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Katharine Hepburn, love her, love her not


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I started on this board 7/25. I must say I've really been astonished at the number of anti-Kate posts. I've absolutely been in love with her(and Bette Davis and Liz Taylor) ever since I've started watching TCM. Love her movies with Spencer Tracy, such chemistry there. I think she's beautiful in the older movies and the intelligence shines through. I'd be interested to hear from some of you about what's not to love about her. I've always thought it was a given that everybody loved her until I came on here. Wouldn't mind hearing from supporters either :-)

 

Brad

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If you've been reading anti-Kate posts, it seems appropriate to have some pro... I love her. I love her heart-breaking portrayal of the lonely schoolteacher in David Lean's Summertime; both wanting and fearing a relationship with Rosanno Brazzi. I have never tired of watching her in The Philadelphia Story and Holiday, two of the most sophisticated comedies of the century. Philadelphia Story is so beautifully written. Since she owned the property, I'm thankful that she saw to it that it made it to the big screen (and thankful to Howard Hughes for his part in that). I love her chemistry with Spencer Tracy, especially their sass in Pat and Mike and their on-edge relationship in Desk Set. I revel in her monologues in The Lion in the Winter, and I relish her humid cruelty in Suddenly, Last Summer.

 

She reminded me of my Aunt Helen (may she rest in peace); a woman of equal beauty and similar bone structure. My aunt was also quite sporty, and "Pat" of Pat and Mike could have been my father's sister.

 

Her films with Cary Grant fairly sparkle. What an attractive couple they made on screen. Their banter, so alive.

 

Katharine Hepburn is my preferred Jo March, and I ache for her humiliation in Alice Adams. I am happily lulled by the timbre of her voice, and her Yankee accent is a textbook example of the regional American tongue. You could slice lamb cutlets with her cheekbones.

 

My, she's yare.

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What a great post, you said it much more eloquently than I could. I have a lot of catching up to do in my Hepburn watching, I haven't seen many of the films you mentioned. Right now TCM is my only outlet. The only Hepburn/Tracy films I've seen so far are Adam's Rib and Woman of the Year, was really touched by the story in the latter. I agree with you, I liked her with Cary Grant as well, he's another of my favorites. They were so good together in Bringing Up Baby and Philadelphia Story had the added bonus of Jimmy Stewart. She had a good bitchy turn in Suddenly, Last Summer, but that was definitely the Elizabeth Taylor Show, she had me bawling.

 

I'm being patient for more great Kate films on TCM.

 

Brad

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I like Kate too. I wouldn't say she was sweet, what comes to mind when I think of her was 'ballsy'.

 

I think she was ahead of her time...independent in her choice of roles, independent in her willingness to stick with the love of her life even if he couldn't leave his wife.

 

Not sure she ever lived in Hollyweird but maintained a residence in CT and from what I can read and saw, told it like it was. Self confident, intelligent, and always herself.

 

I admit I never read books on her, so all of the above is just my impression gleaned from her movies and her interviews.

 

That said, she wasn't one of my favorite actresses. She was 'yare' in many of her movies (I liked her with George Arliss), but she always screamed Katharine Hepburn to me. She could never be guilty of understated acting. Nor could many of the other 'stars' of the period, for that matter. She was like the female Cary Grant, she could act believably in many different roles, comedy or drama, and for that earned my admiration, but she didn't melt into the role. However, at least she didn't chew the scenery as Bette Davis did (well, except for the calla lilies speech).

 

If I had to choose, I guess I'd say I loved her. Well, liked her a lot.

 

dolores

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I think she is very good. For all the raving that goes on about Bette Davis, and I understand why, I like Kate more. I found her frequently charming. There are probably parts that either could have played and some that are theirs alone. I think Kate had a broader range. Most unfortunate choice: "Spitfire." Film most likely never to be seen "The Iron Petticoat." (I'm sure that would be ok with her.)

 

I like her in "Holiday" and "The Lion In Winter" and a lot of things in between. Her autobiography title is my favorite title: "Me."

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After reading all of these posts, I have to tell you what my Dad used to say about Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn. "I can't stand either one of them. They both think they're men. I hate to watch them in a movie, cause they just take over everything." And, I sure if I ever let him go on, he would have called them both the b word.

 

So, in a sense many of you are right that people didn't like her because she was outspoken, and strong.

 

Personally, I have never disliked either of them, but I can certainly see why they would both become box office poison. A steady diet of pretty much the same thing day after day gets old. But, that was long ago, and today Hepburn has so many devoted fans, I just never really bother about her. Even this thread attests to her popularity. No one is introducing a thread on Constance Bennett: Love Her or Hate Her because there isn't a strong enough collective memory out there to debate her. So, that is one of the reasons I don't much care about KathArine (with an A), or Davis or Begman. They are all so high up in the galaxy, they don't need little ole me. But, Hedy needs me, and Greta (believe it or not) and a list of so many others whose names bring little to no recognition on the faces of even thirty-year-olds!

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Love her! A nice Philly fact, her alma mater, Bryn Mawr College (Class of 1928), was named the only organization authorized to commemorate her life and achievements by her family and the executors of her estate and has established The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr to honor the adventurous and bold spirit of the Houghton Hepburn women and to inspire future generations of women to challenge conventions, just as they did. In keeping with Miss Hepburn?s wishes, the Center also recognizes her mother, Katharine Houghton Hepburn, Class of 1899, an early suffragist and family-planning advocate. Lauren Bacall will accept the first Katharine Hepburn Medal and Blythe Danne will be awarded the second medal. The award, which recognizes "women whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence of Katharine Hepburn," will be presented to Bacall and Danner at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Sept. 9. If I am lucky, maybe I will catch of glimpse of them walking around Philadelphia.

-Susan

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There are many fans of Katharine Hepburn so don't be bothered about a few who don't like her. Like another poster said I usually go for the underdogs, obscure, rarely talked about ones who don't have many cheerleaders. Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland are known by people who aren't even classic movie fans so their still household names and will always be known as long as TCM and classic movie historians and writers toot their horn. Maybe their huge popularity pushed me away because for some reason I can't like Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn much. Katharine is good but it seems she's the same in every film - a fast talker with a snappy attitude. She wasn't versatile to me like Joan Blondell.

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Watch her films a little closer, in many of them she gets her comeuppance. Stage Door, The Philadelphia Story, Woman of the Year - are all examples of the fast talking, snappy attitude Kate taken down a peg by life and love. That's what's so delicious about it, and if you watch interviews with her or someone talking about her - she was completely besotted by Spencer Tracy, sitting at his feet gazing up at him, her attention focused on his every word. I love the dichotomy of her work and life. But, I just love her, you can love who(m?) you wish! - Susan

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I wasn't putting Hepburn down but she's not on my watch now list but if she happens to be on I may watch her I may not. The few films I have watched I always knew how she would act because she's the same in every film to me. I have seen some who are just as good as Hepburn so it's like why is Hepburn so remembered. I found Hepburn's style better for the stage.

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You could tell she was completely in love with him. Her demeanor would change at times when she spoke of him. It was the worst kept secret in Hollywood but if I remember correctly she always tried to be respectful of Mrs. Tracy and public anything became. I think one of those times was she didn't go to his funeral.

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ken, I'm quite fickle, I love Joan Blondell too! A true unsung Dame!

Trivia - did you know her real first name was Rosebud? She and Bette Davis were friends in the early days at Warners, throughout their lives Bette called her Rosebud and Blondell called Davis by her real first name, Ruth Elizabeth. - Susan

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One really good Hepburn/Tracy film that gets little attention is Sea of Grass. She is not her usual self in that pic. I liked her performance very much, but again, she is not on my watch list either.

 

And, that is because I have seen most everything she has done, twice.

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Tracy and Hepburn are more of an urban couple!! Tracy and the entire cast were great in "Bad Day at Black RocKk,a filmI first saw at the Manor theatre(Chicago) as a little kid! It's still a can't miss,and I have it DVD!!!

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