Adam's Rib

George Cukor, Etats-Unis, 1950, Warner Bros.


Cukor films this scene from a theatre spectator’s view point, a frontal, central view point, perfectly in the axis of the back wall. The two characters each have their off-camera space, where they get dressed to go to a party: house left for the man and house right for the woman.

The characters themselves make it visible or hidden for the spectator when they come in or leave the space, just like in the theatre. Some actions, like when the woman changes clothes (from a white to a black dress) or the man changes clothes (from a grey to a dinner suit), happen completely off-camera, hidden to the spectator who only sees the effects when the characters become visible again.

The theatrical scene of the living room remains totally empty on several occasions and only the voice-over enables us to imagine where the characters are and what they are doing. The woman goes once in her husband’s space, house left, to kiss him because he’s just gave her a hat: this very noisy kiss will be hidden to the spectator. The scene direction reveals a hide and seek game between the characters and between the characters and the spectators.