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Who is greater--Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn?


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  • 5 months later...

I would say Bette had more talent, but Kate was more fascinating. Bette had more range, but Kate made her diologue brilliant. Bette could go over the top more easily than Kate. Kate could be annoying in her own right. Both made their characters unforgettable. All this means I love 'em both and can't decide!

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They were both great in their own right ... but while I think Bette was a better actress, Hepburn had one thing she didn't ... Spencer Tracy. If it were to come down to choosing between any Bette Davis movie and a Spencer/Hepburn movie, the latter would win all the time. Kate also had a more wholesome quality about her than Bette, that makes movies like Little Women so enjoyable. Bette was better at the darker characters/topics. I couldn't imagine either one of them in the other's roles. Can you imagine Bette in The Philadelphia Story or Kate as Baby Jane?

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i would definately have to pick bette davis. in my opinion, i think that bette should've had four oscars instead of katharine. kate is one my fave actresses also, but she didn't have the depth and range that bette did. bette wasn't afraid to get ugly or transform herself for a role. they both had wonderful new england accents and it is quite ashame that they never got to do a movie together. i think the only reason, kate got no.1 on the AFI top female stars is because she had the four oscars. my gosh though, bette acted her butt off in all about eve, the star, now voyager, and the letter.

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Bette was a great actress but I think that Katharine's ability to collaborate with people throughout her life meant that she she able to grow more as an actress . By that I mean that Katharine knew how to work with people and build relationships over a long period of time . I think that Bette didn't help her career in that way.

 

Being an actor is more than about talent although you have to have talent. Its also about making decisions, handling your career and dealing with her your professional and personal life . Bette was super talented .

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It might be a personal preference but I think Hepburn was better. That's not to say Davis didn't have her moments but I just liked watching Hepburn more than Davis. This was especially true as they got older. I agree in that Hepburn didn't really ever make herself look ugly for a part but she could play a nasty enough role. "Suddenly Last Summer" comes to mind. Having said that I don't think Kate could have played "Baby Jane."

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  • 2 weeks later...

BOTH BETTE AND KATHARINE, THE VERY BEST THE MOVIE SCREEN CAN OFFER.....BETTE DAVIS, IN NOW VOYAGER, ONE OF MY OLD TIME FAVORITES...AND KATHARINE HEPBURN, IN WHO'S COMING TO DINNER, WITH MY FAVORITE OLD TIME ACTOR, NONE OTHER THAN SPENCER TRACEY.....ABSOLUTE BEST ON THE MOVE LIST FOR ALL TO SEE, YOUNG AND OLD.....AND LETS NOT FORGET PAUL NEWMAN, BURT LANCASTER AND ALL THOSE GREAT MALE STARS TOO.....A DEFINITE MOVIE FAN OF ALL OUR OLD STARS....CAN GO ON AND ON....NICE TO REPLY....HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR!

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  • 2 months later...

There is no contest here.... Kate wins by a landslide....

 

In "A Bill of Divorcement", it was Kate's charm and inner warmth that kept Sydney Fairfield from becoming a half-crazed, self-absorbed so-and so like the script demands... she provides real warmth to John Barrymore

 

In "Morning Glory", Kate's natural gifts and personal star-lit experience keep Eva Lovelace from being seen as nothing more than a stage-struck ninny....

 

"Little Women" - KATE HEPBURN IS JO MARCH...

 

While she did make some films that weren't exactly great (SPITFIRE... what was she thinking... and don't forget DRAGON SEED... my God... I barely made it through this one once... OLLY, OLLY, OLLY OXEN FREE... well, not quite the most interesting of features, but Kate is at least amusing in this), she was never afraid to stick her neck out and tackle something new... to giver her credit, Bette Davis did the same...

 

Bette Davis is a good actress.. quite good... better than most that we are watching in modern film... but the fact is, Kate was better...

 

She kept going for 6 decades with rarely a break and 12 oscar nominations, four wins and a row of films, each provding a ittle morsal of loveliness:

 

A Bill of Divorcement

Christopher Strong

Morning Glory

Little Women

The Little Minister

Break of Hearts

Alice Adams

Sylvia Scarlett

Mary of Scotland

A Woman Rebels

Quality Street

Stage Door

Bringing Up Baby

Holiday

The Philadelphia Story

Woman of the Year

Keeper of the Flame

Without Love

Undercurrent

Sea of Grass

Song of Love

State of the Union

Adam's Rib

The African Queen

Pat and Mike

Summertime

The Rainmaker

Iron Petticoat

Desk Set

Suddenly, Last Summer

Long Day's Journey Into Night

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

The Lion in Winter

Madwoman of Chaillot

Trojan Women

A Delicate Balance

Rooster Cogburn

On Golden Pond

..... So many wonderful memories... and she was never afraid of the truth...

she never went camp or low-budget, fighting to keep her face within the public eye... she remained an actress, playing parts SHE wanted to play... not parts SHE needed to play... at the same time, there was a bit of Kate Hepburn in every role... and while some may call this a way of "cheating the role", she was never afraid to let parts of herself be shown to the audience... she stayed true to herself... and by the end of her career... Kate Hepburn was not afraid to play... Kate Hepburn

 

For Turner Classic Movies, I'm RKOFAN

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I love both of them and have almost all of their movies. I would have to pick Kate.

Both of them are two great actress but Kate had a special spark that also was in all of her movies. Not taking away from Davis but I feel she was more aproachable.

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This is a hard question because both had qualities as actresses that were so different from each other. And both came across as themselves onscreen. But if we were to measure pure acting ability on a meter, I would have to go with Hepburn.

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It comes down to a matter of personal mannerisms.

 

I always found Hepburn strident and hard to take for an entire film. (Sorry, all you Hepburn fans). I only genuinely liked her in a few films: "Summertime", "The African Queen" or "Suddenly, Last Summer" where I felt she fit the roles perfectly. Never liked those formula Tracy/Hepburn romantic comedies.

 

Bette, despite all her mannerisms, always fascinated me more with the variety of parts she played, especially in her films of the '40s at Warner Bros. She must have been a really difficult person to know or be with in real life, but she certainly had a certain magnetism and bigger than life style as an actress.

 

Neil

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  • 1 month later...

WOW,what a question.Well,this is tough:Bette or Kate.Well,they're both great. These too are at the top of the heap.they're both New England,born a year apart,I believe;but Bette is less upper crust,more approachable.Her roles were more colorful,varied,dealing with issues more ordinary folk have to face:An aging star in All about Eve.The family joke in Now ,Voyager.Even putting the ad in the paper for work in the late 50's or early 60's.Bette didn't care.She had kids to feed.Kate was always so different,unique.there was a time when even movie fans tired of her personality.Kate was a little before her time.she was great,though not the typical movie star.There are some rolls that Kate just was not good to play because of her type.I'd better answer the question:I can't...it's a toss up!!!

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BETTE DAVIS OF COURSE !! LOOK AT ALL THE DIFFERENT ROLES AND MAKE UP SHE USED TO CREATE THESE ROLES !! SHE WAS THE LON CHANEY SR. OF CHARACTERS !!! SHE TOOK MORE OF A CHANCE THAN HEPBURN IN ACCEPTING CHARACTERS THAT DID NOT GET SYMPATHY FROM THE MOVIE-GOERS !!! SHE COULD PLAY A COMEDY THAN A MELO-DRAMA AT THE BLINK OF AN EYE !!! HEPBURN WAS GREAT..BUT SHE WAS NO BETTE DAVIS !!

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Originally offered to Bette Davis in 1938, The African Queen would have co-starred David Niven as Charlie. It was offered to Bette Davis again in 1947, this time to co-star James Mason, but she had to pull out of the project due to pregnancy. In 1949, Bette Davis tried again to make the film, but by that time plans were under way for Katharine Hepburn to star.

I've always heard her mention this is one role she wish she could've played.

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