WHAT’S UP, DOC? (1972)

When it came time for Peter Bogdanovich to make a follow-up to his breakthrough with THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971), no one could have expected he’d follow the powerful drama with this daffy comedy. A product of his love for classic Hollywood comedies, particularly the screwball genre, and his appreciation of Barbra Streisand’s comic talents, he created a spin on Howard Hawks’ Bringing Up Baby (1938), with Streisand as the liberating, madcap female in the mold of Katharine Hepburn and Carole Lombard and Ryan O’Neal as the tight-laced academic (read Cary Grant, down to the horn-rimmed glasses), whose life she turns upside down. The stars are a delight, with Streisand even getting to sing a bit of “As Time Goes By” and O’Neal spoofing his earlier hit Love Story (1970). They’re not the whole show, however. Co-writer Buck Henry fleshed out the supporting characters in David Newman and Robert Benton’s script to create gemlike roles for Madeline Kahn (in her feature debut) as O’Neal’s dictatorial fiancée, Kenneth Mars as a supercilious critic, Randy Quaid as a rival academic and Austin Pendleton as a pixilated tycoon. (d. Peter Bogdanovich, 94m, 35mm)