Filled Under: Katharine Hepburn
“Bringing Up Baby” is a 1938 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The movie tells the story of a paleontologist (Cary Grant) winding up in various predicaments involving a woman (Katharine Hepburn) with a unique sense of logic and a leopard named “Baby”. “Baby” is played by Nissa, an eight year old female leopard. “George,” the bone-hiding pup belonging to Katharine Hepburn’s aunt in the movie is played by Skippy, aka. ‘Asta’ of “The Thin Man” (1934) fame. The rest of the supporting cast includes Charles Ruggles, Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Catlett, and May Robson.
On the set of “The African Queen” (1951)
“The African Queen” is a 1951 adventure drama film adapted from the 1935 novel of the same name by C. S. Forester. The film was directed by John Huston and produced by Sam Spiegel and John Woolf. The screenplay was adapted by James Agee, John Huston, John Collier and Peter Viertel. It was photographed in Technicolor by Jack Cardiff and had a music score by Allan Gray. The film stars Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn with Robert Morley, Peter Bull, Walter Gotell, Richard Marner and Theodore Bikel. Humphrey Bogart won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for “The African Queen”. The movie also recieved three other Academy Award nominations: Best Actress in a Leading Role nomination for Katharine Hepburn, Best Director nomination for John Huston, and a Best Writing, Screenplay nomination for James Agee and John Huston. “The African Queen” has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, with the Library of Congress deeming it “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.
Throughout her 66-year career, Katharine Hepburn appeared in 44 feature films, eight television movies and 33 plays. In a career that spanned 62 years as a leading lady, Hepburn was best known for playing strong-willed, sophisticated women in both dramas and comedies. She is the winner of a record four Academy Awards for Best Actress and her twelve total Academy Award nominations are surpassed by only Meryl Streep. Katharine Hepburn was named by the American Film Institute as the greatest female star in the history of American cinema.
Picking your favorite Katharine Hepburn movies is like choosing between gems of equal value and brilliance. Just about any of her movies could make a top five list. The following are my top five Katharine Hepburn movies that I enjoyed the most in no particular order. (This is my list today, by tomorrow it may change…..)
Jean Maitland (Ginger Rogers): “We started off on the wrong foot. Let’s stay that way.”
“Stage Door” (1937 – RKO), adapted from the play by the same name, tells the story of several would-be actresses who live together in a boarding house at 158 West 58th Street in New York City. The film stars Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, Adolphe Menjou, Gail Patrick, Constance Collier, Andrea Leeds, Samuel S. Hinds and Lucille Ball. Eve Arden and Ann Miller (who become famous in later films) play minor characters. The film was adapted by Morrie Ryskind and Anthony Veiller from the play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman. The play’s storyline and the characters’ names were almost totally completely changed for the movie, so much so in fact that Kaufman joked the film should be called “Screen Door”.
“Stage Door” follows a boardinghouse full of aspiring actresses and their ambitions, dreams and disappointments. Terry Randall (Katharine Hepburn), is an aspiring actress from a wealthy Midwestern family, and a new-comer at the Footlights Club, a modest New York boardinghouse, where she is greeted by a bevy of world-weary actresses and chorus girls. Terry’s haughty manner and highbrow tastes immediately alienate her from her fellow “troopers” who pride themselves on their sharp wit and down-to-earth style. Jean Maitland (Ginger Rogers), Terry’s roommate, is a wise-cracking dancer who resents Terry’s lavish wardrobe and judgmental attitudes. Because of her dubious liaison with theatrical producer Anthony “Tony” Powell (Adolphe Menjou), a notorious womanizer, Jean also dislikes another housemate, the sophisticated Linda Shaw (Gail Patrick). Loved by all of the women, however, is Kay Hamilton (Andrea Leeds), a high-strung dedicated actress who, although receiving rave notices for a play that she had starred in the previous year, has since been unable to find work. Miss Luther (Constance Collier) is an aging actress who is Terry’s only supporter and who appoints herself Terry’s mentor. Cynical Judith (Lucille Ball), feisty Eve (Eve Arden), and a young lively Annie (Ann Miller) round out the boardinghouse residents.
Other characters include Samuel S. Hinds as Hepburn’s father, Jack Carson as a Seattle lumberman, Grady Sutton as a butcher’s helper, Frank Reicher as a stage director, Franklin Pangborn as as a hiloarious butler, and Ralph Forbes in the role of Hepburn’s stage spouse.
The entire cast is excellent and the movie is fast paced with snappy dialogue and lively banter. Sharp and humorous, with heart and heartbreaking tragedy, “Stage Door” is a must see for all classic movie fans.
Stage Door was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and Leeds was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress.
“Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.” ~ Katharine Hepburn
“Life can be wildly tragic at times, and I’ve had my share. But whatever happens to you, you have to keep a slightly comic attitude. In the final analysis, you have got not to forget to laugh.” ~ Katharine Hepburn
“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, only with what you are expecting to give, which is everything.” ~ Katharine Hepburn
“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done, as long as I enjoyed it at the time.” ~ Katharine Hepburn
“I often wonder whether men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” ~ Katharine Hepburn
“I find a woman`s point of view much grander and finer than a man’s.” ~ Katharine Hepburn
“I’m a personality as well as an actress. Show me an actress who isn’t a personality, and you’ll show me a woman who isn’t a star.” ~ Katharine Hepburn