Remembering the Great Kate

“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-
b74be7ef5cd43211266546c6c176a350
Katharine Hepburn. The only thing that is not unique about her is this last name “Hepburn”. As for the rest, the lady was, and will always be one of a kind. Today, the one who was also called “The Great Kate” would have been 109. Unfortunately, Katharine left us in 2003 at the fair age of 96.
Even if she’s not with us anymore, that’s not a reason for us, her fans, not to honour her on this marvellous day. For the occasion, Margaret Perry is once again hosting The Great Katharine Hepburn Blogathon. Of course, it’s with joy that I’m participating to it again, as I had so much fun last year. You see, Katharine Hepburn is one of the most interesting subjects to talk about. For my contribution, I won’t write about a particular film of hers, but will simply honour her with a text explaining why she’s a favourite of mine.
KH-Blogathon-2016
At first, Katharine Hepburn is generally known for having won no less than four Oscars (Morning Glory, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, The Lion in Winter and On Golden Pond), for her love affair with Howard Hughes (we are now all thinking about Scorsese’ The Aviator), for creating Hollywood’s most famous love story with Spencer Tracy (as well as starring in some movies with him), for her partnership with Cary Grant in four films and for often been under the direction of George Cuckor. But Katharine Hepburn, it’s much more than that. I can’t say I know a lot about her personal life, but what the lady simply transmits to us by her presence on screen is enough for us to have our attention kept and, if this one is (which will obviously be the case), to be more and more curious about her.
c6fd298e7d8f3c412769424f46898b56
Kate and Spencer. Love is beautiful.
I perfectly remember when I first saw a photo of Katharine Hepburn. Like most of my favourite movie stars, it was in this book called “Les stars de cinéma”. I was looking at the pictures of all those marvellous stars that I was about to discover with my mother. I remember, when we arrived at Kate’s pages, my mother said “Oh yes, Katharine Hepburn is a great actress”. It’s funny, because my mother hadn’t really seen any of her movies except On Golden Pond, but this only proves us that Katharine Hepburn has a great reputation, even among those who don’t know her very well. Of course, my mother has seen more Katharine Hepburn’s films now, thanks to me, and I think she’s a favourite of hers too now! I was very happy when, after watching Women of the Year for the second time together, she told me: “Yes, I pretty like Katharine Hepburn! She’s a great actress” 🙂 Or well, something like that.
katharine-hepburn-1935
One of the pictures in the book. I have this one as a poster too!
Before I saw any of her films, Katharine Hepburn was always presented to me as “The greatest actress ever”. So, of course, I had to discover her. If my memory is good, the first Katharine Hepburn’s film I ever saw was Holiday (George Cukor, 1938). Of course, it has the right ingredients to be a very representative Katharine Hepburn’s film: It was directed by George Cukor and her male co-star was Cary Grant. I’ve only seen this film twice. First time I watched it, I liked it, but I liked it better the second time (which was very recently). There is some stuff that I could understand better after a few years. However, the thing magical with Katharine is that, even if the film isn’t really good, she’s always there to save it. I recently watched Pat and Mike and honestly didn’t really like it. I don’t say that it’s not a good film, but I found it somehow boring. It just didn’t grab my attention. Luckily, the best thing about this film was her beloved Kate. I wonder what it would have been without her. She has such a presence!
946348f52feaa40dece746b784bd4725
With Cary Grant in Holiday.

This song is forever stuck in my head:

That “presence” stuff makes me think about why Katharine Hepburn is so admired. Everything she does on screen is so perfectly well-calculated, depending on her character, the story, the situation, etc. The way she talks, moves, look at the other character (I love the way she looks at Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby), etc. is always neat. That voice! That unique voice! Some people could find it annoying, but it’s part of her personality, we can’t take it away from her. I must admit I’ve tried to imitate it, but no one can do it better than Kate herself. It’s a voice we’ll recognize everywhere. I can perfectly hear her saying “Oh but I can’t, I have a lease.” while I’m writing those words.
Yes, Katharine Hepburn certainly put all the energy she had in her on-screen performances. Thanks to her, her characters are so vivid, so present. She’s like a filter for the whole movie. She never hesitates. She’s such a great actress that it makes us wonder how she was in real life. Certainly a great lady! But what I mean here, is, how can you stop acting when you’re so talented? It simply seems addictive. Ok, I guess that’s why certain actors are called talented. It’s because they themselves can make the difference between a film and reality. I’m not an actress!
f332ca3cd21af62541f55305508ea980
However, Katharine Hepburn doesn’t only amaze us by her acting. To satisfy us, the lady simply needs to “be”. Cary Grant once said “Everybody wants to be Cary Grant, even I want to be Cary Grant”. Well, Kate should have said that about herself too. Do I want to be Katharine Hepburn? DAMN YES! Even if Katharine Hepburn is my fifth favourite actress (but I consider her to be among the three most talented), she’s certainly one of those who inspire me the most. There’s so many things that Kate says in her films that I would like to say in everyday life. I must be frank with you, I’m impatiently waiting the occasion to say “Go on Baby, down the stairs!” Ok, I wonder when this will happen… I must admit that I often said to myself that I should try the “Susan Vance method” to grad a guy. 😉 Kate also makes me do weird things, but that’s part of the amusement: I’ve tried TWICE to do the egg trick from Woman of the Year (separate the white and the yellow with a strainer). I’ll tell you, IT DOESN’T WORK, but it’s really nice to do because you have the feeling you’re Kate (I’m so thankful that eggs exist). ❤ For a 15 second of glory, why not being Kate? 🙂
200_s
But, overall, Kate is the perfect strong woman model . She can be admired alright, not only for her acting abilities, but also for what she transmits to us. From what I know of Kate’s life, I think she was a very independent woman and somehow a feminist model. Some marvellous things she said certainly prove my point:
” I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done; As long as I enjoyed it at the time.”
“[on marriage] It’s bloody impractical. “To love, honor, and obey”. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t have to sign a contract.”
“I find a woman’s point of view much grander and finer than a man’s.”
“Only when a woman decides not to have children, can a woman live like a man. That’s what I’ve done.”
She certainly knew how to talk and how to be clear!
It was known that the lady was mostly wearing trousers, making her a revolutionary fashion icon. But, even in her movies she was one. How can we forget all those hats she wears in her films. Kate certainly was a hat’s head! As for the clothes, everything always seems to suit her perfectly, even rags. I think Katharine Hepburn was often wearing a red vest. Well, I have one myself, and, each time I  wear it (which is often), I think of Kate. 🙂
Anwyay, what the world would have been without Katharine Hepburn? What her co-stars would have been without her? Katharine Hepburn always seemed to have a perfect chemistry with the actors and actresses she was working with (young and old). Not always necessarily and  good off-screen chemistry, but certainly a good on-screen one. That was part of her professionalism. Kate made shining stars shine even more. She didn’t overshadowe them, she made them her equal (ok, I’m talking like James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story) in an unconscious way. She was a great and respectable lady from A to Z. She was a queen.
240f9f2a583c8e47b9045a8071f6be93
Before leaving you, I have to reveal a little top list of my 10 most favourite Katharine Hepburn’s films. What do you think? Otherwise it wouldn’t been  a worthy article for this blog. 😉
1- Bringing Up Baby (and my second favourite movie of all times)
4- Little Women (I just love this scene with Joan Bennett when she shows her how to faint!)
5- Woman of the Year
6- On Golden Pond
7- The Rainmaker
8- Suddenly, Last Summer
9- Guess Who’s Comming to Dinner
10- Holiday
The film itself is not on the list, but I have to give an honorable mention to The Lion in Winter, because that certainly was one of Kate’s greatest performances.
I also invite you to watch my video tribute to her.
Since last Thursday, I watched a bunch of Katharine Hepburn’s films (some I had never seen, some I already saw). Of course, I’m going to watch more today. I will cook her famous brownies as well and read the other contributions for the blogathon. What a grant Kate’s day it will be!
d24ab35c8506edf9fbcc07acc22851ff
I, of course, want to thank Margaret for organizing this great event again. You can read the contributions here:
I’ll leave you with this quote by Katharine Hepburn that is a favourite of mine, because it makes me think so much of me. I love Kate’s mentality!
“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”
Happy heavenly birthday beautiful Kate! ❤
tumblr_n5heyjhOub1s5e5bko1_400
I think this is my favourite Kate’s moment.

Top of the World: 15 Favourite Winning Oscar Performances by an Actress

Are you ready for a new top list? I know you are! I’ve promised myself to come back with a new one every week and, so far, I haven’t really kept my promise… But I’m working on it!

So, today, I present you my top 15 favourite Oscar winning performances by an actress (to those who won for BEST ACTRESS. For BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, we’ll have to look at a futur top). I first wanted to do a top of my favourite performances by an actress without considering the Oscar wins, but it was too difficult as I have too many favourite performances! So, this seemed to be a good compromise, and I’m quite satisfied with my choices!

Of course, this list is very subjective. My top 1 might not be your top one, and your top 3 might not be my top 3. It’s not an objective list. These are just my personal choices and the first objective of this list is really just to entertain you and share my cinematic tastes with you.

To make this more thrilling, I’ll present you my choices in descending order. So, number one will be a more surprise for you!

But even if this is a subjective list, I do hope you’ll like it (or well, at least 1 or 2 of my choices ahah)! :O

Ok, here we go!

15. Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy – Bruce Beresford, 1989)

14. Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking – Tim Robbins, 1995)

13. Faye Dunaway (Network – Sidney Lumet, 1976)

Well, I do hope Faye would have won the Oscar for Bonnie and Clyde, but I also love her performance in Network (otherwise she wouldn’t be on the list!)

12. Joan Fontaine (Suspicion – Alfred Hitchcock, 1941)

The only actress/actor who ever won an Oscar for a performance in an Hitchcock’s film. Now that’s quite a moment in Oscar history! And she was great!

11. Diane Keaton (Annie Hall – Woody Allen, 1977)

Imagine if, being too shocked by the emotion of winning an Oscar she would have said “Ladida ladida la la” as an acceptance speech!

10. Natalie Portman (Black Swan – Darren Aronofsky, 2010)

9. Ingrid Bergman (Gaslight – George Cukor, 1944)

Yes, we do love very psychological performances!

8. Greer Garson (Mrs. Miniver – William Wyler, 1942) 

7. Grace Kelly (The Country Girl – George Seaton, 1954)

I know some of you won’t agree here, but I do think Grace deserved her Oscar for this brilliant performance! We have to support our favourites, no? 😉

6. Katharine Hepburn (On Golden Pond – Mark Rydell, 1981)

That was Ms. Hepburn 4th and last Oscar. A very well-deserved one!

5. Shirley Booth (Come Back Little Sheba -Daniel Mann, 1952)

Oh, I was so happy when I learned that she had won the Oscar for this performance! I just love her in that film!

4. Audrey Hepburn (Roman Holiday – William Wyler, 1953)

My favourite performance by my favourite actress 🙂

3. Anne Bancroft (The Miracle Worker – Arthur Penn, 1962)

2. Vivien Leigh (Gone With the Wind – Victor Flemming, 1939)

There’s only one Scarlett O’Hara, and that’s Vivien Leigh!

and…

.

.

.

Suspence

.

.

.

.

.

BIG SUSPENCE

.

.

.

.

.

.

1. Olivia de Havilland (The Heiress – William Wyler, 1949)!

Ok now, I DO think this is the best performance by an actress. I’m both objective and subjective here!

***

Seriously, we have to give some credits to William Wyler for bringing the best out of his actresses (and actors)!

So that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this post! Please don’t hesitate to share your personal choices  in the comments! 🙂

Music in the High Society of The Philadelphia Story

psvshs

Remakes are, in general. something peopled tend to avoid, because the concept itself doesn’t really have a good reputation. However, there are some exceptions. Sometimes, the remake can be as good as the original film, sometimes it can even be better! Well, that’s all a matter of tastes. I’m telling you all this because, today, I’m participating to the They Remade What?! Blogathon hosted by Phyllis Loves Classic Movies. It’s, as you may have guessed, a blogathon about movie remakes. On my side, I’ve chosen to compare The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940) and its musical remake, High Society (Charles Walters, 1956). High Society is one of those great remakes. Just like The Philadelphia Story, it also became a classic.

I must say, if you’d ask me which one is my favourite between the two, I wouldn’t really be able to answer. Well, I might prefer The Philadelphia Story little bit more, but I LOVE them both. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. For this article, I won’t review the two films separately, but will compare them together telling you what I prefer in one, what I like less in another, etc.

artoff2539High_society1956_poster

We all know the story of The Philadelphia Story and High Society, but let me refresh your memory. Tracy Samantha Lord (Katharine Hepburn/Grace Kelly) is engaged to John Kittredge ( John Howard/John Lund) and they are about to get married. She comes from a rich family and lives in a big mansion with her mother (Mary Nash/Margalo Gillmore) and her younger sister Dinah (Virginia Weidler)/Caroline (Lydia Reed) in High Society. Their uncle, Willy (Roland Young/Louis Calhern), lives not very far and often visits them. Their father, Seth Lord (John Halliday/Sidney Blackmer) has left the house and rumours say he’s having an affair with a young dancer. Two years ago, Tracy had divorced from C.K Dexter Heaven (Cary Grant/Bing Crosby) and isn’t too fond of him since then. Spy Magazine, a gossip magazine, is very interested by Tracy’s wedding and want a journalist and a photographer to cover the event. Mike Connors (James Stewart/Frank Sinatra) is the reporter who would be sent. Elizabeth Imbrie (Ruth Hussey/Celest Holm) is the photographer. But how will they access to the inaccessible Tracy Lord? This one especially doesn’t like gossip magazines. Well, that differs from one film to another. In The Philadelphia Story, C. K Dexter Heaven will be their access card, introducing Liz and Mike to the Lord as friends of Junius (Tracy’s brother). Of course, she doesn’t believe him so Dexter has to confess his lie, but he also explains her that she has no choice, because Sidney Kidd (Henry Daniell), Spy Magazine publisher, has treated to publish a juicy article about her father and this dancer, if she refuses to receive a journalist for her wedding. In High Society, all this happens more quickly. As a matter of fact, it’s uncle Willy who learns Kidd’s project and tells Tracy. So, she will receive Mike and Liz, but she doesn’t have the intention to act normal and things will turn pretty strange…

the-philadelphia-story-stillAnnex - Crosby, Bing (High Society)_NRFPT_01

The Philadelphia Story and High Society are not that much different, but they are all unique in their own way (except the fact that one is a musical and that the other one is in black and white…). Well, let’s see how.

The casting and the characters:

In the original version, Tracy Lord is interpreted by Katharine Hepburn and, in the remake, by Grace Kelly. Grace Kelly is my favourite actress between the two, but, in this film, I must admit Katharine Hepburn is hard to beat. She might be a little more suitable for the role. However, Grace is great too, and there are some scenes where she really steals the show. I’m particularly thinking of this scene when she is simply interviewing Mike and Liz without letting them time to ask HER some questions, like they are supposed to do. She’s just so funny in this scene. Katharine Hepburn is too, but Grace amazed me more. I must say, it’s also pretty unusual to see Grace playing someone a little too joyful due to the effects of alcohol and she handles this greatly.

film_katharine_hepburn_the_philadelphia_storyhighsocietyfilm1956gracekellygrecianwhitepooldressvintage50s

I must give all the credits to James Stewart for the interpretation of Mike Connors. He might be the best one of them all, including the actors of both films. Well, let’s not forget that he won an Oscar for this film. How can we forget this scene when he goes to Dexter’s place in the middle of the night completely drunk? How can we forget his great complicity with both Katharine Hepburn and Ruth Hussey? Jimmy is great. OK? That’s not without reasons that he is my favourite actor. Frank Sinatra was good as Mike, but not as much as Jimmy. However, I must give him the singing credits because James Stewart was a good actor, but certainly not a good singer! Well, that’s another way he can make us laugh (when he sings Over the Rainbow).

the_philadelphia_story_jimmy_stewart6a00d8341c85cd53ef013489ae90f1970c

I don’t know if I prefer Bing Crosby or Cary Grant in these films. Well, in life in general, I prefer Cary, but here I must say I’m good with both. Bing Crosby might be a little more likeable as Dexter, less arrogant than Cary Grant, but in a way I like them both equally. On the other hand, Cary might be a little funnier, but Bing charms us with his sexy low singing voice. Well, I guess they both win a place in my heart.

the_philadelphia_story_cary_grantBing Crosby - High Society

Between Ruth Hussey and Celest Holm, I think Ruth did a better job playing Liz Imbrie. She acts with a certain easiness that is fascinating to watch. Celest Holm was good too, but Ruth Hussey was more natural. I really love her in this film and her team work with James Stewart might be a little better than Celest Holm and Frank Sinatra’s teamwork. But don’t get me wrong, Celest Holm did a fine job too and I’d have always liked her as well.

ruth hussey philadelphia story 1940 camera.png-80987d3acd2a69f1

Virginia Weidler is one of those child actors who can really sometimes steal the show as soon as she has the occasion to. Along with uncle Willy, her character, Dinah, is one of the funniest of The Philadelphia Story. The reason why we might remember her better than Lydia Reed is because, I’ve noticed, she appears more often in the film. But, in a way, I must say Virginia Weidler really was at the top. Complicity between Lydia Reed and Bing Crosby (Dexter) might be better though, and she really is adorable.

philstory1251lydia

The interpretation of uncle Willy was greatly handled by both Roland Young and Louis Calhern. Young might be a little bit funnier, but Louis Calhern is one of those great character actors. He has a really refine humour in this film, which is highly appreciated. Honestly, just like Bing and Cary, I wouldn’t be able to say who gives the best performance, which one I prefer.

PhillyStory4412537-8536

Mary Nash really is a delight in this film. She’s a mother who cares about her children. She’s a little crazy sometimes, but this is due to all the stress of the wedding. I must say her interpretation was better than Margalo Gillmore’s one. This one was ok, but I’m sorry to say that she’s far from giving the best interpretation of the two films.

mary-nash-1-sized09 Margalo Gillmore as Mrs. Lord

I don’t have much to say about John Howard and John Lund’s interpretation of George. Both plays him perfectly right because he is so boring, but I think that was meant to be. So, in this idea, they certainly did a great job. Well, I must say, in a way, I wasn’t really impressed by their acting, maybe because they were playing someone too ordinary to give them the occasion to develop their acting skills. I don’t have much to say neither about John Halliday and Sidney Blackmer, who both play the role of Seth Lord. John Halliday was a little better, but Sidney Blackmer was nice too.

82647900833_122030297454

john-halliday-2-sizedUnknown

We have to give a big credit to High Society for Louis Armstrong’s presence (playing his own role). This legendary man certainly adds a lot to the film and to its musical side!

Louis_Armstrong_and_Grace_Kelly_on_the_set_of_%22High_Society%22,_1956

The costumes

Well, when we came to costumes, colour movies certainly help a little, it gives us the occasion to see how the outfits really look like. The costumes I’ll be focusing on are certainly Katharine Hepburn and Grace Kelly’s ones. Katharine Hepburn’s costumes for The Philadelphia Story were designed by Adrian. She wears some beautiful dress. The wedding dress is really pretty, because it’s simple, not too extravagant. But, we must say that Helen Rose, who design Grace’s costumes, kind of win the competition. I’m kind of jealous seeing Grace wearing such beautiful dresses! I would like to wear stuff like that too. The colors, of course, helps a lot as I said. I had the occasion to see some of these costumes during the Grace Kelly’s exhibition in Montreal. Believe me, it was a real treat for the eyes! I also have to say that Ruth Hussey has some pretty interesting hats in The Philadelphia Story!

tpsweddingdress130b1-the2bphiladelphia2bstory2bcollage

costumesketchforgracekellyinhighsocietybyhelenrose1956Grace-Kelly-Fashion-Illustration-Helen-Rose6377348f9ad7d5792db50be629d4e4f4

f86b2dbb3146444661346e4e8ed6fb2d

The music

Before I continue, let me point out a little difference between the Dexter of The Philadelphia Story and the Dexter of High Society. The first one designs boats, that’s his profession, and the second one is a jazz singer. He organizes a little jazz festival the day before the wedding. Well, that’s a musical. Of course, there is some nice background music in The Philadelphia Story. This one was composed by the great Franz Waxman. Being a musical, High Society is certainly more noticeable for its music. You have some great tunes here! Those were composed by the great Cole Porter. My favourite ones are “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, “True Love” and  “Now You Have Jazz”. This duet between Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong is simply unforgettable.

The editing

Ok, I’ve noticed something  quite odd in High Society: we rarely see close shots of close-up. That’s the main reason why I prefer the editing of The Philadelphia Story, we are more able to see people’s emotions. Well, we can see and feel them in High Society too, because the actors are great, but some closer shots of the actors’ faces would have been appreciated. Continuing with the concept of editing, I might say that some scenes might be a little too long in The Philadelphia Story (I’m thinking of the one just before the wedding, when Tracy remembers what happened during the party, and the one between Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart at the party, just before they decide to go swimming). I guess the songs in High Society helped to avoid that.

Philadelphia_Story_103515544935_b8b592e352

The screenplay

The Philadelphia Story was based on a play. High Society was, I think, more based on The Philadelphia Story‘s film than on the play. Well, I’ve named some differences, but in general, both stories are pretty similar. The little differences doesn’t really influence the way the action progress. The lines do not completely change in High Society, we can find the same ones in both films. This scene when Mike (James Stewart) visits Dexter (Cary Grant) completely drunk includes some of the most memorable lines. In High Society, they sing a song instead. Well, in a general way, The Philadelphia Story might emphasizes on its lines and High Society on its songs.  The Philadelphia Story won an Oscar for Best Screenplay, but I’d be interested to read both screenplays, both seem interesting.

The directors

I think each director were both perfectly suitable for each movie. The Philadelphia Story is such “George Cukor’s film”, one last time pairing Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Those two always make a fine duo. Charles Walters was well chosen to direct High Society. The man is greatly able to direct nice and easy comedies like this one. Of course, George Cukor would have been able to direct it, but I think it would have lost its pretty innocence, and it’s nice to see both films directed by different directors.

George_Cukor_-_1946a037af272d6239f7858dde39695e9530

Well, these are the main elements with whom I wanted to compare The Philadelphia Story and High Society. You can now understand better what I prefer from one film to another. Honestly, I always have so much fun watching both. These are films I just never get tired to watch. The one I’ve seen the most often is The Philadelphia Story, but that’s because I’ve got the DVD since a longer time.

I was not alone in this marvellous blogathon, so, of course, as Grace Kelly says in High Society, “keep your lovely seats” and take a look at the other lovely entries!

They Remade What?! Blogathon

Of course, thanks to Phyllis Loves Classic Movies for hosting this event!

c4f2c2c397ed150179eb1daea5d1f891

My Favorite Classic Movie Blogathon: Bringing Up Baby

bringing-up-baby-13

Today is the National Classic Movie Day. For the occasion, I’m participating to the My Favorite Classic Movie Blogathon, hosted by Classic Film and TV Café. As I have already written and article about my favourite film, Some Like it Hot, I decided to write about my second favourite one: Bringing Up Baby. Just like Some Like it Hot, I love this film and never get tired to watch it. For a long time, I couldn’t say which one was my favourite between the two, but Some Like it Hot won the battle. Oh, and just to mention that, before I saw those two films, Forrest Gump was my favourite (and it’s still one of my very favourite). Anyway, it will be a great pleasure for me to write about Brining Up Baby. This movie is so fun to watch, so I guess it will be fun to write about it. I also think it’s the perfect movie to review, because, last Tuesday, it was Katharine Hepburn’s birthday. Indeed, this movie starred Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in one of their funniest performances, also May Robson, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett, Barry Fitzgerald, Fritz Feld and George Irving. In other words, two big Hollywood stars and a delicious bunch of incredible character actors. The movie was directed by Howard Hawks in 1938 and produced by RKO Pictures.

ActGrantHepburnBringingBaby2

I must admit, even if I have seen this movie a hundred times, I always have difficulties to resume it, because so many things happen and I never know where to start and where to stop. So I’ll try to do a short and sweet resumé without telling any spoilers for those who may have not seen the movie. Anyway, for those who know my writing style, you know that I what I like is explaining why I love the movie and not just telling the whole story. David Huxley (Cary Grant), a zoologist, has been working during four years to “build” a brontosaurus skeleton. Only one bone is missing: the  intercostal clavicle. Luckily, this one is about to arrive by post and David is also about to marry his fiancé and assistant: Alice Swallow (Virginia Walker). David also needs a million dollars for the museum, an endowment from the rich Mrs. Carleton Random. So, David has to meet her lawyer, Mr. Peabody (George Irving), to get in his favourite and convince him that he needs the money for the museum and to complete his brontosaurus project. However, every time he wants to meet him, he is always disturbed by a young  heiress named Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn). He doesn’t like her very much as she’s always making a fool of himself. However, Susan likes him and she’s not reading to let him go. Later, he’ll learn that she is a good friend of Mrs. Peabody and that she has a leopard named Baby. Despite his opposition, David will find himself trapped in Connecticut at Susan’s aunt Elizabeth place with Susan, Elizabeth (May Robson), Baby, Elizabeth’s stupid dog George, Major Applegate (Charles Ruggles) and his  intercostal clavicle . That’s where the real troubles will start.

bringing

That really surprised me when I learnt that Bringing Up Baby has not been a box office success. Well, this sometime happened to some movies that are today known as some of the best classics, movie that everybody should see. Another one I can think about is The Night of the Hunter. Of course, that’s a  completely different style. Bringing Up Baby is now known as one of the best movies of the Screwball comedy genre. Of course, it has its imperfections, but there are not enough to make it a bad movie. Bringing Up Baby is also number 88 in  AFI’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time’s top list and number 14 in AFI’ 100 Funniest American Movies of All Times. Well, that’s quite good. Bringing Up Baby is also one of these movies that I’ve waited too long before watching it and, when I saw it and immediately fell in love with it, regretted having waited such a long time before seeing it.

Howard-Hawks-Cary-Grant-and-Katharine-Hepburn-on-the-set-of-Bringing-Up-Baby-1938

Howard Hawks, Cary Grant and Katharine

Hepburn on the set of Bringing Up Baby

You may now know that comedy is one of my favourite movie genre, especially because my two most favourite movies of all times are comedies and my last three articles on this blog were about comedies. Well, that’s simple, laughing is one of the things I enjoy the most. It’s such a great feeling and a good way to forget your problems and your miserable life. Don’t worry, I don’t have a miserable life, but if YOU do have one, just watch Bringing Up Baby. To me, Some Like it Hot, Brining Up Baby and Little Miss Sunshine are the three funniest comedy of all times. My mother could testify. Of course, this is just an opinion. Because of that, Bringing Up baby is such a captivating film. Once you’ve started watching it, you can’t stop. You want to know what will happen and want to see more hilarious gags. One more time, my mother could testify on that too, even if she thinks that a certain part of the film is a little long and repetitive. She’s kind of right. As I said sooner, this movie is not perfect, but I can’t help it if it’s one of my favourites. ❤

bringing-up-baby-5

What makes this film so funny is of course its actors. I have to mention first that this was Katharine Hepburn’s first comedy. The actress was trained by Howard Hawks and some veteran vaudevillians hired by the movie director. It was not Cary Grant’s first comedy (we can think of The Awful Truth or Topper), but it was his first comedy co-starring Katharine Hepburn and also his second film with this actress. The first one was Sylvia Scarlett. Well, they both did an amazing job and gave an excellent performance. Susan Vance is one of my favourite movie characters portrayed by Katharine Hepburn. She’s very clumsy, but she’s also intelligent and has will. I also love Cary Grant’s character, Davi d Huxley, because he pretends to be a serious man, but we discover that he can be perfectly ridiculous and that’s how we love him. This film was also the chance for me to see another side of Cary Grant, his comic side of course, because I think the movies I’ve seen with him before this one were the Hitchcock’s ones, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story. Those two are comedies, but the funniest Cary Grant is certainly the one in Brining Up Baby. I finally have to mention the incredible character actors. This movie wouldn’t have been the same without them: May Robson, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett, Barry Fitzgerald, Fritz Feld and George Ivirng. The characters they are playing in this film are everything but ordinary. They each have their own personality and together they create a marvellous fresco.

Bringing_up_baby_publicity_photoAnnex - Grant, Cary (Bringing Up Baby)_02may robson cary grant bringing up baby 1 editfritz-feldef9c650762d584b243a4681100529f38Barry Fitzgerald  Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Of course, the screenplay is also part of the comic side of this film. It’s not a perfect screenplay. There are some imperfections, some scenes are two longs, some events are too sudden, but it was certainly written in the perfect mood of being funny, entertaining and crazy (in a good way). After all, it’s a Screwball comedy and the writers where perfectly faithful to this movie genre. However, the real force of this screenplay are the unforgettable dialogues. There are so many great lines to quote, but here are some of my favourites:

1- David Huxley [to Susan]: When a man is wrestling a leopard in the middle of a pond, he’s in no position to run!

2- Susan Vance: A lady killer? Why he’s a regular Don Swan. Loves the ladies, don’t ya, honey? He bops them over, one, two, three – boom – just like that.

[Pretends to open a cork and toss it away]

Susan Vance: He’s a wolf.

David Huxley:

[Claps his head] Oh, so now I’m a wolf!

3- [In jail] Susan Vance:  Anyway, David, when they find out who we are they’ll let us out.

David Huxley: When they find out who *you* are they’ll pad the cell.

4- Susan Vance [Limping after losing a heel from one shoe]:  I was born on the side of a hill.

5- [repeated line] David Huxley : I’ll be with you in a minute, Mr. Peabody!

7- [talking about David] Elizabeth : Now see here, if you’re planning to marry him on my money you are very much mistaken. I don’t want another lunatic in the family I have lunatics enough all ready. When are you going to marry him? What’s his name?

Susan Vance: It’s uh Bone

Elizabeth: Bones ?

Susan Vance : One Bone

Elizabeth: Well one bone or two bones it’s a ridiculous name.

8- Susan Vance : [to David] You know why you’re following me? You’re a fixation.

9- Elizabeth : What are you doing?

David Huxley: [exasperated and wearing Susan’s negligee] I’m sitting in the middle of 42nd Street waiting for a bus!

10- David Huxley: First you drop an olive, and then I sit on my hat. It all fits perfectly.

Well, there are many. This is certainly a screenplay I would love to read. tumblr_lpo8lcCqVY1qgxbs4o2_500tumblr_lj7znyPbXr1qgxbs4o1_r1_500 tumblr_n4yfaduRBA1tt0ypwo1_400tumblr_mkebcm5T8Y1qj7jxpo1_500 Brining Up Baby is known for having no music, only in the opening and ending credits. However, it has its “theme song”: I can’t Give you Anything But Love. Of course, the song wasn’t composed for the movie. This song was written in 1928 and used 10 years later in the movie. This is Baby’s favourite song and it is often sing by Susan and David when they try to calm down Baby. So that’s interesting because it’s really part of the story. I found this very nice video tribute to Bringing Up Baby with the song singing by Doris Day.

And that’s one of my favourite scenes of the film, when David meets Baby:

Well, that was a real pleasure to write about one of my favourite movies and to watch it again for the occasion. Of course, make sure to read the other entries of the blogathon. Click on the following link to discover other blogger’s favourite films! : My Favourite Classic Movie Blogathon And, of course, happy National Classic Movie Day to all! 🙂

My Favorite Classic Movie Blogathon 2

The Great Katharine Hepburn Blogathon: The Philadelphia Story

c78959489e5cb691df91e3f16e8f4081

Katharine Hepburn: What an actress! What a star! Winner of no less than 4, yes FOUR Academy Awards, she’s considered one of the greatest legends of the Silver Screen, most of the time, the greatest. She’s also a favourite of mine, number 5 in my top. Tomorrow, I will be happy to celebrate her 108th birthday. For the occasion, I’m participating to the Great Katharine Hepburn Blogathon hosted by Margaret Perry. The blogathon takes place from May 9 to May 12 2015, on Kate’s birthday. The Philadelphia Story, directed by George Cukor and produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (who was also a famous movie director) in 1940 is the movie I chose to review for this amazing blogathon.

cc1aa27f44af5e0820e8a9c31897d293a25ab146922cd873fc76a636e4ddf0db4160bb5a3d967ef2759810219b04b48739db7ad3c6b51bdf0727ee35d0069bdckatharine-hepburn-philadelphia-story-stage-shot3

The Philadelphia Story is about a young woman from the high society named Tracy Samantha Lord . She lives in a rich house with her mother Margaret (Mary Nash) and her little sister Dinah (Virginia Weidler). Their uncle Willie (Roland Young) lives not very far. Tracy is about to marry a certain John Kittredge (John Howard). Two years ago, Tracy divorced her first husband, C.K. Dexter Heaven (Cary Grant). Journalists are, of course, interested by her wedding, especially the Spy Magazine and his publisher Sidney Kidd (Henry Daniell). He enlists Dexter to introduce his reporter Macaulay “Mike” Connor (James Stewart) and his photographer Elizabeth “Liz” Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) to the Lords as friends of Junius (Tracy and Dinah’s brother) so they can have a better access to the wedding. Tracy, furious, doesn’t believe a single word of Dexter’s story and refuses to have reporters on her wedding day. However, Dexter explains to her that Sidney Kidd has a juicy article about her father, Seth Lord (John Halliday) who, she believes, is having an affair with a dancer. In other words, if Tracy doesn’t accept to have Mike and Liz to her wedding, Sidney Kidd will publish the article. So, Tracy, who wants to protect her family reputation, has no choice to accept.

philadelphia_story_01annex-hepburn-katharine-philadelphia-story-the_031

The Philadelphia Story was the fourth collaboration between Katharine Hepburn and director George Cukor and the fourth and last movie starring Kate and Cary Grant. The film won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor (James Stewart). It was also nominated for Best Movie, Best Director, Best Actress (Katharine Hepburn) and Best Supporting Actress (Ruth Hussey). The film was based on a theatre play written by Philip Barry. Katharine Hepburn also played Tracy’s part on stage from 1939 to 1941. She was co-starring with Joseph Cotten as C.K Dexter Heaven, Van Heflin as Mike Connor and Shirley Booth as Liz Imbrie, some other marvellous actors. The Philadelphia Story is the second Katharine Hepburn’s film I saw (first one was Holiday), but it’s the one that really made me love her. Of course, she was also great in Holiday and made a marvellous team with Cary Grant.

39-tps-58Annex - Grant, Cary (Holiday)_04cukor-hepburn

This film has not only The Great Katharine Hepburn among its casting, but some other brilliant actors who are all extraordinary in their own way: Cary Grant, James Stewart, Virginia Weidler, Ruth Hussey, Mary Nash, Roland Young, John Howard and John Halliday. Katharine Hepburn played the part of Tracy Lord with a great sureness and expresses herself very clearly. We can see why she was chosen to play the part on stage. As always, she’s wearing some very nice clothes including some fabulous hats like she always uses to. We can express nothing but respect for this lady when we see her great acting in this flix. Tracy Lord is also a very complex character. Men describe her as a bronze statue, but she is a sensible person and desperately wants people to understand it. There, Kate’s gaze, in some scenes, becomes very important.

film_Katharine_Hepburn_The_Philadelphia_Story

As you know, James Stewart is my favourite actor. In this film, he really is at his best and I’m so glad he won the Oscar. He is incredibly hilarious  (especially during the party scene) and some of his reactions worth a million. However, thanks to this film, we can notice that Jimmy has a little imperfection: he’s not a good singer! Well, there’s a moment where he sings “Somewhere over the Rainbow” with an unmelodious voice and that’s one of the funniest scenes of the film. Next on the casting is Cary Grant. Another actor for whom I have a great respect. In this film, he really first seems to be the annoying ex-husband, having no respect at all, but we discover that he has an understanding heart and wants to be a better person and  help Tracy to be a better person too. Just like James Stewart, some of his reactions worth a million. One of my favourites is when Tracy is about to call Junius to know if Liz and Mike are really his friends and he says “Wait..wait..”. Ok, there’s nothing really special in those words, but his face always makes me laugh at this moment and his voice tons seems to have lost all its beautiful British accent.

the_philadelphia_story_jimmy_stewartthe_philadelphia_story_cary_grant

This film really makes me want to see more Ruth Hussey’s film. She really his fantastic has the photographer and her character is surely one of my favourites in the film. She certainly was born to be an actress and she acts like a fish swims. I love her facial expression when she surprises someone by taking his or her picture. She seems to be very proud of herself to have taken their picture with asking their permission. The child actress in this film is Virginia Weidler. My! I think she’s my favourite child actress even if I only saw her in this film. She is, to me, the funniest part of the film. She’s very dynamic. Her and Kate seemed to have a great complicity together. I love what Katharine said about her: ” We got lucky again with the girl-this time little Virginia Weidler, who had me in stitches. She was so terrifyingly funny I truly had a difficult time doing scenes with her. Honestly, I couldn’t look at her, she was so funny.” (IMDB). I won’t talk about all the actors, but I’ll conclude this by talking to you a little about Rolland Young who plays Uncle Willie. Uncle Willie is the old man who loves women and a little drink once in a wild. I have to say that the three funniest actors (and characters) in this film are him, Virginia Weilder and James Stewart. Of course, all those actors make a great team together and the film wouldn’t have been the same without them, especially Katharine Hepburn. 😉

PhillyStory211philstory1251PhillyStory441

A screenplay is always something very important for me. Except the excellent casting, this is certainly one of the best aspects of this film. It was written by Donald Ogden Stewart and Waldo Salt. There are so many great lines in this film. I can’t say which one is my ultimate favourite, but here are some I like very much and that always makes me laugh or smile. Because, after all, this is a comedy.

1- C.K Dexter Heaven: Hello friends and enemies…

2- Margaret Lord: The course of true love…

    Mike Connor: …. gathers no moss.

3- Tracy Lord: Goooood niiiiight little men!

4- Tracy  Lord [normal voice]: Hello Dexter. [ lower voice] Hello George. [high childish voice] Hello Mike!

5- Liz Imbrie: What’s this room? I’ve forgotten my compass.

6- Dinah Lord: Nothing ever possibly in the least ever happens here. Mother, how do you get smallpox?

7- Mike Connor: [drunk, to driver] Well, this is where Cinderella gets off, now you hurry back to the ball before you turn into a pumpkin and six white mice, goodbye.

8- Mike Connor: [calling outside his house] C.K. Dexter Haven! Oh, C.K. Dexter Haven!

    C.K Dexter Heaven: [coming to the door in his pajamas] What’s up?

    Mike Connor: You are.

9- Tracy Lord: South Bend, it sounds almost like dancing!

10- [Mike burps]

     C. K. Dexter Heaven: Excuse me.

11- Seth Lord: I am Seth Lord

     Mike Connor: No!

     Liz Imbrie [to Uncle Willie] So that makes you…

     Uncle Willie [to Liz] Available!

tumblr_nndmq82hlW1u8tsozo5_500

Ok, I could go on and on, but I think you’ve got the point. In this film, there are not only many great lines, but also many unforgettable scenes. My favourite one is when Tracy and Dinah decide to welcome Mike and Elizabeth in a very exaggerate way. What I also love about this scene is that they are speaking French and their accent is absolutely adorable. The dialogues in this scene are also a delight. What about watching this scene now?

In 1956, a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story was realized: High Society.  It starred Grace Kelly as Tracy Lord, Bing Crosby as C.K Dexter Heaven, Frank Sinatra as Mike Connors, Celest Holm as Elizabeth Imbrie, John Lund as George Kittredge, Lydia Reed as Caroline Lord (instead of Dinah Lord), Louis Calhern as Uncle Willie, Sidney Blackmer as Seth Lord, Margalo Gillmore as Mrs. Lord and Louis Armstrong as himself. Just like The Philadelphia Story, I adore this film. I believe it’s one of the rare good movie remakes. Honestly, I can’t tell you which one I prefer. Both have their ups and downs.

Grace-Kelly-Bing-Crosby-Frank-Sinatra-and-Celeste-Holm-in-High-Society-1956

Well, it was a great fun for me to review one of my most favourite movies of the 40’s in honour of Katharine Hepburn’s birthday. This Chef-d’oeuvre of the screwball comedy is certainly a movie every Katharine Hepburn’s fans should see. I want to thank Margaret Perry for having created this swell blogathon. Of course, I invite you to read the other entries by clicking on the following link:

The Great Katharine Hepburn Blogathon

KHBlogathon2015-AA