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Katherine Hepburn: The Most Over-Rated Star In Hollywood History

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The fact that Barbara Stanwyck is ranked all the way down at 11th (!) in that poll of best actresses . . . AFTER Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, and Joan Crawford . . . completely nullifies that poll in my mind. That's just ridiculous . . . the same mentality that places the Kardasians among the "most fascinating people".

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In my humble opinion both Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor are way overrated as actresses , its more of a tabloid driven fame concerning their personal adventures. Actually I do think Judy Garland showed much more acting talent then she gets credit for, but her personal tragedies get most of the attention. Finally as for the great Kate, I am not a big fan of hers but I don't question her considerable talents as an actress.

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> {quote:title=Bolesroor wrote:}{quote}Jesus H! Arguing is fun, until it becomes absurd.


> Valentine, your responses are bordering on nonsense. Gibberish. Monkey-jabber. Katharine Hepburn is the most Over-Rated Star in Hollywood History *because* she is given MORE credit, accolades, compliments, than she possibly deserves. Was that simple enough for you? I phrased it so nice you can read it twice...



You're the one talking gibberish. I didn't say she was highly overrated "because" of her accolades, rather that she couldn't be highly overrated unless she had received such accolades. Being highly rated doesn't prove her highly overrated. But, simple logic shows that she *couldn't* highly overrated, unless she was highly rated.




> This has nothing to do with a poll, or awards, or whether she was "one of us, them, they, those or their's..." She is a crusty, one-note nuisance and inexplicably lauded by one and all- incorrectly- as one of the best actresses/stars in the history of the industry. She is neither.


> I won't argue with those who like her- your personal opinions are your own and always valid- but I stand by the thesis statement of this thread. Even if you think she is Great- she is still over-rated. That is all.


Okay, you so much as state that *you* think she was/is highly overrated. So, please explain to me - how could she be highly overrated, if no one rated her highly?

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AFAIC anyone who watches the first three Hepburn-Grant movies that TCM has been showing tonight, and still thinks that Katharine Hepburn isn't at the very least a first rate comedienne---is either just plain crazy or completely lacking a sense of humor. She's got perfect comic timing and a perfect comic touch, and with Grant to complement her it's a combination that can't be beat.

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Ok, I'm just plain crazy and I have no sense of humor.


She is way too skinny and anorexic and looks like she died about a week ago. She's got a voice like a rasp metal file scraping against the edge of sheet metal, and she looks like a zombie and a bride of Dracula.

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Goodness gracious Valentine, first let me say I'm sorry if I offended you: that was not my intention.


Secondly let me state that I honestly fail to follow your thought process. It seems to me like you are arguing semantics. My thesis statement was simple- and I stand by it. Katharine Hepburn is- unarguably- one of the most lauded, respected actresses in Hollywood history. According to Wikipedia, she is also "considered an important and influential cultural figure." She has also been credited with 'breaking the mold' for women in Hollywood, where she "brought a new breed of strong-willed females to the screen." She was nominated for *TWELVE* Academy Awards and won *FOUR*- the *RECORD NUMBER FOR A PERFORMER*. According to biographies, "Hepburn's legacy extends to fashion, where she was a pioneer for wearing trousers at a time when it was radical for a woman to do so." Film historian Jeanine Basinger stated after Hepburn died: "What she brought us was a new kind of *heroine*—modern and independent." She won two awards from the British Film Academy, six Emmy nominations and one win, eight Golden Globe nominations, two Tony Award nominations, awards from the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, The New York Film Critics Circle Awards and the People's Choice Awards. She won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actor's Guild and received the Kennedy Center Honors. She has also been a critical darling and is the definition of Hollywood Royalty.


That would be the definition of being HIGHLY RATED.


It is *my* opinion that she is OVER-RATED: unworthy of all of the praise- formal and critical- that has been laid at her feet over the past century. You can agree or disagree, but my logic is pretty solid here. If you want to talk movies and your opinion I'd be happy to discuss this further but if you're going to go back into semantics and polls of Kate's peers I'm afraid I'm not interested. All the best!

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:^0 LOL, Fred! I saw ten seconds of Kate tonight and with the sides of her hair mussed she honestly reminded me of Elsa Lanchester in "Bride Of Frankenstein!"


Can you imagine if Kate had gotten that role? "Now really, Frankie, just because you're undead doesn't mean you can't dress more sharply... that blazer is positively ghastly! There's a sale at Barney's this weekend and then we're going sunbathing to put a little color in your complexion... "

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Bolesroor, I am not offended. I think we may be talking past each other. Perhaps I misread your post, at least in part. My original disagreement was with Moviemadness, who seemed to me to be saying that Kate couldn't be overrated, because she was so highly rated.


My simple thesis is that to be overrated, someone must be highly rated in the first place.


Bolesroor wrote:


>My thesis statement was simple- and I stand by it. Katharine Hepburn is- unarguably- one of the most lauded, respected actresses in Hollywood history...


>...That would be the definition of being HIGHLY RATED.


>It is my opinion that she is OVER-RATED: unworthy of all of the praise- formal and critical- that has been laid at her feet over the past century.


So, you may not have understood my "gibberish," but we are really making the same argument, and coming to the same conclusion, or as we have both acknowledged, opinion.

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In any field there's going to be a minority of people who outshine the majority in terms of recognition and popularity. How this happens exactly, no one really knows, and whether or not it's fair is up for debate. Does Einstein deserve to be the No. 1 recognized scientist of all time? Is Thomas Edison deserving of all the recognition and praise he has garnered? On these questions, people can bring in all kinds of facts to support either side of the argument.


Whether or not an actor or actress is overrated or underrated, on the other hand, is completely a matter of opinion. That's because there are no hard "facts" concerning performers, as awards won and lists made are all governed by opinion, pure and simple.


So, if a person loved Katharine Hepburn and thought she was the "bee's knees", then all the accolades she's received would seem rightly deserved to them and they wouldn't even be aware that she was considered "overrated." The reverse is true for those we consider underrated. We love 'em and think they're great and so perhaps can't understand why they haven't gotten the level of recognition we feel they deserve.


I'd like to say that I don't really care what the general consensus is about any of my favorite actors and actresses but it's not entirely true. I certainly don't bemoan the fact that the "wrong" movie won an Oscar (because I like liking the underdog), but when I saw AFI's list of "100 Legends" (Katharine Hepburn was the #1 female btw), I couldn't help but rankle at some of the names I saw up there ahead of, or instead of, my own favorites. But that feeling soon passed because I realized that a lot of people would be p.o.'d as well if they saw my own personal list. :D


Therefore, if Katharine Hepburn is considered overrated (by those who aren't crazy about her), then what -- pray tell -- are Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando and James Dean if not hyper-overrated? You can't go into a bookstore or gift shop anywhere without seeing at least a dozen items on each of these "legends" and virtually nothing on anyone else. If I thought any of these four were awesomeness incarnate, then I would take it for granted that I could pick out an easy purchase. As it is, I leave the store disappointed and emptyhanded because I couldn't find anything on my favorites.


Up against these "super-legends" obviously any contrary opinion will be considered in the minority of minorities, but one can't help how they feel or react. I personally find Marilyn Monroe and all her vapid mannerisms annoying in the extreme. I find Brando's half-doped, mumbling style incoherent. And James Dean did -- what -- three movies? Yet his pouty face is on posters everywhere. And Audrey Hepburn is good but not that good to warrant all the merchandise that's been associated with her. Heck, next to these four Katharine Hepburn is merely an understudy of the overrated -- a virtual unknown! :P


The point is: If you're going to start a thread on the "overratedness" of any actor, with icons like these around, why pick on "that other Hepburn"? Or would opinions like that border on the sacrilegious? ;)



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>anyone who watches the first three Hepburn-Grant movies that TCM has been showing tonight


I caught these and thought of this thread....you know, I think Kate was beautiful too.


I've defended her as an actress but kind of conceded that she was not all that attractive. Seeing these early films reminded me how pretty she really was. Not "anorexic" as Dobbsey stated, but certainly she had a chiseled face.

Just about any woman who is healthy and fit is extremely slender in her 20's, pretty much "boyish" with gentle curves. Most women "thicken" a bit in their 30's and even more so when they have children. Kate is no "skinnier" than Audrey, Babs or Ginger.


It was discussed during the Essentials that Kate was coached in comedy for that film. She obviously had talent or she wouldn't have pulled it off.


"Overrated"? I don't give a whit about "lists" or "polls". All I know is there are a lot of admirers of Kate's while there's a lot of people who just really don't care for her, for whatever reasons.


It's an interesting discussion if you can persuade people to see both sides, but for the most part, I think it's just personal taste.

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The interesting thing about what you have written this morning is the fact that your opinion is very valid and the points you bring up are exactly what we should be talking about. Your post is one of the more comprehensive and thought-provoking posts on this thread, if not any thread.


My own personal view is that Katharine Hepburn WAS one of the great actresses of the 20th century, period. She had equals who may have had better parts or appeared in more successful films, but overall I'd have to say that over the time that she was involved in acting, she had quite a career. As some one else has mentioned previously, any younger female actress if asked today if they would want the career Hepburn had, they would want a career like she had.


Bottom line is this: Any actor or actress working today in any of the entertainment venues, whether it be television, movies, plays, or even web-based productions will tell you that they are fortunate to be working and that the one thing they crave the most is to be able to fine tune their craft and to have a normal weekly paycheck.


Not every actor or actress commands $20 million per role. 99% of all actors and actresses make far less than that. Of course, even back during the golden age of movies we had our super-stars who would be paid tremendous amounts of money not because they were former television comedians who could bank on making their picture get box office returns of $200 million, but because these former super-stars were great actors and actresses and they were looked upon with praise in Hollywood. And many of them had good starts to their careers, and the studios were able to capitalize on their success and give them better parts. Many of the golden age actors were associated with one studio and then some actors were often affiliated with one or two directors.


The thing about polls and lists is very telling. Usually, polls are conducted "in the moment" much like how political polls are conducted. I have never been able to figure out just how pollsters can claim someone is more popular than the next person just by sampling less than 1,000 adults in a particular market. Especially, if that market has several million people in it.


The same is true with polls about movies. Hence when I see lists like the ones that appear on the IMDB showing the rankings of films I always cringe. The top movie on their list is 1994's Shawshank Redemption. One of my favorites, but clearly does not belong on top of a list like this. But, again this is my view. The view that matters most to the IMDB is that of younger voters who seem to thrive on recently filmed movies.


If you take a look at the current IMDB Top 100 movies you will see that there less than 25% classic films on that list. The first classic film to show up on the list is at #6, 1957's 12 Angry Men. The next classic film is at #14, Seven Samurai. Casablanca is next at #19. All of the other films are mostly from the 1990's and 2000's. Which represent the vast majority of younger people's favorites.


Even though earlier this year on my Lists thread on the Favorites Forum I did attempt to list what I considered to be the greatest films of all time. Purely subjective of course, every list is that, but I actually have been persuaded by one person there that a listing of one's favorites is actually more telling of a person than what the person feels should have won an award or which films should be ranked higher or lower based on what some critic has had to say.


In actuality all of us here on the boards are critics. We criticize every movie, director, actor, actress, and so on here to the nth degree. But that is what we do here on the boards. Some of us are better equipped to judge films or actors than others. That is not meant to be a swipe at someone, it is just that when one critiques a performance or lets say in the case of this thread, emotions should not get too involved in determining if an actor is ?over-rated? or not.


Some who have posted here have decided that Hepburn is vastly over-rated. I?d really like to know how you all came to this conclusion. Because, as it has been written by some that Hepburn was an outstanding actress if you were to ask her co-stars, or others within the film industry. She was well liked by the critics (in most cases) and she does have the distinction of having won more Oscars than any other actor, male or female.


But I think that what is happening with the vast majority on this thread is that many of you just believe she was not a good actress, based simply on how she looked, or how she may have treated others outside the industry, or some other reasons which I will not go into here. Some of you have also indicated that she more or less played the same character over and over again. Much the same way many others have said about another giant of the industry, John Wayne.


If you are really going to criticize her then the only real way is to look at each one of her performances and base your judgment on each role she played. That is really how judgments should be considered. You can't look at an actor's entire career and then make a statement that you consider her to not be good or bad. You should look at every performance. Or in our cases today, those performances that are available to us to view.


And all of the outside the industry stuff that some of you have decided to consider should not be considered at all. Like her supposed treatment of other media types, or the way she looked, or the way she supposedly broke up a marriage or not, or the way she spoke. Whatever. These are outside the purview of her movie performances.


Lets face it, many of you on this thread simply do not like her. That's fine, I am not here to persuade you to change your minds. I am just asking that you consider the things I have suggested when you do want to criticize an actor. Look at the work. That is the only thing that should matter.

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The movie icons you list are over exposed if acting chops was the criteria used to explain why they are movie icons, but generally acting chops are NOT the reason they are icons. People like Liz Taylor, Monroe and Audrey Hepburn are icons for other reasons (mainly fashion for Audrey and their troubled or headline making personal lives for Taylor and Monroe).


With Monroe your opinion (very similar to mine), isn't a minority opinion based on what I have read here at CFU. But here we are discussing her acting chops. When it comes to Monroe being one of the top movie icons this can be measured objectively; e.g.; sales of books about her, still pictures, posters, movies about her life..... My point here again is that movie icons are icons not because of their acting, per se.


But Kate Hepburn and Brando fit the over-rated category as it relates to their acting chops - both are critic darlings but based on what I have read over the years here at CFU many don't feel they are the top actors of their generation. To be overrated on has to be highly rated by someone (in this case critics and the industry).


The above is my attempt to answer your very good question: Why Kate Hepburn instead of someone else? The other actress that would generate a lot of feedback related to being overrated for their acting chops would be Bette Davis. I think both Kate and Bette are at the top of the list for this 'most overrated' type of discussion. They are highly rated for their acting by critics and the industry but they have some very vocal distracters based on what I have read here at CFU. Thus being 'overrated' is NOT just a matter of opinion; if a good percentage of classic movie fans don't agree with the critics than that actor is overrated. What is a matter of opinion is if that actor has great acting chops or not. (my own opinion is the Bette is a great actress and one of the best at her craft).


Now someone like Barbara Stanwyck is a good example of someone that does NOT fit the overrated discussion as I'm framing it. While she is also a darling of critics and the industry, most users here agree with that assessment. I cannot recall any negative posts about Babs as it relates to her acting chops.



Note a very common similar discussion revolves around Citizen Kane. #1 according to the critics industry but where many classic movie fans here don't feel it one of the greatest movies.


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I agree that Davis was more versatile then Kate Hepburn. No actress moves me like Bette Davis does. Second to Davis would be Stanwyck who is even more versatile than Davis. But Kate is still one of my top 10 favorites because she stars in so many movies I love. My main point is still that Kate and Bette 'fit' an overrated discussion while Babs doesn't.



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Guys, this thread is so much easier than you're making it. There are only two appropriate responses to my thesis:


A) I agree, Katharine Hepburn IS indeed the Most Over-Rated Star In Hollywood History. You're the King of Everything, Bolesroor!




B) You're wrong, Bolesroor- she is NOT the Most Over-Rated Star In Hollywood History. You're ugly and your Mother dresses you funny.


When you start bringing in other actors you muddy the argument. It is not fair to introduce other actors into the discussion- it is cheap and manipulative. Discussing anyone other than Kate Hepburn is just plain wrong.


In closing I would like to say I LOVE LOVE Bette Davis- she's one of the greatest actresses of all-time and hugely under-rated. Later! ;)


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