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


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I don't think Marylin was a great actress, and her signature look - kind of a caricature of a woman - doesn't appeal to me that much. But, a society such as ours where she can be called a "chunker," implying she was fat, shows just how sick we have become.

 

I don't really have a preference for either fat or thin women. But today's popular emaciated look, with models who look like they got out of Treblinka a couple of weeks ago, I find repugnant. And a social ill.

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*But today's popular emaciated look, with models who look like they got out of Treblinka a couple of weeks ago, I find repugnant.* - VX

 

Agreed. But Hepburn doesn't fit in that category, and Fred has for years implied that she does.

 

 

I was being a bit facetious about Monroe being a chunker (not the bleached-out part), though I do think she outweighed my 135 pounds.

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I wanted to be done with this thread....then I read the excellent post from JonnyGeetar-thank you for making so many valid points-

 

>It's one of the (numerous) things I bemoan about the present state of the film industry- these bobble-headed, vapid lollipops have no personality. I have no interest in watching them play someone else, and I certainly have no interest in watching any of them play themselves.

 

I agree 100%.

It's the era of the Big Zero.

 

>When you have that large a personality, you can't help but bring it with you. But is there nuance and honesty and emotion accurately portrayed in most (if not all) her work? Absolutely.

 

There just aren't many people around with "big" personalities any more, actors or not. Even Marty Scorcese (& parents!) & Woody Allen have big personalities.

 

>P'raps what turned off many people then (and turns off many people now) about Hepburn is the aloof, icy, patrician undercurrent to her persona

 

Yeah, and too bad for them. If you grew up knowing people like that (or ARE like that, ahem) you see the humor rather than being turned off by it.

 

The only modern actor I can think of with a "big" personality these days is Nathan Lane. Maybe the only place you can still find this sort of person is NYC.

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*I don't think there's necessarily a connection between how skinny the man is, and how much flesh he likes on his women.* - f

 

Fitness factor for me. I cut my own hair, have out-of-style glasses, and wear clothes until they literally disintegrate from age. Pure unadulterated geek. But I am horribly vain about fitness and shape. I can't picture Marilyn Monroe running any half-marathons. Hepburn probably could have outrun me. :-)

 

Now everybody knows why I'll remain single 'til death. :-)

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I am completely unaware that Bette Davis is underrated. She's always in the top 2 as best actresses ever; which includes Hepburn. I know a lot of people like Stanwyck, and I am among them, I love all the classic stars, but I have caught Stanwyck 'acting' before and that's hard to shake. BTW, there was a lovely swimsuit shot huge banner of Hepburn hanging in the pool area of the TCM Cruise. She had a bathing cap on, it was lovely.

 

 

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you know, all this discussion is totally silly, because everyone has their own tastes, hepburn was certainly part of classic hollywood and represents a certain time and era long gone, unfortunately. we can go on talking about kate, bette, joan and whomever else, but in the words of many actors and actress and directors, there was only one actress who stands along and shines in her own unique way, joan crawford said that she was not part of the studio nonsense or competion - she had no need to do this she was in a class all to herself, and that one is GARBO!

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Funny thing about Stanwyck. I love her work, but she didn't really continue to make films that received the same degree of notice that Davis and Hepburn did in their later years. She had no Baby Jane or Sweet Charlotte; or Lion in Winter or Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in her golden years. She did alot of television. I remember her mostly for the pre-codes, Stella Dallas, and a few noirs; and of course my favorite of her films, The Lady Eve. Maybe she stayed at Paramount too long.

 

 

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> {quote:title=Swithin wrote:}{quote}Funny thing about Stanwyck. I love her work, but she didn't really continue to make films that received the same degree of notice that Davis and Hepburn did in their later years. She had no Baby Jane or Sweet Charlotte; or Lion in Winter or Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in her golden years...Maybe she stayed at Paramount too long.

Actually, I think Stanwyck (like Irene Dunne) was more of a freelancer- she worked all over town (WB, Universal, Columbia and Paramount), much to the alleged ire of Bette Davis. And, Like Dunne, I think that goes a good way towards explaining why she never won the Oscar (she never had studio support that a contractee would've.) A lot of people also maybe considered Stanwyck and Dunne's continuing to get good roles independently as their own reward.

 

Let's also not forget that Baby Jane and Sweet Charlotte were not of the same status or held in the so high a regard as Lion and (undeservedly) Dinner and Hepburn's film career cooled considerably after 1968,+ the Golden Pond+ Oscar being a surprise, but momentary uptick.

 

I will say this for Stanwyck, I have never seen any performance of hers that I would classify as a failure. Even in her final film, 1964's The Night Walker which is (like everything else William Castle EVER did) a heap of steaming garbage she's solid. Meet John Doe, Christmas in Connecticut, Jeopardy!, The Two Misses Carrolls and Crime of Passion- each has considerable faults, but Stanwyck ain't one of 'em. And it's interesting that for her complete lack of misfired performances, she was (IMO) the gutsiest damn actress of the day, taking real risks with her acting in Martha Ivers, Double Indemnity, Miracle Woman, Bitter Tea of General Yen and Walk on the Wild Side each one a bolder, braver turn that anything Bette Davis did (again IMO)

 

And on the subject of Bette Davis, I love Bette Davis, but she reached a point of no return with 1956's A Catered Affair wherein she blatantly milked the audience for sympathy in an utterly desperate and pathetic bid for love that the same Bette of ten years before would never have done. She does the same thing in Pocketful of Miracles and Sweet Charlotte- the last film is one I personally consider to be her worst performance. The courage of her 1940's roles is totally gone, replaced with mannerisms and a "LOVE ME!" plea to the audience that makes Shelley Winters at her whimpering worst seem low-key.

 

ps- I love Shelley too.

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Dec 20, 2011 6:58 PM

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> {quote:title=JonnyGeetar wrote:}{quote} And it's interesting that for Stanwyck'scomplete lack of misfired performances, she was (IMO) the gutsiest damn actress of the day, taking real risks with her acting in Martha Ivers, Double Indemnity, Miracle Woman, Bitter Tea of General Yen and Walk on the Wild Side each one a bolder, braver turn that anything Bette Davis did (again IMO)

I've been thinking about it, typoes aside, I was _very wrong_ to write this. Bette's work in Human Bondage, Now, Voyager, Juarez, and All About Eve (as well as some others I may neglect to mention) is as gutsy and bold as anything Stanwyck ever did.

 

All apologies to Bette, (please don't come up out of the grave to get me.)

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Dec 20, 2011 7:17 PM

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I love Kate's work and her movies. I only have a problem with her dating and having a looooooong BOLD love affair with a very married Spencer Tracy. Not only having an affair but BOLDLY talking about their affair. Not a good situation.

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>Agreed. But Hepburn doesn't fit in that category, and Fred has for years implied that she does.

 

Oh, yeah?? Well you just go and find us a photo of her in a bikini, or ANY kind of swimsuit, and we'll all decide that. Most of what she wore in her films was all fluffed up with ruffles and puffed up cloth, to make it seem as if she were not anorexic.

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JG -- I love Stanwyck and don't want to stoke the ire of the Stanwyck-adorers on this board, and there seem to be plenty, but, but: I don't think she's in the same league as Davis or Hepburn. Just as you say Bette's two Aldrich films were not highly regarded at the time (though I think they were great risks which paid off), Stanwyck's pre-code stuff, which we love in retrospect, was not considered major at the time. I love Martha Ivers and I love Martha Ivers when she comes back as Julia Tredway in Executive Suite, but I don't think the range of Stanwyck's career or talent can compare to the other two ladies. Davis and Hepburn were game for anything -- each even tried a Broadway musical! If as you say Hepburn didn't do much of note in Hollywood after 1968, that's because Tracy died in 1967, and he was what kept her there until that point.

 

I think there is much more subtlety and variety in Hepburn's work than she is given credit for here. She did a considerable amount of Shakespeare. I don't think I can see Stanwyck touring with the Old Vic.

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> Not only having an affair but BOLDLY talking about their affair. Not a good situation.

 

Hepburn didn't talk about the affair until much later in her life. She didn't talk about it while Tracy was alive and not for many years after his death.

 

I don't think she started talking publicly about it until after the late 1970s when Garson Kanin published his book, Tracy and Hepburn. Up till then, the majority of Americans didn't know about the affair.

 

Hepburn was very aware of Mrs. Tracy and she was always aware of Louise Tracy's feelings and her status as Tracy's wife and tried not say anything or do anything that would embarrass Louise Tracy.

 

She and Louise Tracy took shifts caring for Tracy in his final days.

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Absolutely, so very True IzCutter. However, I can image Katherine Hepburn feeling really odd when she had to phone Mrs. Tracy and let her know that Spencer died in her home. Mrs. Tracy didn't invite Kate to the funeral....from what I learned in (Kate's) interview several years ago. I'm sure Hollywood knew about the affair.

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> I'm sure Hollywood knew about the affair.

 

Most of Hollywood and the press knew about the affair but didn't publicize it.

 

It was a different era in regards to that with the press.

 

And Louise Tracy knew that Tracy was at Hepburn's in his final days. Both ladies thought he would be more comfortable there and took shifts caring for him.

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*Oh, yeah?? Well you just go and find us a photo of her in a bikini, or ANY kind of swimsuit, and we'll all decide that. Most of what she wore in her films was all fluffed up with ruffles and puffed up cloth, to make it seem as if she were not anorexic.* - Fred

 

You're still being ridiculous, Fred. Being skinny does not mean you're anorexic. Other than no longer keeping Coca Cola in business, I've never been on a diet in my life. I used to eat anything and everything without ever gaining an ounce. My 250-lb cousin's wife has always eaten twice as much as him and weighs 100 lbs. We nervous types have ridiculously high metabolisms. Kate certainly seemed like one of us.

 

She wore a swimsuit in *The Philadelphia Story* , and looked great. Not all of us have that Freudian attraction to C- and D-cups, real or not. :-)

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>You're still being ridiculous, Fred. Being skinny does not mean you're anorexic.

 

Well, keep in mind that this is just my opinion. The way I think of her every time I see her in a film. If this is the kind of dame you like, then that's fine with me.

 

But it's very noticable that there are no photos of her ribs or legs, and no photos in a Google search of her in a swimsuit, which is quite odd for a Hollywood actress. And many of her wardrobes have a lot of ruffles on them to give the impression that there is more to her than there really is. And there are plenty of photos of her made up to look like a boy, and wearing man's pants.

 

Even Tracy made a comment about how unusually thin she was, in the film "Woman of the Year".

 

So, I think the dame was just weird, and creepy. And then there is her creepy voice, and her face that looks like a skull.

 

But it's ok with me if you like women like this. I'm not telling you not to like them.

 

For me, I prefer a Lana Turner type. Betty Grable too.

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> {quote:title=Swithin wrote}{quote}

> I think there is much more subtlety and variety in Hepburn's work than she is given credit for here. She did a considerable amount of Shakespeare. I don't think I can see Stanwyck touring with the Old Vic.

Well yes, but can you see Hepburn in Double Indemnity or Ball of Fire ? Or even Sorry, Wrong Number ?- which is a film whose success is owed in entirety to the fact that Stanwyck is about the only actress who could pull off the mix of being unlikeable and yet compelling that is required. The end to that movie is such a stunner because we don't expect such a thing to happen to Barbara Stanwyck.

 

Being a smart actor means knowing your limits and what's right (or wrong) for you. And you never know, Stanwyck may well have stunned as Lady Macbeth had she been given the chance, I just don't think she had the interest or thought that sort of thing would be the right fit. (Stanwyck had a very modern appearance and sensibility, in fact I can't think of many period pieces that she did outside of her westerns and Man With a Cloak. )

 

Stanwyck's decision to play a remorseless cold-blooded murderess in Indeminity, whom we see commiting the act with premeditation and an animal-like hate was really a first in its degree (to me it tops even the eeeeeville Bette Davis does in The Little Foxes ) was a brave choice that rewarded her, gaver her a second persona, broadened her range and inspired a lot of other actresses (Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven comes to mind) to do the same.

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Wasn't there a line in one of the Tracy/Hepburn films in which Tracy refers to Hepburn: There isn't much meat there but what there is, is choice!"

 

But if you proceed (as I don't) from the premise that Kate isn't beautiful, then it says all the more for her talent. So many of those ladies (and gentlemen) got their jobs in movies because of their looks and the casting couch! Perhaps Kate made it on talent alone.

 

 

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