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20th Century Flicks:

What’s Up, Doc?

Dir: Peter Bogdanovich, 1972, USA, 94 mins, 35mm, Cert: U

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Thu 8 February // 20:00

Tickets: £5 (full) / £4 (concession)

Socially awkward musicologist Howard Bannister (Ryan O’Neal), along with his overbearing fiancée Eunice (Madeline Kahn), checks into a San Francisco hotel with the intention of procuring a lucrative academic research grant. Once there, however, he finds himself in the path of Judy Maxwell (Barbra Streisand), a free-spirited but accident-prone woman who simply refuses to take no for an answer. Soon, confusion between four sets of identical overnight bags finds the unlikely pair in the middle of both an anti-government conspiracy and an attempted jewellery robbery. Will Howard be able to retrieve his valuable igneous rock collection?

Peter Bogdanovich’s follow-up to his breakout hit The Last Picture Show is in many ways its antithesis – a madcap romantic farce in the screwball mould of Preston Sturges or Howard Hawks (whose Bringing Up Baby is an explicit inspiration here). Featuring delightful comedic performances from both its two leads and Kahn (in her screen debut), as well as boasting a memorably absurd car chase up and down San Francisco’s streets, this is one of the finest American comedies on the 1970s.