The Philadelphia Story (1940) – The Katharine Hepburn Project #4

Once again it’s time for another installment of The Katharine Hepburn Project! Actually, it’s time and then some. I watched The Philadelphia Story ages ago and have been putting off writing about it. But there’s no time like the present, so without further ado, here we go. Oh, and this review has no major spoilers, so if you haven’t seen this picture, you can read on safely. But do yourself a favor and watch it as soon as you have the chance. You can thank me later.

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The first time I saw The Philadelphia Story, it wasn’t The Philadelphia Story. In 1953, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra remade it as a film called High Society. That’s how I first stumbled across this story. They showed it on AMC or TCM, and I quite enjoyed it. My father, however, was appalled that I didn’t know the original. It’s not like it was my fault, but he made it clearHigh Society was a silly and inferior imitation.

Having seen them both, I agree with him, but it was many years before I could make that determination. This was back in the days before you could call up so many films at the touch of a button. Pre-Netflix, pre-iTunes. We had the library and video stores, but I never ran across the original film until much later. And for the record, I do still enjoy High Society. It was fun. But it wasn’t a patch on the original. But to be honest, the first time I saw The Philadelphia Story, I didn’t really get why it was such a big deal.

I think perhaps it had been built up too much. Continue reading

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Holiday (1938) – The Katharine Hepburn Project #3

It’s time for another installment of The Katharine Hepburn Project! I expected to watch Bringing up Baby next, but as it turns out, iTunes only has that film available to buy–there’s no rental option. I’ve already seen it several times and never really liked it, so I decided to skip it and jump straight to one of my favorite classic films: 1938’s Holiday.

Holiday

Holiday is a film I loved and lost. I’d seen it on American Movie Classics or Turner Classic Movies and enjoyed the heck out of it, but I never caught the title (or I did and forgot it because Holiday is such a weird and generic title for this film). Anyway, I saw it a few more times, and the name never stuck. I just thought of it as “that Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn movie I liked a lot”. Imagine my delight when I discovered this movie, Holiday, is the one I loved so much way back when! I was so excited I bought the thing on iTunes so I can rewatch to my heart’s content.

[SPOILERS AHOY] Continue reading

Alice Adams (1935) – The Katharine Hepburn Project #2

The Katharine Hepburn Project is alive and well! You may have noticed I didn’t stick to my pledge of one-movie-per-month in June. I thought I’d do two in July to make up for it, but I’m swiftly running out of time. We’ll see if that happens. If not, August becomes the double-up month! Anyway, on to our feature.

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Alice Adams, the next Katharine Hepburn movie available (chronologically) on iTunes, is a portrait of a young woman who wants desperately to belong to the “in-crowd”. Sadly, she can’t because her family is poor. The film opens with her preparing for and attending a dance at a rich girl’s house. She’s purchased a powder puff she’s very proud of, and she’s added new flounces to disguise a two-year-old organdy dress. To add insult to injury, her unwilling brother is her escort. He spends most of the night playing craps in the coat closet with the staff.

Alice spends most of the time hovering in the hallway, pretending to be waiting for her escort and looking longingly at the fellows passing by, hoping desperately that someone (other than “Fat Frank Dowling”) will ask her to dance. Eventually, our hunky male lead, Mr. Arthur Russell, does just that. This is the youngest I’ve ever seen Fred MacMurray, and golly gee whillikers does he look just like Benedict Cumberbatch. I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of this movie, but it gets a thumbs-up in the eye-candy department. Continue reading

Little Women (1933) – Katharine Hepburn Project #1

Little Women 1933

Yes indeed, today marks the first official installment of my Katharine Hepburn project. I’ve started with the earliest of her films available on iTunes, Little Women from 1933. According to IMDb, this is her fourth film and only her second year of film-making. I find it fascinating that she’s already so very “Katharine Hepburn”. Perhaps I shouldn’t be. She’d been acting on Broadway for some time before this, and she won an Academy Award for her previous film, Morning Glory. I suppose it should be no surprise she’d already settled into her personal style.

I reluctantly admit, this fact makes me a bit nervous for the rest of this project. Continue reading

The Katharine Hepburn Project

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Time for another patron-inspired post! …Sort of. The inestimable Mr. Erik Stadnik pledged to me ages ago and gave me three choices for what to write about. One of those was to cover the films of Katharine Hepburn. There’s no way I’m gonna pass up the opportunity to write about a star from my favorite era of filmmaking! So why haven’t I gotten to it yet?

Search me. But because it’s taken me so long (and because the topic is so juicy), I’m gonna do this one differently. Instead of creating a single post about a few of Ms. Hepburn’s films, I’m diving into an altogether bigger project. Continue reading