Gordon, had ever been hired to write by any of the Hollywood studios. All of their scripts were written on speculation in their homes in the East and then sold to Hollywood.
Spencer Tracy always insisted on top billing in his films with Katharine Hepburn. When Garson Kanin called him on it and suggested, "She's the lady. You're the man. Ladies first?" Tracy responded, "This is a movie, Chowderhead, not a lifeboat." (Anne Edwards, A Remarkable Woman: A Biography of Katharine Hepburn).
David Wayne's character, songwriter Kip Lurie, was modeled on Cole Porter, who, though happily married, was also gay.
During interior shooting in Hollywood, Holliday used her spare time to explore the MGM lot. After being costumed and made up as a man for a fantasy sequence, she took one such stroll, during which she ran into Greer Garson. The studio's top female star of the '40s let out a scream at the sight of Holliday in full male drag.
Jean Hagen, cast as the woman who tries to steal Holliday's husband, was one of many young actresses tested for the lead in Born Yesterday (1950).
Hope Emerson, who plays strong woman Olympia La Pere, would win an Oscar® nomination for Best Supporting Actress as the sadistic prison matron in Caged (1950). She's best known for her television work as Mother during the first seasons of the private eye series Peter Gunn and as the voice of Elsie the Cow.
Hepburn asked that her long-time friend and frequent stand-in Eve March be cast as her secretary. Hers was the only performance in the film Cukor did not like, telling the Kanins she stood out like a "sore toenail" (Cukor quoted in Emanuel Levy, George Cukor: Master of Elegance. March would play Hepburn's secretary again over 20 years later in the Broadway musical Coco.
Clarence Kolb (Judge Reiser) is best known for his performances as the corrupt mayor in His Girl Friday (1940) and Charles Farrell's boss on the classic sitcom My Little Margie.
Polly Moran (Mrs. McGrath) had been a silent screen star for comedy director Mack Sennett in the teens. Sennett clown "Snub" Pollard also appeared in Adam's Rib in an unbilled bit as a man in the courtroom.
Cukor and Hepburn would team on ten films in all, making Cukor one of the most important directors in her career. He cast her in her film debut, A Bill of Divorcement (1932) and directed her in such landmark films as Little Women (1933) and The Philadelphia Story (1940). When they moved to television together, he helped her win an Emmy for her performance opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in Love Among the Ruins (1975).
Adam's Rib was the second of seven films on which Cukor collaborated with one or both of the Kanins. They first teamed for the theatrical drama A Double Life (1947), starring Ronald Colman. In fact, he would direct all four of the scripts they wrote as collaborators, making them one of the screen's most acclaimed director-writer collaborations. Cukor would always say that some of the best directorial touches in their films together were already in the scripts.
by Frank Miller
Famous Quotes from ADAM'S RIB
"A boy sows a wild oat or two, the whole world winks. A girl does the same -- scandal." - Katharine Hepburn as Amanda Bonner, outlining the case against Doris Attinger.
"You just sound cute when you get cause-y." - Spencer Tracy as Adam Bonner, refusing to take his wife's commitment seriously.
"Hungry." --Hepburn quizzing Judy Holliday, as Doris Attinger, about the crime.
"Amanda, my love, why do you stay married to a legal beagle with ten thumbs?" - David Wayne as Kip Lurie.
"If you think you're gonna turn a court of law into a Punch and Judy show..."
"Darling, please, please, this means a great deal to me and it is not a stunt. This poor woman -- isn't she entitled to the same justice, I mean, that's usually reserved for men? The same unwritten law that got Lennahan off...I know what you're going to say. That he should have been convicted too. But, he wasn't...And you're not gonna put this poor soul away just because she had the misfortune to be born a female. Not if I can help it." - Tracy and Hepburn squaring off before the trial.
"Oh, what are you gonna do, object before I ask the question?" -- Tracy confronting Hepburn in the courtroom.
"You meant that, didn't you? You really meant that...Yes, you did, I know your type. I know a slap from a slug...I'm not so sure I care to expose myself to typical instinctive masculine brutality...And it felt not only as though you meant it but as though you felt you had a right to. I can tell." - Hepburn to Tracy
"What've you got back there, radar equipment?" -- Hepburn arguing with Tracy over a playful swat he delivers to her posterior during a massage.
"Let's all be manly!" -- Hepburn.
"I see something in you I've never seen before and I don't like it. As a matter of fact, I hate it...Contempt for the law, that's what you've got -- it's a disease, a spreading disease -... You think the law is something that you can get over or get under or get around or just plain flaunt. You start with that and you wind up in the...Well, look at us! The law is the law, whether it's good or bad. If it's bad the thing to do is to change it, not just to bust it wide open. You start with one law, then pretty soon it's all laws, pretty soon it's everything -- then it's me. You've got no respect for me, have you?...What is marriage? Tell me, that...It's a contract, it's the law. Are you going to outsmart that the way you've outsmarted all other laws? That's clever, that's very clever. You've outsmarted yourself, and you've outsmarted me, and you've outsmarted everything. You get yourself set on some dim-witted cause and you go ahead regardless. You don't care what it does to me or does to you -- or does to anybody. And you don't care what people watching think of us. Well, I'll tell you what they think of us. They think we're a couple of uncivilized nuts. Uncivilized! Just what blow you've struck for women's rights or what have you, I'm sure I don't know -- but you certainly have fouled us up beyond all recognition. You'll split us right down the middle...I've done it all the way I said I would. Sickness, health, richer, poorer, better or worse. But this is too worse -- this is basic! I'm old-fashioned. I like two sexes! And another thing. All of a 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 ahead and be it, but not with me!" - Tracy, calling an end to his marriage.
"An unwritten law stands back of a man who fights to defend his home. Apply the same to this maltreated mother. We ask no more. Equality! Deep in the interior of South America, there thrives a civilization older than ours, a people known as the Loreanoes, descended from the Amazons. In this vast tribe, members of the female sex rule and govern and systematically deny equal rights to the men -- made weak and puny by years of subservience. Too weak to revolt. And yet how long have we lived in the shadow of a like injustice?" - Hepburn's closing argument.
"First of all, I should like to say that I think the arguments advanced by the counsel for the defense were sound... MERE sound!" -- Tracy countering.
"Lawyers should never marry other lawyers. This is called in-breeding; from this comes idiot children... and other lawyers." -- David Wayne.
"No matter what you think you think, you think the same as I think." - Tracy confronting Hepburn about her true feelings on the case.
"What I said was true, there's no difference between the sexes. Men, women, the same."
"Well, maybe there is a difference, but it's a little difference."
"Well, you know as the French say?"
"What do they say?"
"Vive la difference!"
"Which means hurrah for that little difference." - Hepburn and Tracy come to an amicable conclusion.
Compiled by Frank Miller