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Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn


vickix33
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A couple of days ago, for the first time, I watched my first Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn film. I have always heard about these two making terrific films together and being a great on-screen couple so I decided to watch them in Adam's Rib. I enjoyed the film very much and found them to have such great chemistry with one another. I decided to also watch their first film together Woman of the Year and enjoyed that one too. Again, I found them to play very well off each other. I know over the years they had made quite a number of films, which ones would you recommend watching?

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I would suggest all the movies that have been suggested and if you want something a little different, try Keeper of the Flame. George Cukor once said it was about 3/4 of a great movie. I think it's closer to 9/10. It's not a romantic comedy or a comedy of any sort. It's sort of a political thriller/mystery. Tracy is a crack news reporter in town to get the story of the life of the Great American Patriot, Robert Forrest, who was recently killed in an auto accident. It's the eve of WWII and it's hoped that this biography will provide a much-needed morale boost for the US. He tries to get close to Forrest's widow (Hepburn) but she is not cooperating. In fact, she refuses to see him or anyone else. At a loss, he starts digging and what he finds makes him very suspicious of the grieving widow. What is she hiding? Did she have a hand in Forrest's death? and if so, why? Piece by piece he puts the puzzle together and the result is very unexpected.

It gets "preachy" at the end (this is the 1/10 that doesn't hold up, at least for me).

 

I also like State of the Union though in this case a lot of the tension is between Hepburn's faithful and long-suffering wife and Angela Lansbury's scheming newspaper woman (who also happens to be her husband's (Tracy) lover). Tracy is a very sucessful businessman who has been courted and seduced into running for President by Lansbury, who is owner of the biggest paper in America. She hooks him up with Adolphe Menjou, a once-successful political operator, who's willing to do anything to get back in the game. They convince Hepburn that in order to win, he'll need his wife by his side. She agrees, because she knows he could actually be a good president, if left to his own ideas. They start off with good intentions, but he slowly becomes corrupted by the process of wheeling and dealing. The main conflict is wife (read honest well-meaning Tracy) vs lover (read corrupt, lying, scheming Tracy). You can probably guess which one wins, but it's a fun ride, with great performances by Van Johnson, Hepburn (even though the role was written for Claudette Colbert) and especially Lansbury, playing, at the tender age of 23, a woman at least 10 years older.

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I'd also suggest Without Love, but not so much for the Tracy/Hepburn performances. I watch more for the performances of Lucille Ball and Keenan Wynne, who play the best friends of the two stars and have a much more interesting and funny romantic relationship.

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I love all the T/H movies mentioned already as well.

Might I also add GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER? Although rather outdated in subject, still wonderful performances, and a chance to see how their dynamics changed as they aged.

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As far as I'm concerned, you started at the top. Adam's Rib is easily the most clever film that they ever made, with both stars in top form, and a great supporting cast.

 

I suppose that Pat and Mike might be a distant second. On the whole, I prefer their comedies to their dramas. Sea of Grass may be their least appreciated film together.

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Completly agree with you Hepburn and Tracy's comedies are my favorites, with *Adam's Rib* at the top of the list. Since the poster already mentioned watching AR , *Pat & Mike* and then *Desk Set* are my favorites. I like *Woman of the Year* but not nearly as much as the other 3. I think these comedies are their most enjoyable performances together.

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Wow, pretty amazing everyone here totally agrees on "best to not so best" on Tracy/Hepburn films.

My only problem with WOMAN OF THE YEAR is it's a bit mean spirited when it comes to the baby. I also felt the divorce part of ADAM'S RIB a bit harsh too, but understand how it leads to a revelation.

 

My only comment on the "end speech" in GWC2D is I feel that is exactly what impression they were going for. Tracy is just reciting words in his own special way and Kate's eye watering and wavering head were part of her physicality at that point in her life. I'm sure it wasn't hard for her to tear up just a bit more and she appears to be quaking with emotion.

 

Garson Kanin was a gifted writer (Born Yesterday, Adam's Rib, Pat & Mike, The Marrying Kind) and he & wife Ruth Gordon were close personal friends of Tracy & Hepburn. His memoirs of them stands as the very best "insider's" point of view, an excellent read:

ISBN: 1-55611-102-9

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Well Vicki, you've already watched my top two. My personal favorite is Woman of the Year (written by Garson Kanin's brother Michael), with Adam's Rib, written by Garson close behind.

 

All of the Tracy/Hepburn films are worth seeing, although I recall having trouble getting into Sea of Grass. Desk Set is one of the best -- written by Phoebe and Henry Ephron, parents of Nora. State of the Union, directed by Capra, has a different feel than the others, I think, but it is very funny.

 

Trivia: the only Tracy/Hepburn film that Kate played on Broadway was Without Love, without Tracy; the only stage cast member of State of the Union who was in the film was Maidel Turner, who was hilarious as Lulubelle Alexander. The play won the Pulitzer Prize.

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Well, vicki, you've recieved quite a list there. I think it's safe to say that since the chemistry between the two was superb, any of their pairings would be recommended viewing. Like them or not, no one can deny they worked very well together. I'd have to say MY personal favorites are ADAM'S RIB, WOMAN OF THE YEAR and DINNER, but I'm not adverse to ANY of their collaborations.

 

Sepiatone

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You know, WOMAN OF THE YEAR is one of those movies that I loved on first viewing--I was blown away by the chemistry between Hepburn and Tracy. But on repeat veiwings, I find I can only like much less. I can appreciate the sex role-reversal (Kate in the traditional man role, caught up in work and Tracy as the woman--cooking for her and whining because she didn't look him up in Chicago and didn't notice his new hat), but honestly, Hepburn is kind of a b*tch. She so self-absorbed and callous of Tracy's feelings and the whole bit with that little boy is just so awful! It's like they wanted the audience to hate her. And the ending--I realized they changed it after preview audiences wanted Kate to get more of a comeuppance, but seriously? I did love Tracy's facial reactions though--he was a master at reaction shots.

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