Sunday, July 26, 2015

Katharine Hepburn: The Not So Great Kate

When we noted Bette Davis was the best actress of the 20th century, Katharine Hepburn freaks e-mailed and have continued to do so in the six years since.

They rave over her cheekbones and her breeding.

We're not impressed by either.

We just note that  the reality is that Hepburn's a so-so actress.


As producer Pandro Berman once noted of Hepburn, she couldn't carry a film and was bad in bad films and good in good films.

By contrast, Bette Davis could -- and did -- give a performance even with weak material.

Hepburn is an embarrassment in multiple films.

Here are ten of her worst performances ever.

1) The Iron Petticoat

She's no Greta Garbo and shouldn't have tried to be.

2) The Sea of Grass

So bad MGM delayed releasing it forever.  A film that proves Hepburn and Tracy needed strong writing to appear to have chemistry.

3) Dragon Seed

Hepburn couldn't play Russian (see number 1) and she also couldn't play Chinese.

4) Rooster Cogburn

Many actresses had chemistry with John Wayne.  Many more, like Joan Crawford, didn't but found a way to make the film amusing.  Hepburn just draws attention to herself and her sexless presence.

5) Spitfire

Hepburn was once convinced she could play Booth Tarkington's Cherry.  If she had played that role, that might have provided her with the most ridiculous lines of dialogue.  Instead, she has this film.

6) Quality Street 

Little Women aside, she really couldn't do period dramas.

7) Song Of Love 

And was equally lost in bio pics.

8) Suddenly, Last Summer 

While Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor turned in fine performances, what the hell was Hepburn doing?  She would slam the film (and spit at the producer) but maybe the real problem was her dead acting?

9) Love Affair 

She was jealous of other actresses.  Over 80 and jealous of other actresses?  How sad and it goes a long, long way towards explaining how she ended up with this clenched and embarrassing performance.

10) On Golden Pond 

Hepburn is simply ridiculous in this film.  Pauline Kael noted in The New Yorker in real that the actress "has become a Kate Hepburn windup doll-chipper and lyrical, floating in the stratosphere, and, God knows, spunky. Her star turn is a parody of the great Hepburn performances-it's all pirouettes."

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