What’s Up, Doc? (1972) – Peter Bogdanovich

The next recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book for Some Like It Hot is this zany madcap comedy set in San Francisco and starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neal.

Hanging the slightest of story threads on the concept of four identical overnight bags, and four adjoining hotel rooms, this one is more about physical comedy, quick delivery and fun performances.

O’Neal plays Howard Bannister who has flown into town with his fiance, Eunice Burns (Madeline Kahn) to attend a Musicologist banquet hosted by Frederick Larrabee (Austin Pendleton) to hopefully win a grant to fund his research.

In the hotel pharmacy, Howard meets Judy Maxwell (Streisand) who is smart, funny, and seems to get everyone around her into trouble.

Taken by Howard right away, she tags after him, causing him no end of grief, but also securing him the grant, when she poses as his fiance during the banquet.

Eunice realizes something is wrong, and causes a bit of a stink, all while the mess-up with 3 other identical bags gets underway. One has secret government documents, one is loaded with an elderly lady’s jewelry, another has Judy’s underwear, and the last has Howard’s igneous rock collection.


Rooms are intruded on, bags are swapped, and rooms set alight, all to the chagrin of the hotel manager (John Hillerman).

Thugs, the government, and some hotel employees all seem to be wrapped up in getting their hands on at least one of the bags, but most of it is just the flimsiest of stories so that Howard and Judy can spend some more time together.

Streisand is really enjoyable in this role, and for the first time I found myself really liking her in a movie. She’s just fun, appealing and has a lot of spirit.

It was also fun to see a couple of other familiar faces in the film, Randy Quaid, plays professor Hosquith, another musicologist, while Michael Murphy is trying to hunt down the government documents to release them to the public, and though you may not recognize his face, Kenneth Mars, who plays another musicologist, Hugh Simon, his voice has been lent to theatrical and Saturday morning cartoons for years!

Everything comes to a head at a party at Larrabee’s, and from there, Judy and Howard appropriate all the cases and lead a merry chase through San Francisco.

I went into this one blind, and honestly had no idea what to expect from it. It took me a little while to get into the simple zaniness of everything, but once I was there, I was along for the ride.

It was a lot of fun, and of course, everything gets all tied up in a big happy boy at the end. There are set-ups, payoffs, some nice stunts, and a healthy dose of off-the-wall romance. If that sounds like your thing… have a look!

T-t-t-that’s All Folks!


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