Katherine Hepburn -- Can someone please explain her reputation?
Was watching Stage Door this weekend -- great movie, mostly because of Gail Patrick. But what I don''t get is why the Hepburn adulation. She''s the same person in every movie she made; the same voice, the same facial expressions, the same body language. Seeing her in Stage Door and seeing her in Guess Who''s Coming to DInner makes you just think that it''s the same character, a few decades older.\
Just don''t get it.
Oh go away.
Thank you OP for that appreciation of Gail Patrick. I have always loved her.
It''s a lesbian thing.
I never got it either.
I assume you have seen Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Pat and Mike, Long Day''s Journey Into Night, Lion in Winter to name a few. %0D\
If you don''t get it, well then your loss. Some people are clueless- cannot be helped.
I think most successful leading movie actors develop a consistent screen persona. Audiences pay to see a movie star they like rather than a versatile character actor.
She makes people feel safe - just like Meryl Streep. This is why they are called ''great actors'', because they make you think that the Great Lie is actually your truth.
R7, what is the ''great lie'' you are speaking of? I bet Streep would love to know- you know, to help with her technique.
R6 nailed it.
I dont get her as well. In every film I have seen her in I was never able to forget I was watching Kathrine Hepburn and not the character she was allegedly playing. Bette Davis on the other hand did a much better job at becoming the character to the point I forget who I am watching. But then again, Davis had no problem taking on risky, unsympathetic roles. Hepburn always played it safe. Plus she went to her grave insisting George Cukor was not gay. Who does she think she was fooling?
And P.S. to the OP: It''s Katharine Hepburn, not "Katherine."
Katherine Hepburn was the triumph of presence and star power over talent and versatility. Of course she was the same from role to role--her career was built on it. Think of how much those characters in the movies at R5 have in common. %0D\
She couldn''t be more like UNLIKE Meryl Streep (who she actively disliked, BTW), who changes shape, voice, and personna from role to role. %0D\
I''m not dismissing star power (there''s not a lot of it these days) or the length of KH''s career, which was pretty incredible.
If you think her performances in Bringing Up Baby, Woman of the Year and Long Day''s Journey Into Night are exactly the same, OP, then you really need help.
I generally am not a fan of her work. Her affected accent, her demeanor. But even I have to admit it worked like a charm in Stage Door.
In a way I agree with you OP but I love her all the same especially compared to the shit actors now. At least she seems like she had some formal training and an education unlike most of Hollywood now and I love how so many of the old movie stars had distinctive voices.
Oh, yes, no versatility. So mannered, so constantly the same, such a triumph of personality and star power.\
"Stage Door," "Bringing Up Baby," Lion in Winter," "Long Day''s Journey into Night," "Trojan Women," "Summertime," "Alice Adams," "Desk Set," "Philadelphia Story," "Rainmaker"\
And I don''t even like the woman especially - but I appreciate her craft
R10 and their ilk are so grossly misinformed about what acting is. You don''t know what you''re talking about. \
It is physically/scientifically IMPOSSIBLE for one person to become another. Great acting isn''t about to what length a person can go to make you forget who they are and become someone else, great acting, even good acting, is about a person''s willingness to reveal themselves and therefore something about the human condition. All the other stuff is just surface and, apparently, impressive to idiots.
She had no craft, R16. She was the same person whether in Long Day''s Journey into Night or in Bringing Up Baby. Just laughed more in one than the other. She didn''t even try to vary her facial expressions. Always the same person.\
That said, I like her a lot and some of her movies are classics. But I think R6 explained it well. No one wanted to see her with a different accent, or overweight, or all hunchbacked and lame. Audiences wanted to look at the screen and say, "There''s Katharine Hepburn!"
Gail Patrick once had her own clothing line
Just can''t help doing this but R17, you really need to learn English before you post. R10 is singular... so not "their ilk." And then you switch to the second person after starting your attack in the third person. Poor. Again, in the second sentence in the second paragraph, "a person" is singular, not plural, so "they" is wrong. You do that again in the next clause. And so on...\
Worse, your argument makes no sense. We all know it is impossible for one person to become another. We are talking about acting, not Freaky Friday.
[quote]She makes people feel safe - just like Meryl Streep. This is why they are called ''great actors'', because they make you think that the Great Lie is actually your truth.\
"Safe?" Is that what they''re calling it these days?
Count me as another who never cared for her acting -- an interesting person, maybe, but uninteresting to watch as an actress. \
Of course her performances are different, but what''s the same about them is the lack of subtlety, of nuance, of emotional depth, of portraying an individual; instead we get a the same series of nervous ticks, brittle archness, the jackal laugh, and a thin, always opaque veneer -- an actress playing the part of an actress playing a part.
Impressive versatility - used here in the sense of marked character differentiation - and great acting are not synonymous.%0D
Many great actors are not particularly versatile.%0D
Commendably versatile actors are not necessarily possessed of the inventiveness, passion, irony, humor, verisimilitude, expressiveness and utilization of the self, blending of mystery and clarity, psychological and or dramaturgical truth, and or sheer craft to place them among the greatest actors.%0D
Versatility is a fine quality in acting but it is neither a necessary nor a sufficient one for greatness.%0D
Hepburn, a unique and, for a great many people much loved screen personality, has recognizable signature qualities easily identified in a great many - but IMHO by no means all - of her performances. %0D
However, that does not make these "Hepburny" characters identical in spirit, thought, physicality, history, objective, obstacle, tonality or values. %0D
It may also be noted that Hepburn was highly adept at physical comedy (Bringing Up Baby), sophisticated comedy (Philadelphia Story, Lion in Winter), wistful romance (Summertime, one of her greatest achievements), light domestic socially inflected comedy (Guess Whose Coming to Dinner), and poetic drama (Long Days Journey), which speaks well, in quite another sense, of her versatility.%0D
Additionally, it is simply not the case that others who, perhaps even more than Ms. Hepburn, were renowned for their unique, and in some cases minimally varying, screen personalities - Mae West, W.C. Fields, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Goldie Hawn, Charles Chaplin, Anna Magnani, Jack Lemmon, Rosalind Russell, Cary Grant, Claude Raines, Agnes Moorehead, Greta Garbo, Dustin Hoffman - were not superb actors. %0D
This constant cry on DL judging great acting merely on some limited definition of "versatility" is cliche, shortsighted, boring and ignorant.
To me, the best performances are often those that are properly cast. The Philadelphia Story was written for KH, for example. The characters in many of her films called for someone like her in the role. Think African Queen and many of her films with Spencer Tracy.\
I''m no expert on her, but I suspect her dislike of Meryl Streep''s performances (and maybe the actress herself) was that Meryl becomes completely different in each role. That is her intention and it is what she does. I think that KH may have believed that a role called for her to be a version of herself. She may have thought that all Meryl''s transformations to play her roles were getting in the way of this essential person showing through. I think it is just 2 different interpretations of acting, 2 generations apart. Cary Grant was a lot like KH in that he typically played a version of himself. That is what audiences wanted to see. And they were contemporaries.
Well, she sure was different in "On Golden Pond."\
Thank the baby jesus and all of his apostles for the honesty of the OP. I have never gotten the hype regarding THIS particular Hepburn. Kay was sooo wooden, mannered and downright smug in every part that she made Audrey look like her generation''s Meryl.
"she went to her grave insisting George Cukor was not gay."%0D\
And that she was straight
Reading one of the bios on her and it seems like she was a royal cunt to everyone during the run of COCO.
And here we simply digress into the campy camps of the "Kate Haters" and "Kate Lovers," the latter at least being capable of having a laugh over some of the travesties.\
R18''s pronouncements on "craft" and inability to discern a difference between the performances she notes land her butt in the former camp, and it''s simply silly. Yeah, Gladys, sure, you''re right because you say so and you have seen ever so many movies in your life. Your quote of R6 doesn''t explain a lack of taste or discernment on your part, but you will see what you expect to see, so go ahead. \
I also think African Queen is a bit of a tour de force for both Hepburn and Bogart.%0D\
There are a few great actresses today that could pull that one off, like Streep, Blanchet-but Hepburn was sublime, as she was in Lion in Winter. She used part of her personality and character and mannerisms to create great and believable characters. She was not a chameleon, nor were most actresses of her day particularly screen actresses. But she was great nevertheless. %0D\
More than one way to get to great acting you know. Her accent, such as it was, was real. Not taught, not a learned affect.
While we''re on the subject, here are a few you could be focusing on instead:\
Bette Fucking Davis\
and how about\
[italic] The Calla Lillies ahr in blum to-day. [/italic]
The only movies I really like her in are Summertime, The African Queen and Adam''s Rib.
someday op, [r26] and [r31] when you are all grown up, you will realize that what you think doesn''t amount to a hill of beans. I could write you list that would go on for days about what I don''t get about what is so popular.
I learned that a long time ago.
She was a great star no question about it. A decent comebienne in the right role. With the African Queen she morphed into her "spinster" persona where she remained for the next 30+ years. Arguably great in LDJIN.
Not a fan of Kate, and from what I''ve read she was not a person to like, but I appreciate her star presence, and within her limited range, she was quite a good actress.\
Now, the hamfisted overactor that Meryl Streep has become ... that''s another story.
Never much of a fan of hers but I think stardom is interesting to analyze -- why this one becomes a star but that one doesn't---and never more so than with Hepburn.
Imo, she rose to stardom in the Great Depression because for some strange reason the poor and struggling masses wanted to 'escape' by watching films featuring women with class, wealth (the roles Hepburn and Colbert played) or films with exotic foreign women (Garbo and Dietrich). Otherwise, I think Hepburn would never have succeeded in films with that brittle Eastern seaboard voice and manne.
By the 1940s, the public was sick of her and she was box office poison until Tracy came along and the public liked her films with him because he was rough Irish-American who ultimately put her in her place in all those films together.
The 50s -- the spinster era and she was revered by this point. Her two best films of her career are, just in my opinion, the 50s "Summertime" (directed by David Lean who knew how to control actors and get good performances) and "Long Day's Journey---" (directed by Sidney Lumet who also knew how to handle actors).
[quote]By the 1940s, the public was sick of her and she was box office poison until Tracy came along\
She was "box office poison" in the late 30s. She broke that with "The Philadelphia Story" - before Tracy.
Whether she is a great actress or not, I find that I can''t take my eyes off her when she''s on the screen.
Yes, "Philadelphia Story" was a sudden hit --and I say Grant and Stewart were reliable stars who deserve as much credit for it being a hit --but you look at her resume and see some of those awful films she continued to do in the 40s before the winning combo of Tracy and Hepburn. He really rescued her in that particular decade.
Hepburn is the Best Actress in history - 4 Oscars. Don''t think anyone will ever beat that, and that includes Streep.\
Her Oscar-winning performance in "The Lion in Winter" as Eleanor of Aquitaine opposite Peter O''Toole is amazing.
I will take Kath[bold]a[/bold]rine Hepburn over Meryl Streep any day.
I agree, R39. When she''s on, I don''t analyze, I just love watching her, whatever she''s doing -- she''s always fun to watch, period.
Streep has plunged headfirst into her own hype, which I never thought would happen. I guess now that the kids are all grown, she''s free to have fun. But there are times where she''s getting too close to late period Bette Davis territory. %0D\
Hepburn bought into her own hype to some degree, but she never allowed it to comnpletely consume her. There was always that constant quality to her work.
Thank you OP, never got it myself. Her whole career was like an ode to the stiff upper lip. Sure she acted like an emotionally repressed wasp well, but it''s like the emperor''s new clothes of acting. Nothing there.
The quote from an interview she did with Barbara Walters when she was cohosting the news with Harry Reasoner was something like, ''You can see when that Meryl person is acting and I don''t appreciate it. You can see her eyes firing like pistons in an engine and it''s clear that she''s thinking and plotting her next steps. She''ll be yesterday''s news by tomorrow."
I remember a great interview with George Cukor in which he talked about Hepburn''s screen test for her first film A Bill of Divorcement and how she astounded everyone becuase they''d never seen anything like her anywhere. He said that now we are all used to the concept of Katharine Hepburn but can you imagine what it was like seeing her for the very first time? She is and was truly unique.
Indeed, R47. I''m watching "Suddenly, Last Summer." She''s very odd, although completely wonderful and beautiful and charming. %0D\
It''s impossible to imagine someone as far from the all-American type as the young Hepburn was becoming a star today.
Love her, though I can understand why some don''t like here. \
She was a true style icon. I always liked that most people only had good things to say about her. Except the old queen cunt Beaton.
[quote]The Calla Lillies ahr in blum to-day.\
It''s "The calla lilies are in bloom again."\
Say what you will about her, Hepburn at least had a decent sense of humor about herself at that time--at her insistance the "calla lilies" line was imported straight from one of her "Miss Hepburn ran the gamut of emotions from A to B" (thank you, Dorothy Parker) Broadway bombs.\
I used to be a huge fan, but I find Bette Davis far more interesting as an actress. Davis went for broke in what and how she played--as skilled as Hepburn could be, she never gave you that impression. That being said, she was wonderful at comedy--if she never made another film after "Bringing Up Baby" she''d still be remembered.
And she was no slouch in "Adam''s Rib"
R41, you imbecile, number of awards has nothing to do with quality of work. %0D\
Are you one of those jerks who also thinks more ticket sales means better movies, theater and music?
R51 = Meryl Streep
I used to think that Katharine Hepburn''s remark about Streep being mechanical was both churlish and wrong.\
Then, I saw "The Hours." I wanted to scream at the screen: "Stop reacting! Just sit still and let the other person get a syllable out without twitching or changing emotional gears."\
I think Streep can be amazing -- a much better actress than Hepburn -- but she can also be annoying and very self-conscious.
"It''s impossible to imagine someone as far from the all-American type as the young Hepburn was becoming a star today."%0D\
Hepburn was a rich white girl with killer cheekbones from Connecticut who went to Bryn Mawr. She was a great athlete. And she was gorgeous. %0D\
She was certainly more "all-American" than Hilary Swank, Renee Zellweger, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Page, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christina Ricci, etc., etc., etc. %0D\
R54, of course Hepburn was right. You can always see the wheels turning when you watch Streep.
Eh. She was no great shakes.\
Watch the video I am linking to. Then please re read everything here and just go to her IMBD listing and have a nice time of things. %0D\
She used to answer her phone by saying: What? \
How can you not like someone like that?
LOVING all the other posters who do not bow to the altar of the Streep.... I thought I was the only one, and I''m an actor in NY, which seems to be sacred territory, Meryl-wise... \
Am I wrong, or has she only been truly unselfconsciously funny in one movie... "Postcards"? In every other "comic" performance, I think, she steps outside the situation and turns into a PTA mom winking at her kids... (well, not that bad, but not a PATCH on someone like Diane Keaton, Catherine O''Hara or Dianne Wiest?).\
And now, back to our regularly scheduled Hepburn.
Orbach''s, Bloomingdale''s, Best''s, but most definitely NOT Saks.
I like Meryl''s performance in "Death Becomes Her", but in most roles you can see her working.
r60, I think Streep would be the first to concede that she is not in O''Hara''s, Wiest''s or Keaton''s league as a comedic actress.%0D\
So fucking what?
Hepburn has a magnetism Streep can only dream of.
Hepburn was also a cultural icon of the time in a way in which Streep isn''t.\
Hepburn was a trailblazer for women''s rights, new attitudes on clothing etc.
Yeah, right. Closeted lesbian posing as adultress.
Was Hepburn also a big fan of Barbra Streisand? I know that Bette Davis and Greta Garbo adored Barbra.
I don''t know, R66, but Hepburn should not have had to share her Oscar for "The Lion in Winter" with Barbra.
I loved her in "The Lion in Winter" where she played the queen of 12th century Connecticut.
I wholeheartedly agree with you, OP.
Hepburn had wonderful chemistry with Spencer Tracy in everything I've seen with them. i love them in Adam's Rib, just magical. they may well have been both queer in real life but onscreen they're a perfect match. %0D
As others have noted, Hepburn was not a chameleon, but you don't have to be to be a great actor. Especially with comedians - from Chaplin to W.C. Fields to Woody Allen - you don't see any variation at all, they create a particular personality and then repeat it again and again in all their movies. But it doesn't follow that Chaplin couldn't act just because he always played the Little Tramp. you can be "limited" yet still "great."%0D
I think i prefer Hepburn to Streep. you never forget you're watching a performance with Streep, you can't get lost in the character's situation: she's easy to admire for her craft, but her technique always shows.%0D
i loathe Pauline Kael and disagree with practically all her opinions, but she wasn't wrong about Streep's visible technique. i admire her versatility - and her longevity - but she'll never be my favorite actress. i personally think Hepburn and Bette Davis were both greater actresses than Streep.
Peter O''Toole said in an interview on Charlie Rose a few years ago that Katherine Hepburn was his favorite co-star.
"Peter O''Toole said in an interview on Charlie Rose a few years ago that Katherine Hepburn was his favorite co-star."\
By all accounts, Hepburn was a lotta fun and very down to earth. Her domestic staff was with her for DECADES. She was also a generous woman and very loyal to her friends.
Madeline Kahn was a brilliant comedic actress who managed to be quite different from role to role and she did it effortlessly, not allowing much technique to show.
I couldn''t stand Kathy Hepburn. She really needed to get over her own importance and stop being jealous of the REAL actors.
Hepburn is always interesting on screen--but not as an actress. Her attempts at any emotional depth...well her superficiality gets in the way. She has a great surface, but that is all it is. Surface.\
As someone said, you are always aware you are watching a performance by Katherine Hepburn. Even Ginger Rogers acts rings around her in Stage Door.
Joan Rivers said she was a mean old dyke who gave her the creeps! But she said Katharine was sunshine and rainbows by comparison!
R76, what the fuck are you trying to say?
R75 = Meryl
I have never ever understood the appeal of Hepurn either. She was mannish and mannered and if you think you can see Meryl Streep "acting", Hepburn leaves a fucking road map with every role.
Could Streep have played Eleanor of Aquitaine as well as Hepburn?\
Hepburn could do drama and comedy, no small feat. Yes, she had a certain range within those categories, but within her range she was fantastic. Watch her in The Lion in Winter, and then the horror show of Glenn Close trying to play the same part and you''ll understand how good she was. In On Golden Pond she acts two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda off the screen.
In Lion in Winter she''s basically Tracy the sophisticated urban girl in a wimple pretending she''s at a medieval fair. Kathy H can''t pull off drama. Her only good roles were in vehicles like Bringing Up Baby etc where she talks fast and mugs for the camera--which is all she knew how to do.\
She was a great personality. A great role model. A great face. But she couldn''t act to save her life.
Hepburn and Davis were great romantic heroines. That''s why people still watch their big hits 60 or 70-odd years after the fact. %0D\
Which of Streep''s movies will people still watch in 2070? Heartburn?
Hepburn not only excelled at comedy and drama but also perfectly carried off period as well as contemporary characters. Hell, she even excllled at actions pics (The African Queen) and westerns (Rooster Cogburn).%0D\
Who else has all those genres successfully on their resumes? Certainly not Streep or even Davis.
Everyone forgets that she really did look good back before she got ''the shakes''. Hepburn was the most beautiful ''heroine'' with gumption. Stanwyck and Russell may have been stronger and funnier but they weren''t as beautiful as Hepburn. So you get someone who looks as good as a coquettish but can stand up against any leading man. Pure magic when done well. Oh and her chemistry with Cary Grant surpasses her so-called chemistry with Tracy....anyone ever see Holiday?
Hepburn was a personality who was an actress. As with all the greats from Hollywood's golden age, the actor, no matter what the role, brought something of him or herself to the part. It wasn't ABOUT being a "chameleon" back then and "losing oneself in a role." People wanted to see Barbra Stanwyck or Clark Gable or Roz Russell up there on the screen, first and foremost. The few actors, like Olivier, who professed to "lose themselves in a role" still really didn't. Whether it was Rebecca or The Entertainer, people knew they were watching Olivier. Same with Kate. That patrician, haughty, overly enunciated New Englander was front and center in every role. And she is/was someone's cup of tea or not. She lost her box office appeal in the late 30's, only to regain it with The Philadelphia Story. Hepburn was a genius at picking her own material from that point going forward. Once she became an independent, she knew what was right for her. At Metro, L.B. Mayer respected her in a way that he simply did not respect his other stable of actresses. I think he was probably a bit intimidated by her, actually. He was an uneducated European Jew and she was a Bryn Mawr American blueblood who represented everything he wanted to be.
Kate Hepburn was fearless in her acting, whether "limited" or not. She was strident, idiosyncratic and mannered. But, boy, she was all those things in spades. That was REALLY HER you saw up there in close up. No "click, click, click." And, again, you either "get" her or you don't. You either love her or you don't. But it's not hard to explain her. SHE would have been the first to say that about herself. She hated artifice, even in the face of pretense.
Well, when Peter O''Toole, who indeed admired Hepburn (he even names one of his daughters after her), was named as the recipient of an honorary Oscar, he specifically asked for Streep to be the one to present him with his award, which she did (it was the only time she was part of the show other than show up as a nominee). So I guess it''s not a given one must choose between them the way too many one track minds over here feel obliged to do.
I can''t really get into Meryl Streep. Her accent-ry turns me off and she has no charisma. I really wouldn''t call her America''s greatest actress. Hepburn''s criticism was right.
That was really well written and on point, R92. Thanks.
I tend to think of Davis as being a far more fearless actress. Dangerous, Beyond the Forest, Little Foxes, Baby Jane - she wasn''t afraid to play the monster or the bad girl.
This is the MGM''s 25th Anniversary luncheon, 10 minutes worth. Watch for Hep:
"Katharine Hepburn delivered a striking performance that ran the gamut of emotions, from A to B." \
- Dorothy Parker
Great clip r97. I love how George Murphy the MC says "Hi Luvee!" to Angela Lansbury.
She was a lesbian? Wasn''t she?
[italic]The most famous remark was said by Dorothy Parker '' She runs the garmut from A to B''. \
The same Dorothy Parker who, said to Garson Kanin after he had asked her %E2%80%93 why Katharine Hepburn was a favorite of hers. ''I thought you didn''t like her.'' ''Me?'' said Dorothy Parker. ''I don''t think there''s a finer actress anywhere.'' But what about ''all the way from A to B?'' Garson Kanin asked Dorothy Parker. ''Or didn%E2%80%99t you say it? Or do you think she improved?'' Dorothy Parker sighed, ''Oh, I said it all right. You know how it is. A joke.'' ''When people expect you to say things and you say things. Isn''t it the way it is.'']\
Source: Garson Kanin - An Intimate Memoir - 1971[/italic]
Loved it when Hepburn referred to Parker''s crack in her Dick Cavett interview. "The gumuttttttttt from Ayyyy to Beeeee" all in her metallic diction.
Did Kate and Bette Davis know one another at all? I can''t recall ever seeing a photo of the two of them together.
I don''t think Davis and Hepburn ever interacted. They were in different circles, Davis was completely enmeshed at Warners and Hepburn freelanced. Davis always spoke of Hepburn with respect bordering on reverence. I don''t think that Hepburn ever spoke of Davis at all. Hepburn was a blue blood Yankee and Davis came from Lowell (where The Fighter took place) and was raised by her mother.-%0D\
Hepburn''s performance record was more consistent (if a bit overrated) whereas Davis body of work is erratic. Still the performances that Davis gave at Warner''s between 1938-1945 are the finest put forward by an American actress. The performaces that Davis gave in "The Letter" "Jezebel" "Now Voyager" "The Old Maid" and "The Little Foxes" Hepburn could never dream of giving.
I love Hepburn, but I''ve always preferred Davis. I think Davis was the more versatile actress, and just such a unique (some would say borderline crazy) personality. %0D\
I can''t imagine Katharine Hepburn playing Margot Channing and being half as great as Bette Davis was.
Hepburn''s version of the "bad girl" were seen in Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story. She knew as well as anyone that she could never be believable as lower class or even working class bad. %0D\
And her "good girl" working class portrayals...Summertime, The Rainmaker, The Desk Set and The African Queen were all well-mannered and luminous.%0D\
Yes, it''s true. She never played a guttersnipe.
"I can''t imagine Katharine Hepburn playing Margot Channing and being half as great as Bette Davis was."\
You may be right on that one.\
I don''t think Bette Davis would have been as good as Kate in "The Lion in Winter".
I could easily see Bette opposite Spencer Tracy in all of those 40s/50s films but could never imagine her opposite Cary Grant in the earlier films.
Bette Davis revelled in playing low-class guttersnipes and excelled at them. On the other hand, she could also play upper-class characters just as well. Hepburn could only do upper-class.
She was named number ONE female screen legend of the 20th Century by American Film Institute.%0D\
A few of the resons are given on the attached link.%0D\
Who are YOU, OP?
It''s called the power of personality, though she was a damn fine actress as well.
I read a biography about her once (2 decades ago?) and all I remember from it is: 1) her brother hung himself in the attic of the family home; and 2) she sweated constantly. %0D\
I''m wondering now if all the sweating indicates she had an anxiety disorder.
I remember Bette Davis saying that she and Hepburn don''t know each other. She also said that she wrote Hepburn a letter after that "awful" Garson Kanin book came out and never received a response.
I think Hepburn didn''t like to associate with someone as deranged as Bette Davis. I read about Davis that people would be worried when going on that she''d be causing on of her scenes. Hepburn was very local to her old friends from back East and didn''t mingle as much with the Hollywood crowd.
Now that I think of it, I don''t believe Katharine Hepburn was friends with any other actresses, either of her generation or younger with the possible exception of Jane Fonda. Marlene Dietrich was the same way. They were friends with plenty of male stars, but not females.
Make of Hepburn what you will but to suggest that she was a genius when picking her films after "Philadelphia Story" resuscitated her career is ridiculous. "Dragon Seed". Sea of Grass", that awful Clara Schuman performance in some film called "Without Love", there were a couple of others --- all done after "Philadelphia Story" and all quite bad!\
As for "African Queen", I never bought that some woman that neurotic and that prim would ever have managed to survive in Africa for a day much less years. I thought it was a misguided performance, for all her talk about Eleanor Roosevelt was an inspiration. (Bogey was damn good though.)
Kate received an Oscar nomination for The African Queen and would have won had Vivien Leigh not been nominated that year for A Streetcar Named Desire.
Bette Davis was not deranged. Away from the cameras, she was actually down to earth. Unlike most hollywood types, she did her own cooking and cleaning around the house. There was no entourage following her around. She came and left the studio every day by herself. Her craziness has been inflated due to that book her lunatic daughter wrote about her. %0D\
I would say Davis was more down to earth than Hepburn. Kate had her own bizzare behaviors, between the not eating out at restaurants to the Garbo-esque reclusiveness. Davis worked and promoted, she knew the routine.
[quote] Loved it when Hepburn referred to Parker''s crack in her Dick Cavett interview. "The gumuttttttttt from Ayyyy to Beeeee" all in her metallic diction.\
She (mis)pronounced it "guh-MUTT" with the accent on the second syllable. I thought it was funny that she mispronounced it; she always seemed so sure of herself and convinced that she was right about everything.
R121, Bette Davis was one of the most vicious actresses in history.\
She was nice away from the cameras? That''s not what her own daughter said.
Hepburn didn''t eat at restaurants? I didn''t know that - what was her reason?%0D\
Bette Davis was quite an eccentric woman and she had a drinking problem for her entire adult life, and there are also numerous stories about her being obnoxious at parties when she was half in the bag, especially in her later years. Overall though, she wasn''t a total nutcase and if you caught her in the right mood she could be very pleasant and funny.%0D\
Years ago, there was a thread here on DL and somebody who was acquainted with Davis in the 1970/1980s posted a few stories and they were hilarious.
Didn''t Bette Davis act verbally abusive to Helen Hayes once?
Davis''s "own daughter" inherited her grandmother''s (Bette''s mother Ruthie''s) religious mania, as well as possibly more severe mental illness.
You mean THIS daughter? If she hated Bette so much, why did she have Bette support her and her family for so many years?%0D\
Bette''s son and Gary Merrill both said the book was bullshit. %0D\
I think Helen Hayes helped Bette Davis get a part in her later years when she was no longer at her peak, and yet Davis was nasty to her. I think Hayes said she was shocked at how horrible she was.
Well r119, that''s precisely the fun of The African Queen and her character! And she recognized it. Do you really think it would have been a better film and characterization if Kate played her as a well-prepared Girl Scout?
W/R/T Bette Davis: Yeah she was a unique chick with a thing or two but her daughter wrote a book chock full of fibbing about her. See, her daughter thought Bette Davis was soon to pass on because of a stroke she had. So, her daughter went to town on the book and figured her own mother would be dead before it came out. %0D\
But, Bette Davis was made of wrought iron old school Yankee steel and did not die. She even wrote a book called "This ''N That" and told her own daughter off in the final chapter of the book.%0D\
Hepburn was a loyal and caring friend to Judy Garland.
Well, I mean....who wasn''t verbally abusive to Helen Hayes?
Mrs. Irving Thalberg
IIRC Esther Williams devotes a whole chapter of her bio Million Dollar Mermaid to the drunkeness of Bette Davis. And another one to the drunkeness of Joan Crawford. And then, most famously, another one to Jeff Chandler''s polka dot dress afinities.
Fernando Lamas'' starched linen pants
I really think Bette''s ten-year marriage to that drunken whack job Gary Merrill is what finally sent her over the edge. He really psychologically tortured her to the point where she was just "off" for the rest of her life.
Look, ALL of them were alcoholics, all of them.%0D\
"She was nice away from the cameras? That''s not what her own daughter said"%0D\
Like my own father. He was a a doll at the office and with other people, just a shit around the house with his family. And an alcoholic.
Bette Davis was a lot more emotionally unstable than Katharine Hepburn ever could be.
Gore Vidal does a fabulous impression of Katharine Hepburn complaining about playing the matriarch in Suddenly Last Summer, which he wrote. %E2%80%9CI hate this script,%E2%80%9D he recalls Hepburn saying . %E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99m far too healthy a person to know people like this.%E2%80%9D Vidal snorts. %E2%80%9CShe had Parkinson%E2%80%99s. She shook like a leper in the wind.%E2%80%9D
I thought she was just some scary old lady, but when I finally watched her movies from the 30s I could see the appeal - she was MODERN before her time.
I enjoyed reading the passages about Kate in Arthur Laurents'' memoirs, especially the part about how Laurents confronted her after Garson Kanin quoted her as stating that there was no such thing as male homosexuality.
"Hepburn was a loyal and caring friend to Judy Garland"%0D\
LOL. That''s because she was hoping to make her. Even in her obese state.
Katharine Hepburn teaches you how to audition. It''s very informative.
"LOL. That''s because she was hoping to make her. Even in her obese state."\
Hepburn was more into the flat-chested, slender athletic types.
Love this quote from Vidal:\
Vidal now believes, as he did originally, Clinton would be the better president. %E2%80%9CHillary knows more about the world and what to do with the generals. History has proven when the girls get involved, they%E2%80%99re good at it. Elizabeth I knew Raleigh would be a good man to give a ship to.%E2%80%9D
A Delicate Balance is one of her films that doesn''t get mentioned much. She was fierce, wistful and at times very funny perfectly delivering Edward Albee''s wry dialogue. 15 years older then Paul Scofield they were believable as husband and wife. 23 years older then Kate Reid they were believable as sisters. Promoting this movie led to the celebrated Dick Cavett interview.\
There was her speech to her husband about how during sex after the death of their son he would "pull out and spill yourself on my belly. Don''t leave me like this..."\
She played Shakespeare and Shaw on stage. Though she couldn''t sing\
she made COCO and event. An elderly deceased friend once told me, "She was all wrong for it but she worked her ass off and was great!" \
Yes, she played up The Yankee Grand Dame shtick as she got older but there are enough movies where she really was superb to warrant legendary reputation.
She had gumption!
She was just so beautiful at her peak.
I'm bumping this thread to say, Hepburn was one of the worst actors in cinema history.
A pretty good book on the subject Gods Like Us points out that our need for stars has changed. It used to be about seeing a movie to see Kate, not about seeing a movie that Kate acted in. The author sort of credits Brando with starting that change.
She's not whorish and coarse enough for DL.
Hepburn's "style" influenced women over DECADES.
[quote]A pretty good book on the subject Gods Like Us points out that our need for stars has changed. It used to be about seeing a movie to see Kate, not about seeing a movie that Kate acted in. The author sort of credits Brando with starting that change.
True. Hepburn was more a personality, (like Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Tallulah Bankhead) than she was an actress.
[quote]Hepburn's "style" influenced women over DECADES.
Her [italic]acting[/italic] style?
r151 ... should have been more specific. Her sense of style dress-wise.
I think those who love Meryl should know that there are those who watch her performances and think "look there's Meryl pretending to be _."
I do see Meryl in every role she does, for me it looks like she is trying very hard at pretending to be whatever.
[quote]I think those who love Meryl should know that there are those who watch her performances and think "look there's Meryl pretending to be _." I do see Meryl in every role she does, for me it looks like she is trying very hard at pretending to be whatever.
And, you don't think it's easier to Hepburn in any of her roles?
Sorry, I meant to write:
And, you don't think it's easier to [italic]see[/italic] Hepburn in any of her roles?