Saturday, June 11, 2011

Katharine Hepburn in "The Philadelphia Story"

Katharine Hepburn received her third Oscar nomination for playing Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story.

The Philadelphia Story is a classic, however I'm not that fond of it. This kind of comedy can work if the charm is not forced into the viewer's faces and for me, it was like being slapped continuously very slowly. I can see how people love it, but I'm simply not one of them. The story of a spoiled heiress who finds herself torn between three men - her past love, her present love, and a considerate love.

Katharine Hepburn plays the spoiled and witty Tracy Lord. She is a bit arrogant of her riches and seems to make a show of herself. She has a direct point and will do anything to get her point across - a woman not to be messed with basically. All the men fawn over her, even if they resent her, like her ex-husband. Hepburn is able to play the most obvious aspects of Tracy with ease, however to me, she sticks to one note. She finds the balance of dedicated and arrogant woman & sticks with it. There's no in between the character.

This is probably Kate's most iconic role, yet in many ways, in one of my least favorites. To see the screwball, battle of the sexes comedy go from point A to point B and Hepburn's performance never feels realistic. Sure, she nails those sarcastic one liners easily, having already established herself on the stage with this character, it's easy to see how much she knew how to handle Tracy. But, still The Philadelphia Story never lets the characters develop, only worrying about their next punchline. Hepburn obviously knew this and decided to throw herself more emotionally into the character offering a few terrific moments. But again, I don't really understand what always keeps me from completely praising the performance.


Louis Morgan said...

I agree basically. She was best of the cast, but that is not really saying all that much. I also never really have found the appeal of this film.

dinasztie said...

I agree.

joe burns said...

Sort of what I expected, I suspect she'll be third or fourth.