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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

458

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Katharine Hepburn's Trousers

Ever since I was a girl, just looking at Katharine Hepburn has made me feel powerful. There’s the proud tilt of her chin, the direct line of her posture, the graceful sweep of her hair — the steely eyes, the delicately strong cheekbones, the beautifully set mouth. And when she opens that mouth, it only gets better, as her high, melodic voice runs circles around whomever or whatever stands in front of her. For millions, Hepburn was proof positive that Hollywood stardom wasn’t all peroxide blonde and vapid sighs. Along with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, Hepburn suggested that intelligence and verve were beautiful — and that people would pay to watch these beauties go head to head with their male co-stars.

Hepburn broke all sorts of unspoken rules: she was an unabashed snob, and her voice rang with the sort of class that people outside New England love to hate. She insisted on cold showers as a sign of character, she insisted on doing her own stunts because the stuntwomen never stood up straight enough, and she reveled in her Yankee austerity. Her hair was red and untamable, and she wore trousers in private and public, pissing off the studio publicity heads who worked so hard to craft an image, any image, besides "stuck-up tomboy." In other words, she was awesome. She hated Hollywood but loved movies, hated the process but loved the product.

Because of her stubbornness, her star image became a rounded-corners version of her off-screen self — one that played up her independent streak and the private romances that seemed to mirror the tornado-like courtships she engaged in onscreen.

During her career, Hepburn went from being one of the hottest new talents in Hollywood to being “box office poison,” but a series of savvy business decisions eventually returned her to the screen, where she went on to star in nine films with the man who became the love of her life. That man, a notorious drunkard, was still married, and his Catholicism required that he remain married even as he and Hepburn spent the rest of their lives together. Their affair was an open secret, obvious to anyone who looked hard enough, but still ostensibly hidden from the rest of the world. And it, along with tailored trousers, has come to define Hepburn’s enduring star image.

It would be difficult to find a more Yankee upbringing than Hepburn’s. The daughter of a Connecticut urologist and suffragette, Hepburn was the second of six children, and grew up doing all sorts of progressive things like helping lobby for birth control rights and being an all-around liberal hippie before the word even existed. As Hepburn later recalled, “I learnt early what it is to be snubbed for a good cause,” which is exactly how I feel every time I tell a book club that the The Help is racist. Hepburn’s parents encouraged their children to cultivate their minds and bodies, and all the children played sports. (I’m envisioning lots of badminton.) Katharine took up golf — a sport she would play for the rest of her life, and a perfect opportunity for flagrant trouser-wearing.

At the age of 14, Hepburn discovered the body of her older and much-beloved brother Tom, who had apparently hung himself. Her family refused to deem it a suicide, however, insisting it had happened by accident, but Tom’s death, and her family’s avoidance of it, traumatized Hepburn and would affect her for the rest of her life. She began using Tom’s birthday as her own, dropped out of high school, and slid through her education with the help of private tutors. She eventually went to Bryn Mawr, her mother’s alma mater, where she got bad grades and was caught smoking in her room.

But then, a light: Hepburn realized that if she raised her grades and stopped [getting caught] smoking, she could try out for the play — a natural outlet for the theatrical posturing she'd learned during all-out debates at the Hepburn family dinner table. One role led to another, and fastforward several years to Hepburn doing lots of off-Broadway understudying. At some point, Hepburn married her college sweetheart, Ludlow Ogden Smith, a man eight years her senior. In typical Hepburn fashion, she forced him to change his name to S. Ogden Ludlow so that her own legal surname wouldn’t be something as dreadfully ordinary as Smith. You can see where this is headed.

Hepburn was a force to behold: she was tall, athletic, pushy, and, in the beginning, rather lacking in talent. But in 1932, she read for the lead in The Warrior’s Husband — a Greek fable that went well with Hepburn’s most accentuated qualities. She won the role, did a lot of posturing in a Greek warrior costume that made the most of her flat chest and fantastic posture, earned great notices, and caught the attention of Hollywood, which, in the wake of the transition to sound, was continually fishing for actors with performance styles more suited to sound films. (Acting for the silent cinema was an entirely different animal — more emphasis on physicality, less on articulation.)

RKO had her screen-test for A Bill of Divorcement with George Cukor, then an up-and-coming director who'd moved to the studio to work with up-and-coming producer David O. Selznick. (In short order, both men would become giants within their fields, and it was Hepburn’s fortune that she collided with both at a such a young age.)

When Cukor saw her screen test, he knew there was something there — as he later recalled, “there was this odd creature ... she was unlike anybody I’d ever heard.” He moved to cast her as the daughter of John Barrymore (yes, grandfather to Drew), but Hepburn, spitfire that she was, demanded $1500 a week — an unheard of salary for a brand new, untested, odd bird of an actress. Cukor encouraged RKO to submit to her demands, and they agreed to short-term contract: just long enough to see if the film would float.

Would you look at those shoulder wings! That smooth hair! Those vampy eyes! The Hepburn from The African Queen would call her a total ninny! But at this point, Hepburn wasn’t yet Hepburn: she was just another stage actress transplant, albeit with a bit more piss and vinegar. (Which, by the way, is a totally weird phrase; am I suddenly my granddad?)

A Bill of Divorcement was a huge hit, but, more importantly, it won her a long-term contract with RKO and marked the beginning of her relationship with Cukor, who’d collaborate with her nine more times over the next two decades. She followed Divorcement by playing a quasi-Amelia Earhart in Christopher Strong, and then there was Morning Glory, a ‘30s recital of the “star is born” tale that Hollywood loves to make and audiences love to watch. Hepburn plays a young, inexperienced stage actress aching for a breakthrough; as evidenced by the clip below, she has the cloying overeagerness down pat.

She toils and suffers and receives all sorts of pointers and acting lessons before a handsome man (well hello, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.!) agrees to cast her in a small role in a new show. But the star of this new show (blonde, demanding, and a total wench) starts making huge contract demands, leaves the show, and what do you know, Hepburn is there to take her place and springboard into stardom. While the film wasn’t an exact recreation of Hepburn’s own path to stardom, it was close enough for the fan magazines to run with it, and then, as now, audiences loved the idea of a star recreating his/her creation myth onscreen. For her performance, Hepburn won an Academy Award, but Hepburn mania was already well underway, stoked by her turn as Jo in the Cukor-directed version of Little Women, released in late 1933.

Now, to be clear, Winona Ryder will always be my personal version of Jo, and Kristen Dunst will always be that brat Amy. But Katharine Hepburn might be the most perfect Jo of all time, and I wish I could’ve accessed this version of the film before Ryder’s version rooted itself in my mind.

I mean look at her with Laurie!

And blasted Professor Bhaer!

Hepburn’s image was already Jo-like: she was a leader of her family and an independent woman: intelligent, vivacious, and lacking the traditional beauty of her sisters/peers but secure in her decisions and the happiness they brought her. Publicity for the film made a big deal about Hepburn requesting that one of her dresses be modeled on a dress of her grandmother’s, preserved in a tintype. Hepburn was a Yankee; Jo was a Yankee. Hepburn was uppity; Jo was uppity. Recall that Little Women was then, as today, a touchstone text, and any actress who could convincingly embody Jo would be fixed as such in the minds of the audience. In this way, the one-two punch of Morning Glory and Little Women established a star image that structured the remainder of Hepburn’s career.

But attempts to exploit this star image over the next six years backfired. She played the titular character in Spitfire (1934), a bold middle-class social climber in Alice Adams (1935), and pulled off an amazing cross-dressing performance in Sylvia Scarlett, which has, in the years since its release, become a greatest hits go-to text for feminist and queer film theory. If you write a paper on filmic gender performance, there's an unspoken rule to include this photo, even if only as a weird feminst-gif at the end.

I mean seriously: that is one beautiful boy. But as hilarious as audiences have long found men dressing as women (and the resultant buffoonery), women cross-dressing is, ironically, more transgressive and, as such, unpopular. For (many) men, a woman cross-dressing is tantamount to a woman publicly declaring that she no longer needs to concern herself with being attractive to men. And that petrified men even more than a woman gaining the right to vote. To dress like a man was to disregard codes of femininity; to disregard those codes was to say screw-you to patriarchy. Hepburn did this on- and off-screen, but she was never slovenly: she was just ... casually preppy, pulling off the sleek lines we now associate with J.Crew androgyny. But the idea that Hepburn was sexless, or at least without sex appeal, began to gain traction.

Which was interesting, because at about this time, Hepburn began a dalliance with one Howard Hughes — millionaire, debonair, man-about-town, burgeoning weirdo. Cary Grant introduced them while she was filming Scarlett, and if The Aviator is to be believed, they did some golfing on some very technicolor green fields, they went flying, and then Hughes insisted on making her his wife. (Oh, PS, she and The Husband had divorced a few years after Hepburn moved to Hollywood to pursue her career.) The fan mags loved it, as Hepburn’s Barbie-toothed smile at a glowering Hughes depicts:

Hepburn embodied power in Mary of Scotland and gave birth to a child out of wedlock in A Woman Rebels. She always had a romantic interest, but both films, like so many of her films, make it clear that her real romance was with herself. In Stage Door, she played an actress who moves into a boarding house filled with other actresses (played by Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball, among others), only to alienate them with her haughty manners and self-regard — a nice play on Hepburn’s widely reported attitude toward Hollywood in general. Stage Door earned a nomination for Best Picture, but it, like the rest of the films following Little Women, was a relative disappointment. Melodrama and historical pieces had earned Hepburn her notice, but she had exhausted that currency. RKO clearly had no idea how to transform the smarty-pants spitfire into a women who both male and female audiences wanted to watch onscreen.

So the studio tried something different. In 1938, it paired Hepburn with Cary Grant in the first of what would become Hepburn’s new signature role: screwball comedienne. Bringing Up Baby had Howard Hawks as director, Grant with adorable science-nerd glasses, and all manner of lions and tigers, but what is now regarded as one of the best comedies of the 20th century was a HUGE BOMB, losing $365,000, which was a King’s Ransom in classic Hollywood dollars. It lost money because it didn’t gross much money, but Hawks also allowed the production to go way over budget — apparently wrangling cheetahs is expensive?

One more, just for kicks.

That beautiful sneer!

Hepburn’s situation was only getting worse. With a string of misfires behind her, she had set herself on playing Scarlett O’Hara in David O. Selznick’s highly anticipated adaptation of Gone With the Wind. But Russell found her lacking in raw sexuality, and cast a smoldering Brit in her place. Hepburn, however, had plans of her own. RKO offered her a role in a crappy B-picture (Mother Carey’s Chickens! That shrieks “B-Picture” almost as loudly as Pootie Tang). Hepburn said no thanks, instead opting to buy out the remainder of her contract. Way back during her time on the stage, she’d understudied the lead role in Holiday — a role that had become close to her heart. She convinced Columbia to make the picture, with Cukor directing and Grant as her co-star.

Holiday took everything exquisite about Hepburn’s image — the spunk, the obstinance, the frustration with the connotations of wealth, her radiant intelligence — and used them as man-bait.

In Holiday, Grant begins the film engaged to the well-heeled, traditionally beautiful sister, but slowly realizes that what he really wants is a playmate: a woman, like Hepburn, who appreciates his own somersaulting silliness, weaves complex verbal blankets of argument, and calls him on his bluffs. Just watch their glorious first encounter below:

In short, Grant realizes he wants a smart lady who’ll always challenge him. Give me this premise over any of today’s rom-coms — except maybe 13 Going on 30, but I’m only keeping that one for the massive-closet-getting-dressed montage and hotness-on-a-hipster-stick Mark Ruffalo.

Holiday was a huge success ... IN MY HEART. I’ll watch it over Bringing Up Baby any day, and I’m ready to fight you in the comments. In real life, which is to say life that does not take place in AHP’s bodily organs, the film did okay, but Hepburn was nevertheless deemed “box office poison,” a phrase bandied about liberally during Hollywood's golden age.

Back before movie theaters were all owned by giant fluorescent companies, they were a mix of studio-owned (“Paramount Theater” = owned by Paramount) and privately owned. Every year, the studios would survey theater owners to figure out which stars reliably brought in crowds and which stars audiences avoided. This highly scientific survey — in which theater owners literally created lists off the tops of their head — was then translated into “Top Stars” lists. If a star ended up on the “Box Office Poison” list, there was all the more reason for the studio to dump crappy projects on them until their contracts were up. It’s also a clever way of placing blame for the success or failure of a picture squarely on the star, ignoring what the studio, director, screenwriter, supporting actors, publicity department, and/or exhibitors themselves might have done to buoy or sink a film.

Hepburn thus traded Hughes and Hollywood for New York and the stage. Playwright Philip Barry tailored a script specifically for her, creating a role that, like her turn in Holiday, would emphasize the most endearing and charismatic components of her star image and performative strengths (i.e. being a happy drunk). The result, The Philadelphia Story, was a smash.

And here’s where it gets so good: Hepburn, savvy smartypants that she was, optioned the rights to the play, and after its run returned to Hollywood, where she entertained supplicant bids from the studios. Hepburn decided on MGM, but stipulated that the adaptation would be directed by Cukor. When the two men she wanted for the job (Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy) were unavailable, she “settled” for Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, which is kind of like Lady Mary “settling” for Cousin Matthew when her Other Cousin Fiancé dies on the Titanic.

Hepburn knew that audiences were expecting more of the vintage Hepburn image — the very image that repelled them through the late ‘30s. So she focused on usurping expectations: not only did she enter the film by falling flat on her back, literalizing what most people wanted to happen to her, but she requested MGM’s top costume designer, Adrian, to create a wardrobe that would combine the square silouette (most associated with Joan Crawford) with a more glamorous cut. It was if he were giving the Hepburn image soft edges while making sure its vivacity and structure remained. The dresses, and Hepburn in them, are aces.

The film version of A Philadelphia Story was a monster hit. If you’ve seen it, you understand why: there’s so much fast talking, so much round-abouting, so much Jimmy Stewart being hilarious and drunk instead of didactic (every other film of his save the ones he made for Hitchcock) or creepy (every film he made for Hitchcock). The timing is perfect, the dresses are perfect, everything’s perfect except the annoying little sister (who also pops up in The Women, where I also want to hurt her).

If you haven’t seen it, I don’t know if we can be friends until you do — don’t worry, I’ll host a party and we can get giddily plastered while watching the drunk scene and its beautiful aftermath. Watch it! Right now! If I could look the way that Hepburn does after drinking all night and stringing along three men . . . . . my life would be very different.

After the film's success, Hepburn approached MGM with another project, Woman of the Year. As her costar, she again wanted MGM star Spencer Tracy, a man she'd never met but whose work she admired. Hepburn also wanted a long-term contract, complete with approval of all stories, scripts, and directors. MGM went for it, and just like that, Box Office Poison became one of the most powerful stars in Hollywood.

The shoulders, the beautiful shoulders!

Woman of the Year marked the beginning of Hepburn’s contracted MGM career — and the beginning of her romance with Spencer Tracy, which would endure until his death in 1967. Before signing with MGM, Tracy had earned a reputation at Fox as a drunk and a philanderer, and his short temper had landed him in numerous fistfights, including one with a Fox parking employee. To put it simply, Tracy was the worst kind of adult frat-boy. In 1934, he left his wife and children for a year-long affair with Loretta Young, but Tracy, a Catholic, refused to divorce his wife, and after his relationship with Young fell apart, he continued to live separately from his wife and made periodic visits to his children. Fox grew tired of Tracy’s antics, but MGM made him one of its most valuable stars, playing up his “everyman looks” (read: his busted face).

When Tracy won Best Actor for his turn in Captains Courageous in 1938, he was unable to attend the ceremony. MGM said he was recovering from a hernia, which was the 1940s way of saying “hospitalized for exhaustion,” if you’re picking up what I’m putting down. The studio arranged for Tracy’s wife to accept the award in his stead, as a gesture towards the supposed strength of their marriage. With all the audience fully aware of how Tracy had neglected and mistreated her, Mrs. Tracy walked the stage. But the Academy had a sense of humor: the award was inscribed not to Spencer, but to Dick Tracy. ROUGH.

MGM would periodically force Tracy to “dry out” after massive benders — not out of kindness, but so that they could force him to do his next film. During this period, he was living at the Beverly Wilshire and constantly on the prowl — one MGM exec purportedly claimed that “No one gets more sex than Spencer Tracy.....except Joan Crawford.” (<3 u, Joanie.)

Such was the situation in 1940, when Tracy and Hepburn fell in love while filming Woman of the Year. As is true any time two stars actually fall in love while pretending to fall in love on screen, the chemistry was palpable, and audiences flocked to it. Today, when two people do well together on screen, the studio will just make a sequel and stretch out the chemistry until it self-destructs; then, they got all the same people back together, but put them in a different-yet-similar-script, and remade the magic that way.

Nearly every year brought a new Spencer-Hepburn collaboration, kind of like how every year brings us a new collaboration between Michael Bay and a sea of robots. Without Love, The Sea of Class, State of the Union, and, my personal favorite, Adam’s Rib, which is so complicatedly feminist my mind knots up just thinking about it. Hepburn and Tracy make lawyering as a couple look so appealing: they have a swanky New York townhouse, a bucolic farm somewhere upstate, and spend their days fighting over cases that simultaneously challenge and ratify their personal beliefs. Along with To Kill a Mockingbird, this film might be responsible for a whole generation’s decision to go to law school.

MGM kept the romance under wraps, collaborating with Hepburn as she nursed Tracy back to physical and mental health. So long as Hepburn kept him sane, relatively sober, and on the job, the studio heads were happy to cover their tracks. But Tracy was widely rumored to have continued his philandering, even under Hepburn’s care, and gradually re-succumbed to alcoholism.

Is this bit of information, and the way that it seems to victimize Hepburn, the reason that Tracy leaves me cold? Or is it that he’s too Country Club Dad? Is it the gruffness? Is it the simple and stunning fact that he is not Cary Grant? Or somehow not equal to Hepburn? Because here’s where my desire to hold Hepburn as a paragon of feminist self-respect runs into a roadblock: how could she do this to herself? It sticks in my craw that Tracy was too bound by religious ideologies to divorce his wife and publicly own his relationship with Hepburn. Not because religious ideology is necessarily stupid, but because Tracy was so flagrantly breaking the spirit, if not the letter, of his religion’s law. Am I assuming that Hepburn was blinded by love, and thus put up with the shit that Tracy brought her way? That she settled?

It’s like when your best friend falls in love with a tool: you understand that she’s happy, and she’s her own woman, and we each lead our own lives to our own ends. But still.

Then again, maybe Hepburn wasn’t settling at all. As she famously declared, “if you want to give up the admiration of thousands of men for the disdain of one, go ahead, get married.” In other words, no offense married ladies, but us unmarried ones got the game figured.

But still. I’m so confused.

Over the next 30 years, Hepburn continued to make films — she could still play the romantic lead, but now she was somewhat-older-lady romantic lead, her harping turned a bit shrill. She was insufferable-turned-humble in The African Queen, apparently inventing the computer in Desk Set, Liz Taylor’s aunt in Suddenly, Last Summer, and very politically correct in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, her last film with Tracy and a sort of benediction to their romance and mutual appreciation society. Tracy died shortly thereafter, and out of respect for his long suffering family, Hepburn did not attend his funeral. She won Best Actress for the role, in part, one assumes, because the Academy wanted to acknowledge and authenticate her grief.

For the next 20 years, Hepburn’s on-screen appearances grew further and further apart, yet her brassiness endured, shining even brighter with the luster of accumulated years. The smooth, alabaster face may have wrinkled, but the spryness, the wit, and the vim and vigor remained.

To me, she only grew more beautiful — as critic David Thomson observes, “she [was] so remarkable, she may have given the misleading impression that Hollywood is interested in old people,” as evidenced by the triumph of On Golden Pond, featuring the equally well-preserved Henry Fonda, which became the second highest grossing film of 1981 and earned Hepburn her fourth Best Actress Oscar.

Over the course of her career, Hepburn transitioned from the plucky misfit to the arch mother to the vinegary great aunt, becoming, as people like to say about the aging process, even more essentially herself. According to Hepburn, with age, even people who once thought her as shrewish gradually “grew fond of me, like some old brick building.”

When Hepburn died in 2003, at the age of 96, it was not so much a single woman dying as it was the death of an age of female film stardom — an age when a woman with nontraditional beauty, a powerful voice, and a disregard for Hollywood rules could be a major star for half a century. When Barbara Walters asked her if she even owned a skirt, she replied, “I have one, Ms. Walters. I’ll wear it to your funeral.” That. That is what I’m talking about.

It’s clear that I still love Hepburn, and that she still makes me feel fucking awesome. But that doesn’t mean I have to particularly love Spencer Tracy, or her with him, or all that their relationship seems, at least to this feminist, to represent.

Previously: The Destruction of Fatty Arbuckle.

Anne Helen Petersen is a Doctor of Celebrity Gossip. No, really. You can find evidence (and other writings) here.



458 Comments / Post A Comment

candybeans

SoCH AND Strong female figures! A Wednesday morning one-two punch! Bless you, AHP. Off to read!

candybeans

@candybeans Post-read: I love you SOOOO HAARRRDD AHP. Not to mention the volcano of feelings I have for Katherine Hepburn right now. I think I read "Me" multiple times in 7th grade, and wore out my vhs copy of A Philadelphia Story. "My feet are made of clay, made of clay, don't you know??" All the hearts.

pterodactgirl

@candybeans Ok, so in lieu of responding to you in the other thread, (I'm glad you don't think I'm a stalker,) new proposal. My friend has a box set with Adam's Rib, TPS, Bringing Up Baby, and Woman of the Year. Great 'Pin Up/Crafternoon suggestion or Greatest 'Pin Up/Crafternoon suggestion?

candybeans

@pterodactgirl Brilliant!! Oh, Adam's Rib. Adam's RIIIIIBBBB! so many hearts have I for that movie. let's dooo ittt.

The Lady of Shalott

The Philadelphia Story. THE DRESS. THAT PICTURE.

Slapfight

@The Lady of Shalott Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the Philadelphia Story. The movie that made me find Jimmy Stewart dreamy.

caset

@The Lady of Shalott And that drunk scene! It will always make me giggle with glee. ALWAYS. And the next morning - " I'm going crazy. I'm standing here solidly on my own two hands and going crazy."

@serenityfound

@caset And then it goes all gushy and glorious. "Put me in your pocket" BRB MELTING AWAY

pterodactgirl

@caset Have y'all seen Postcards from the Edge? That scene where Dennis Quaid quotes the drunk scene from Philadelphia Story? I sat there watching it thinking, "This is from Philadelphia Story! He is blatently ripping it off!" and then, "Man, if some guy quoted The Philadelphia Story at me, I would know, but my panties would probably still leave a dent when they hit the floor."

NormaDesmond

@The Lady of Shalott I have always felt that "Put me in your pocket, Mike" is the single most romantic utterance in the history of ever. I say it often, but never with the same heart-dropping effect. I LOVE HER.

omgAileen

@The Lady of Shalott THAT MOVIE. Hands-down my favorite movie forever and always. Sometimes my sisters and I yell "CK Dexter Haaaaaaaaven" if we're trying to get each other's attention.

pterodactgirl

@omgAileen I like to walk into rooms and say, "Where's my wandering parakeet?" for the same reason.

caset

@NormaDesmond Ohhhh I need to show this movie to the boy so that I can start saying this. Because it is such the most romantic. And @omgAileen yes - best name to repeatedly drunkenly shout ever!

@serenityfound

@omgAileen I thought I was the only one who did that! That makes me miss the friend whose attention I would get by doing that...

LoCalCalzoneZone

@omgAileen I named my cat CK Dexter Haven for just this reason. It's so much fun yelling "CK Dexter Haaaaaaaaaaven" at a tabby.

Faintly Macabre

@omgAileen Are you my sister?? Also, when she and I talk on the phone, her saying "last night..." is a cue for me to sing, "I was DRUNK last night, dear Motherrrr, I was drunk the night befoooore..." I pretend she finds it funny.

raised amongst catalogs

@omgAileen YES! When one of our sheep had the first set of twin ram lambs, my dude and I named them Macaulay Connor and CK Dexter Haven just for the pleasure of shouting out the latter.

JoanTition

KATHERINE HEPBURN IS MY FAAAAAVORITE.

Okay! now I can go read!
However I wish it were evening time so I could be wine drunk while I read this.... I feel my Hepburniest after a few glasses.

Decca

@JoanTition It's Leap Day, ie Do Whatever The Fuck You Want Day. Pour yourself a glass!

JoanTition

@Decca I knew I liked you.

atipofthehat

I think you can get piss and vinegar potato chips, but only in New England.

Slapfight

@atipofthehat Cape Cod brand, right?

atipofthehat

@Slapfight

Did you Tri-Sum?

Wachusett (excuse me).

bitzyboozer

"I’ll watch it over Bringing Up Baby any day, and I’m ready to fight you in the comments."

BRING IT.

Decca

@bitzyboozer I'll back you up!

DianaPrince

@bitzyboozer Also... leopards, not cheetahs. (sorry AHP! I just heep hearing KH saying leopard in my head in that fantastic voice and I can't ignore her.)

Equestrienne

@bitzyboozer "I can't give you anything but love, baayyyby!" I can't even begin to tell you how much this movie made me want to adopt a jungle cat and serenade it.

@serenityfound

@bitzyboozer I'm in the Holiday camp, although I take umbrage at the suggestion that the little sister in Philadelphia Story is anything less than obnoxiously perfect.

Ophelia

@xx-xx-xx God, I just want to say EVERYTHING the way she says, "leopards."

frigwiggin

@bitzyboozer I'm on AHP's side, Holiday just tears my heart. Plus, Leopold the giraffe! As a giraffe fanatic, that sold it for me. (To be fair, I haven't yet seen Bringing Up Baby, but Holiday! Holiday! Hoooolidaaaaaay.)

Gracefully and Grandly

@@serenityfound Agreed! "lydia oh lydia, say, have you met lydia..." She's perfectly horrible.

@serenityfound

@figwiggin Bringing Up Baby is intensely awesome. There's just so much more going on in Holiday and it plays with some darker things that I have to be on its side in this debate. Also, anything that makes use of Grant's tumbling skills trumps most other things!

DianaPrince

@@serenityfound - In Bringing Up Baby he both falls off a Dinosaur and down a hill, breaking his glasses! And KH also falls down the hill and breaks her heel, and it's adorable.

hungrybee

@xx-xx-xx I was born on the side of a hill.

@serenityfound

@xx-xx-xx True, but I feel like there's a difference between that ("clumsy" tumbling) and the intentional performative tumbling in Holiday. The clumsy stuff is charming and gigglingly adorable, but watching suave, classy Grant go all vaudeville is just sublime!

pterodactgirl

@figwiggin
1. The Philadelphia Story
2. Holiday
3. Bringing Up Baby
4. Every other movie currently in existence.

pterodactgirl

@pterodactgirl Except maybe His Girl Friday.

datalass

@@serenityfound I know! I adore her. Especially her scene with Uncle Willy.

bitzyboozer

@hungrybee I go around with one shoe on chanting "I was born on the side of a hill, I was born on the side of a hill," ALL the time. It amuses no one but me and I don't care.

I will forever be biased in Bringing Up Baby's favor, probably because I saw it when I was a teenager and instantly fell in love with its screwball awesomeness. I just finally got around to watching Holiday maybe a year ago, and I can't say it left that big an impression on me. Maybe I need to give it a rewatch.

Cavendish

@@serenityfound I love her for The Women.

And that part when she says something "stinks" and the mother tells her not to say that, and to only say something "smells" if absolutely necessary.

@serenityfound

@Cavendish "Don't say stinks, dear. If absolutely necessary, "smells", but only if absolutely necessary."

theharpoon

@serenityfound Exactly! The whole point is that she's horrible! My sister and I sing Lydia Oh Lydia on the regular.

theharpoon

And by "regular," I mean every year at the beach when we are loudly proclaiming "MY, BUT SHE'S YAR" and throwing our arms about.

@serenityfound

@theharpoon ON HER BACK IS THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO

raised amongst catalogs

@@serenityfound Oh, exactly. I love when she makes hungover Uncle Willy go for a ride in her little chariot because it's "very intimate."

City_Dater

Hepburn and Grant! Best romantic comedy team ever. Can I just watch Holiday again right now, please? And Jimmy Stewart in Philadelphia Story is the Best Jimmy Stewart ever.
Bless you for finally getting to KH. I needed this today.

Decca

@City_Dater Much as I love Hepburn, I have to say I think Irene Dunne and Cary Grant are the best romantic comedy team ever.

bitzyboozer

@Decca The Awful Truth!

Decca

@bitzyboozer My all time favourite screwball comedy and the movie I put on when I'm in need of a pick-me-up. Just the absolute funniest.

Craftastrophies

@City_Dater Grant's face in the glasses photo and the wedding photo both made me laugh out loud, involuntarily, with joy. Oh, Grant! How are you so perfectly absurd! So earnest, so ridiculous!

Decca

I love Katharine Hepburn and if you do too, you may like Katie's Corner. An impression done with a lot of affection!

EpWs

@Decca Boooooooookmarked. I'm making me some Hepburn Brownies this weekend.

Hot Doom

@Decca HEPBROWNIES! I have seen this recipe before but have never made them, so thanks for trotting it out!

EpWs

@Decca Now that I'm home and can watch that--so good! I love it! And now I'm down the Alexandra Billings youtube rabbit hole--how did I not know about her before? She's fabulous.

Decca

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I nearly peed myself when she was talking about Debbie Reynolds's g-string. Yeah, Alexandra Billings is one of those all-round brilliant humans.

Nancy Sin

You posted this just in time for me to read while eating lunch at my desk, didn't you AHP? <3

Lily Rowan

@Nancy Sin Ditto! Yay.

thundertheft

@Nancy Sin I took lunch a little early, just so I could sit and read this without being bothered.

de-lurked

What do people think of Hepburn's disdain for Meryl Streep and her acting? Just professional rivalry? To me, both Katherine Hepburn and Meryl Streep have a similar sort of cerebral acting style so it seemed odd that Hepburn was so dismissive of Meryl Streep (if I remember correctly, there was some quote from KH about being able to see "the wheels turning in her head" when MS acted).

bitzyboozer

@de-lurked That's interesting. I would say there's more obvious craft and capital-A Acting in Streep's performances (maybe that's what "the wheels turning thing" is about) but they also seem very similar to me in that neither of them really loses themselves in a role. You're always very aware that you're watching MS or KH when you're watching them.

pterodactgirl

@de-lurked I've never understood this. I don't know if it was some sort of jealousy or perhaps that their "styles" or "methods" of getting into character were similar enough that Hepburn was seeing something the rest of us can't. I love both actresses and do see a unity in the way that they are always somehow themselves (strong, intelligent, feminine, sexy) in their roles. They've also both got really striking looks that fall outside the Hollywood norm. Love them!

datalass

I remember hitting the same roadblock vis a vis Hepburn and her relationship with Tracy. When I was a tween (a nerd tween it probably doesn't need to be said), I ADORED her films, which led me to devour biographies of her, which led me to become kind of conflicted about her and to kind of loathe Tracy.

But then. I read a story about how, when experiencing some acute professional failure (I seem to recall a failed play but it could have been the box office poison period), instead of hiding out, nursing her wounds, she went home to a family that she knew in their tough Yankee way would tease her pretty mercilessly. Anyway, the person relating this story said something like, "She took it on the chin. She was vulnerable, but she could take it." And for me, it clicked: a person can be two things at once, in this case staggeringly vulnerable and yet strong enough to handle that vulnerability.

I couldn't help but apply that to her relationship with Tracy as well, and it changed my whole outlook. It gave me a way to reconcile her strength and independence with her being permanently, irrationally in love. In all honesty, I think it went even further and gave me a paradigm for what love can sometimes look like.

candybeans

@datalass Yep. She was such a fucking boss! But... let herself be the cheated-on other woman, though she most certainly knew better. I also devoooooured books about Hepburn as a tween because I so admired her movies and palpable intelligence in them, and it wasn't until I got quite a bit older that I realized the Tracy relationship was totally wacked (late-blooming feminist, here). But she's still a boss. Just a human one with a couple blind spots, like all of us.

rayray

@datalass That is super awesome, both in terms of Hepburn and general life. *applause*

acookieaday

I've never cared for Tracy with her either. He was not attractive and treated her poorly.

Since you tangentially mentioned it, when are you going to do an Olivier/Vivian Leigh piece?

hoo:ha

In Defense of Spence:

1. Wow, you must have had a lot of DILFs at your country club!
2. His wife wouldn't allow a divorce! She refused to admit that their marriage had been a failure. He moved on with his life, but she wouldn't. This was complicated by the fact that their son was deaf, which was probably even harder then than now, and there was the "disabled child putting strain on a marriage" effect as well as the "I feel bad forcing the divorce issue since you were primary carer for our disabled child" factor.

3. Are you mad! Don't get me wrong, I love Cary Grant too, but LAWDY Spencer Tracy is sextastical.

@serenityfound

@hoo:ha He is a tool, but GOOD GOD I agree with you. I've never been able to figure out why I find him as sextastical as I do...but there you have it.

EpWs

KATHARINE HEPBURN. The best, the best, the best.

SarahP

Thanks for including what happened to her husband! I always get frustrated when non-famous Hollywood spouses go missing in articles about their famous loved ones.

Also, she did her own stunts because her stunt doubles' postures weren't good enough?! Katherine Hepburn was so hardcore!

hungrybee

Please read her autobiography, Me, if you haven't. It's so fun to read her voice, and not just listen to it.

JoanTition

@hungrybee SECONDED.

steph_cathleen

@hungrybee THIRDED! The absolute best autobiography I've read.

As a tomboy child, she was my hero. I HATED skirts, dresses, anything feminine with a passion. But when I saw how awesome, smart, funny, and drop dead glamorous she was- pants and dresses alike, my mind was blown.

I dunno about Spencer Tracy, but from what she wrote about him, it sounds like they had Something Special. Who can know but them?

hungrybee

I took this book out from the library, and the librarian squeed. The MALE librarian. This book is the biz.

EpWs

@hungrybee Added to the list! And wishing that she'd recorded it as a book on tape, sigh.

slutberry

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher IN HER VOICE

slutberry

@teffodee @The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Ah. Hence the "she'd recorded it". I am a dunce.

LRMG

@hungrybee It does exist as a book on tape - read by Hepburn. I remember listening to it on a long car ride somewhere in my youth. This was right when it first came out and I vividly remember because the mean adolescent boys kept making fun of how she talked.

hungrybee

@LRMG Whaaaaaaaat. Oh great, I know how I am spending the rest of my workday!

EpWs

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Also you can listen to a clip and she talks about her husband and Spencer Tracy and it's heartbreaking and amaaaaaaaazing.

EpWs

Also I hate to be this girl but: Scarlett O'Hara, two "T"s. Please. :)

tortietabbie

Oh man - every installment of SoCH makes me want to have a movie marathon! Especially this time. Love me some Katharine Hepburn. <3

oh, disaster

I can believe Katharine would be a perfect Jo (though I'm still Wino Forever), but I'm giving that Laurie a side eye until I see it.

pterodactgirl

@andrea disaster She is the perfect Jo. If there were some way of transplanting her into the 1994 version I could die happy, because I like most of the other actors (particularly Christian Bale and Garbriel Byrne) from that version better.

thundertheft

@andrea disaster June Allyson (1949 version with Elizabeth Taylor) will forever and always be my Jo.

Craftastrophies

@thundertheft I need to rewatch both of these. I haven't seen them since childhood, and don't recall anything about them.

Also, Gabriel Byrne forever. Professor Bhaer forever! And down with Amy Marsh.

Faintly Macabre

@thundertheft Agreed. Maybe just because I saw it a million times when I was little, before I ever watched the new one? Though Liz Taylor as Amy is kind of funny.

hoo:ha

YES do read the last couple of chapters of Hepburn's autobiography Me: Stories of My Life if you want to REALLY scrutinise her love for Spence. She defines what love is (for her) very clearly. I wish I had such a cogent view for myself. It can feel a bit cringy from certain feminist perspectives... but it totally made her happy, so Kate FTW.

@serenityfound

I haven't even read the article yet but KATHARINE HEPBURN. I cried like such a baby when she died, because she was (and is) one of my greatest heroes and I would now never be able to meet her. #truestory

@serenityfound

@@serenityfound (I have now read the piece and it is lovely. Also, skateboarding Katharine Hepburn FTW!)

themegnapkin

How is Katharine Hepburn not considered a classic beauty? Those cheekbones! The wide-set eyes, perfect skin, full lips! How is that not classic?

Megasus

@themegnapkin That's what I was thinking! Also: a super hot dude!

datalass

@themegnapkin I always think of the scene from Guess Who's Coming to Dinner where Sidney Poitier tells her character's daughter that her mother is more beautiful and the daughter replies jubilantly "I know!" Like, it's such a true thing that nobody could even question, let alone get offended about.

I LOVED watching Katherine Hepburn age, seeing her flesh mold itself more and more delicately over those perfect bones. (Er, that sounds a little Hannibal Lecter or something. But, you know, yeah, she's really beautiful.)

HMSBeagle

@Megan Patterson@facebook As a man, she looks a lot like Hunter Parrish, the son from Weeds.

Craftastrophies

@heliotropegerbil8 I thought she kind of looked like David Bowie. I think it's the cheekbones.

Kira Goldenberg

I think KH's dad was a urologist, not oncologist.

Edith Zimmerman

@Kira Goldenberg Thx!

atipofthehat

@Edith Zimmerman

That's a big mistake. Urine a lot of trouble.

PistolPackinMama

@atipofthehat Speaking of piss and vinegar.

Urethra perfectionist about details, or you aren't.

atipofthehat

@PistolPackinMama

Well, you gotta look out for Number 1.

rayray

@atipofthehat It was only a wee mistake.

frigwiggin

@atipofthehat @PistolPackinMama

Y'all should pee nicer to Edith.

Oh, squiggles

@rayray Hope no one got pissed off by the mistake.

atipofthehat

@figwiggin

It's nothing we can't settle with a sit-down.

PistolPackinMama

@atipofthehat We should just wipe this incident from our memories, I think.

frigwiggin

@atipofthehat You've sure got some (kidney) stones, talking like that!

atipofthehat

@figwiggin

This wouldn't be my first pissing contest. I have a gold cup at home.

Oh, squiggles

@atipofthehat Why can't it just be passing water under the bridge?

PistolPackinMama

@Awesomely Nonfunctional Someone leaked that I am a confrontational person, I guess.

pterodactgirl

@Edith Zimmerman I hate to point out another stain on the Hairpin's reputation for peerless editing (ok, this might be stretching the urine puns a bit far, sorry!), but shouldn't it also be hanged instead of hung when referring to a person?

atipofthehat

@pterodactgirl

As someone who has been referred to as "hung," Hi there.

PistolPackinMama

@pterodactgirl You nailed it. A picture is hung, a person is hanged. Are we getting roped into another set of terrible puns here?

pterodactgirl

@atipofthehat Well since home is where I hang you, I guess that's understandable.

@PistolPackinMama Yes.

Prostitute Robot From The Future

So sorry, but(t!) I just have to break in and say: I am in love with all the punning going on around here. Also, I reallyreally have to pee now, thanks.

catalina

@atipofthehat Awww go easy on her. Maybe we're just catheter at a bad time. (Too much of a stretch? I'm new here...)

atipofthehat

@catalina

Thanks, but I didn't ask for sprinkles!

(Now, what were you bladdering on about?)

Poubelle

@atipofthehat Gee whiz! Yellow a lot of puns!

PistolPackinMama

Wooooooo! Yesssssssss.

Okay. Gonna read it now.

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama I think I love her a little more for the Spencer Tracy business. She's a real person... but he seems like a tool.

Also, hah hah Academy for the Dick Tracy jibe.

brakattack

You guys, up until last year I thought Audrey Hepburn was Katharine Hepburn's daughter.

Whoops.

BethH

Does the hairpin have my apartment bugged? Literally had this conversation on Saturday night!

Oh, squiggles

@BethH Haha, this has happened to me too! We drank the koolaid, now we listen to the Hairpin radio waves with our aluminum foil hats.

bonnbee

Please PLEASE PLEASSSSEEEE make SOCH into a coffee-table book! I want to give a copy to everyone I know.

nowwhat

@bonnbee Seconded! SOCH always makes me want to take a film class, one that actually talks about costume design and the studio system and how the behind-the-scenes machinations affected what was onscreen, and vice versa.

pterodactgirl

@bonnbee I feel like I frequently do this to the Hairpin writers, who I'm sure have many other projects and obligations and may not appreciate it, but please, all of you write books. I will buy them and support your author-y lifestyles. At this point I'm convinced bookshelf will never be complete until I have a hardcover coffee-table book of SCoH, Carolita Johnson's illustrated memoir, and at least several volumes of The League of Ordinary Ladies comics. Love all you guys.

sallydapper

@bonnbee Yes! It'd be so nice to read it with all the B&W pictures, crisp pages and the smell of ink. Also, a great gift. AHP, a Doctor of Celebrity Gossip, has got to have a book! But i would think it entails a lot of legal...erm, things...to settle.

StoneGirl

@bonnbee Yes please yes!

Slapfight

What I've noticed about these major female Hollywood stars is that none of them were "ditzy blondes." None of them. Not even Marilyn, who was known to the public as a vulnerable, dizzy, little girly-sexpot, while in reality was reading everything she could get her hands on and omitting "obey" from her marriage vows.
It's interesting that the masses seem to love intelligence, even if they think they don't.
Ms. Hepburn was amazing. I love her "this is what I like and I don't care what you think" attitude.

Speaking of cake, I have cake

As always, AHP pulls it out of the bag with the last picture! She is WEARING that suit.

My new ambition is to be badass enough to end up in a position that what I'm 'settling' for is the equivalent of Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart

pterodactgirl

@skyandgorse Seriously. I'm going to try to be more like Katharine Hepburn every day, with the hope that this situation will result.

BeSarcastic

YOU ROCKED THIS SO HARD. The face, those shoulders, that hair, the refusal to compromise that made her maddening yet loved... you captured everything. Plus, I already loved you, but I love you even more for the Mark Ruffalo mention. Bless.

Can you do Viven Leigh sometime?

EpWs

@BeSarcastic Seconding the Vivien Leigh request!

themegnapkin

@BeSarcastic And, *Audrey* Hepburn, too?

Aunt Pete

I have an uncontrollable urge to go watch The Lion in Winter right.now. My favorite movie with my favorite leading lady :)

dtowngirl

@Aunt Pete I love that movie! Definitely one of my favorites.

bitzyboozer

@Aunt Pete Aaah Lion in Winter! So so good, it's like a guilty pleasure movie, so dishy, yet you don't have to feel guilty at all because it's actually great!

agba

@Aunt Pete THE BEST! Couldn't believe the post didn't mention it. She is a force of nature in it. And whenever I watch it I end up quoting it for days. (OK, I quote it all the time anyway.)

Mila

@Aunt Pete The Lion in Winter is the BEST MOVIE EVER! Like my uncontested favorite movie of all time and forever. And it is Hepburn that makes it perfect. And she is her most beautiful in it.

you're a kitty!

@Aunt Pete Good lord that movie is my favorite movie that exists.

-You're not an assassin.
-Look again.

whimseywisp

HEPBURN!!!! LOVE HER SO HARD.

Jenn

The fact that you managed to fit both a Downton reference AND a Pootie Tang reference into this has seriously taken my AHP lady-crush to the next level.

thundertheft

@Jenn POOTIE TANG!!

sophia_h

My dad gave me the weird name of an Olympic shot putter, so my mother got to name my sister after her favorite actress, Katharine Hepburn. GUESS WHO GOT THE BETTER NAME.

(my only consolation is that she didn't realize it was spelled with an a, so my sister's name is technically spelled wrong, haha)

hopelessshade

@sophia_h meee tooooo. Also I think my mum would not have liked KH enough to name me after her if she realized how stinking liberal feminist she was. (My mum is decidedly not these things, and lurves the Hepburn-Tracy story to boot) So I adore my not-quite namesake for the opposite, more excellent reasons.

sophia_h

@hopelessshade Now I wonder how many misspelled KH namesakes are out there? Frankly, it's probably better in the long run for you guys since her spelling is unusual and you would usually get the "e" spelling anyhow, but I wonder.

hopelessshade

@sophia_h It's true, and I already have an unpronouncable/spellable Basque last name. STILL. Lazy parents!

Rose.E

I was semi-named after Katharine Hepburn, my mum was Kathryn so obviously she couldn't take the direct route so she named me after her character in African Queen. Why that movie I don't know!

Also for some reason my Nanna told everyone that I was named after Sturt's Desert Rose, because I was born in Alice Springs (think Uluru). Clearly Nanna was not a Katharine fan!

Rose.E

@Rose.E Also I'll just point out that I registered just to post that but now that I'm out of my lurky shadows I fully intend to comment regular like

plonk

katharine hepburn inspires me to sit up straight!

youresmalltime

I am going home and watching the greatest monologue in cinema immediately. "Don't speak, Hilary. Just go."

thundertheft

@youresmalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7__WVG7vM8

chickaboom

<3 Hepburn, so much.
LION IN THE WINTER ANYBODY?

@serenityfound

@chickaboom UGH YES. Talk about having a dick for a husband/partner, though!

Megasus

Ooof Dick Tracy! ACADEMY BURN!! Seriously, that is some scorched earth right there.

Decca

Girls who worship Katharine Hepburn > girls who worship Audrey Hepburn

frigwiggin

@Decca Aw, I like them both! I am much newer to Katharine than I am to Audrey, so it's like "meet new amazing old film stars but keep the old, yadda yadda."

NormaDesmond

@Decca I judge people who prefer Audrey to Kate. I can't help it, I just do.

themegnapkin

@Decca What about girls who think Katharine H. = Audren H.?

(Not girls who think they're the same person, girls who think they're equally awesome.)

Decca

@themegnapkin I wasn't a big Audrey fan until I watched the COMPLETELY INSANE Funny Face, specifically this scene and then I liked her.

monicamcl

@Decca I love them both, but I love Audrey more. Her life before and after her film career is what tips the scales for me. I also got to see her read passages from the Diary of Anne Frank at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia back when I was in high school, and it was an incredible, humbling experience. I'll never forget it.

martinipie

@Decca But girls who love either of the Hepburns > girls who love Marilyn. amirite??????

Decca

@martinipie I dunno, I think once you start to really look into Marilyn's career she's actually very interesting and smart and tragic in unexpected ways! But if we're talking about the girls (all over my Facebook feed? How did they all get there?) who just post those awful "If you don't love me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best" quotations, then yes.

NormaDesmond

@Decca I completely agree with this. The popular depiction of Marilyn is so different than she was. The girls who don't scratch the surface of her don't even know the half. As much as they think they love her, they don't even know her at all! And I think I can imagine how she would feel about that.

Decca

@NormaDesmond 'zactly. Have you heard the story about her giving a press conference and saying she wanted to adapt The Brothers Karamazov for the screen? And some juicebox reporter asked her "Do you know how to spell Dostoevsky, Marilyn?". People underestimated her all her life.

acookieaday

@Decca Wrong. It's not at all a competition; they're both awesome. I'll allow that the girls, who like Audrey Hepburn for her clothes and who haven't really seen her body of work and who just like that one poster, are silly. Have you ever seen Two for the Road?

Decca

@acookieaday I'll admit that I haven't seen that, but in general Audrey projects a...timidity (?) in a lot of her performances that just doesn't do it for me. Although some of her films are wonderful - Don't Look Now! - and she seems like she was a lovely, truly philanthropic person. But God do I hate Breakfast At Tiffanys.

StoneGirl

@Decca Have you watched How to Steal A Million? It's really my only Audrey film that I truly enjoy. I prefer her real life to anything I see of her on screen.

themegnapkin

@Decca During World War II, Audrey Hepburn carried messages for the resistance in her native Belgium. She figured (and was right) that the Germans would never suspect a little gamine of carrying secret messages in her bicycle basket. For that, I am in awe, and she has my undying respect. Audrey forever!

themegnapkin

@themegnapkin Ah, not to reply to Decca, solely.

Pixie

@Decca
How many times can I like your observation? To me, Katharine vs. Audrey is woman vs girl, and I continue to be amazed by the number of adult women who wish to be perceived as adorable girls. I am paraphrasing a long forgotten quote here, but I once read the a comment that being charmingly is still a subservient state, because you are dependant on others wanting to like you. This is my problem with the Audrey/girlie idolization.

I went to the KH auction at Sotheby's. That was an amazing experience - talking to all these older women about how much we admired KH's life. And her possessions were all so humble. Ah, Old Money.

Poubelle

@Decca Okay, that worst/best quote annoys me because I'm pretty sure it's totally fake--she never said that.

Also, Audrey H is pretty awesome in Wait Until Dark. (Alan Arkin is also pretty incredible in that movie, though you will never think about beatniks in the same way again.) I still like Katharine better, just because Philadelphia Story and Holiday and Bringing Up Baby are a triple-punch of everything I love about old movies.

Gracefully and Grandly

I'm so happy that I have The Philadelphia Story at home. I've always loved that she "settled" for Grant and Stewart. If only I could go watch it righnowimmediately. Alas, work.

bluestreakmama

I registered just to comment on this post! My favourite Hepburn film (though it's a tough call) is The Lion in Winter. Two hours of sassy 12th century one-liners!

Mila

@bluestreakmama And heartbreak! And a dysfunctional family to top all dysfunctional families! If anyone is about to go on a Hepburn movie marathon, make sure to watch this one too!

wee_ramekin

Hoooooooooly crap AHP, if you are going to put hot androgynous pictures of Katharine Hepburn in an article, there needs to be a 'NSFW' warning in bold, all caps and double-underlined, because I think I just had an orgasm. At work.

God damn!

frigwiggin

@wee_ramekin Hahaha, I just posted the same thing. That picture is...going in a folder. For later.

wee_ramekin

@figwiggin Put this one in the folder too.

slutberry

@wee_ramekin Speaking of hot androgynous pics, have you seen Bryher in the crazy-ass silent film "Borderline"? She is adorable and also smokin'.

Irma Vep

@wee_ramekin Ahem: http://maudit.tumblr.com/post/14734813867

Pony-girl

@wee_ramekin ... as an aside isn't the whole Spencer Tracy thing mitigated by the fact that she is rumoured to have had hundreds of liaisons with ladies. Not a victim. Not!

frigwiggin

@wee_ramekin @Irma Vep Hhhhhhomina.

nito

reading this has made me 75% less cranky. thank you AHP!

frigwiggin

Oh good lord. I'm a new fan to the KH enterprise, and that image from Sylvia Scarlett may end me. Ah! I know that sexifying androgyny and genderqueer stuff is problematic, but...hnggghh.

wee_ramekin

@figwiggin Feel no shame Figlet, I am two comments ahead of you on that one ;o). Or I guess, feel both ashamed and aroused with me. But not like....with me. Uh...okay, weird. I'm backing away slowly now.

Also, wait. Is sexifying androgyny and gender-queer stuff problematic? How so? I had not heard that, and I am going to be really sad if need to tell my nethers to put their feelings on ice.

ETA: I love that we're passing each other like gay ships in the night on this comment thread.

frigwiggin

@wee_ramekin I've read things on both sides of it, actually, and like anybody with a good amount of Privilege Guilt, I tend to assume that anything I do is problematic. (Ack.) I guess it has to do with, like many other things, the problem of objectification? Like when Erika Moen made a DAR strip about her attraction to transmen and many people in the trans community felt offended and objectified. I'm not sure I have the vocabulary or education in trans issues to talk properly about cis privilege, but there it is. Then again, I may be overthinking things too much, as usual. (I recently had a crisis of conscience about objectifying images of attractive celebrities and movie stars in general *coughEmmaWatson* *coughBenedictCumberbatch* and whether that makes me a creepy and terrible person, so this may also be feeding off of that.)

Edit: Gay ships in the night yessss

Oh, squiggles

That photo is the argument for why androgyny is both appealing and attractive.

As an artist, I just come at it from the mindset that humanity in all it's variety and splendor is pretty amazing and beautiful, so seeing an example of that is a good thing, and no guilt necessary for choosing to appreciate it.

atipofthehat

@figwiggin
@wee_ramekin

Nurse, get the approved list of nonproblematic attractions, STAT!

Wait, we're just supposed to...?

But then there would be freedom

melis

"How dare you find me attractive," zhie(qqly) sneered, cheekbones flashing in anger. "You have no right to acknowledge that my body exists. No right at all."

"I'm sorry," she sobbed. "I know it's fetishizing and othering of me to experience sexual attraction to a human based upon their physical body."

"'A human?'" shliezzhym roared. "So you're labeling me now? That's all I am to you? A human? Doesn't that wrap everything up in a neat and tidy bow. Doesn't that just put me in my fucking place."

"I just wanted...to tell you...that you looked really nice in that blazer," she hiccoughed in between great, racking bouts of tears.

"And now look what you've done," xxxyyyyzzzz said. "You've ruined feminism."

melis

Also: All hail Katharine Hepburn, Queen of the Dykes. Spencer Tracy forsooth. Spencer Tracy my eye.

miwome

@figwiggin I...am with you. Also, I don't think a SWINTON resemblance would have ever occurred to me, but I really see one there.

In conclusion, PHILADELPHIA STORY IS AWESOME.

frigwiggin

@melis I knew it! I knew I'd ruined feminism. And all because of that damn blazer.

@miwome !!! Yes! Ahhh, Tilda, Katharine, let's all group hug.

miwome

@figwiggin BENEDICT. CUMBERBATCH. YES. I will now provide you a link that includes photos of him shooting a fight scene for Star Trek.

PAGING @SHE SAVED THE WORLD, ALOT (@SVTWA and I spend a lot of time talking about BC. Whoops, I mean, Alot of time.)

atipofthehat

@melis

Now I will use the expression “drop a hairpin” as much as I can.

monicamcl

That SS photo is nearly identical to a photo I used to have of a very young David Bowie. I wish I could find it now; the resemblance is uncanny.

Alice Prin

@miwome I am starting to identify the word "Swinton" as a serious trigger. Like in "Girl Interrupted" when they all go batshit giggly- crazy over the mention of nuts at the ice cream shop.

That is me when you mention the Tilda.

sophia_h

@miwome Augh, I have to assume that BC's ears must just be burning ALL THE TIME based on the sheer number of super-closeup intense photos of him on my Tumblr dash every day and all the orgasmic squeeing over them in the notes. (I orgasmically squee to myself, thank you.) Sometimes I feel bad, and then I remember he gets paid a lot of money to be an orgasmic-squee object.

frigwiggin

@miwome @sophia_h My heart! My heart. He gets me every single time.

Blackwatch Plaid

@figwiggin If objectifying Benedict Cumberbatch is wrong, I don't want to be right.

@serenityfound

@figwiggin TRUTH.

sophia_h

@figwiggin I was kind of scared to click on that link because sometimes it is too much for MY HEART when I come across some suuuuper-dreamy photo. (I am a thirty year old married lady, what is happening to my changing body?) Also it was fine when I was just all "I like this show/character, it's cool," but now even pictures of him with his weirdo blonde hair give me the "ack!" reaction. Plz help, this is embarrassing.

Blackwatch Plaid

@sophia_h For me, it was the voice. Back when I had never heard him speak, I thought he was goofy-looking. Oh, how things have changed. Have you heard him narrate the audiobook of Casanova, by any chance?

sophia_h

@glittercock No, I've been scared that I would turn the corner on something dark and never come back from being a 12 year old girl with a crush.

frigwiggin

@glittercock Whoa whoa whoa, hold the phone. Audiobooks? Oh my good god.

Craftastrophies

@figwiggin Ah Ahg ajasd aijandih AHGHSHG!!!!!!!!!!!

Craftastrophies

@figwiggin See, part of my thing with androgyny* is that I am attracted to attributes both male and female, which do not always live on bodies that are either of those. But those things are many and varied, and also I love the contrasts and playing with power/performance, etc. So I find androgyny really... confusing, both in my brain and my lady areas. And pretty devastating, in a rug pulled out from under my feet, type way.

which, I would like to point out, is not just about thin, fey people, it may also be massive butch men/ladies/neither or a whole bunch of other things.

frigwiggin

@Craftastrophies I dig that! Contrasts are fabulous and often confuse my heart/vagina too, in (what I think is) a good way. I'm just always nervous about ignoring my privilege and making other people feel less human, or denying anybody's agency. Which makes me loads of to be around!

@glittercock Ahhhhh nooooo. I will not listen at work, I will not listen at work, I will not listen at work...

Craftastrophies

@figwiggin Yes, I know what you mean. And it's a tricky line, I think, when you are undeniably privileged (as I am, also). I mean, I don't think that I am attracted to certain people because they are trans, etc. I am attracted to... things that may or may not belong to binary genders, and be on binary gendered people. I'm not sure that I even have the language to articulate that.

But, I mean... I think it is a good and admirable thing to try to avoid making people feel grossed out, which I think some people are by other people thinking that their transness/whatever else is sexy and sexual. So, hooray for you! But then some other people are into people being into their otherness and... argh.

frigwiggin

@Craftastrophies Yes--part of being attracted to certain things in people is recognizing that those things do not define the person. I try to do this with celebrities, too, and not reduce them to their (hnnnngh) face or (hnnngh) voice, and remember that they're people who fart in bed and burn the toast and have bad days.

Except for Paul Newman, of course, who was a perfect energy being made of pure light.

sophia_h

@glittercock *dies* See, this is the kind of thing that is just too much for me to handle at times. Though it probably doesn't help that I spent the last couple of days writing really, really explicit Sherlock porn.

miwome

@sophia_h @figwiggin @glittercock AAAHHHH MY PEOPLE

The audiobooks thing is going to break me. I just got to work and I spent all day YESTERDAY doing nothing because of my stupid cold, AND NOW THIS. The universe doesn't want me to be productive. Maybe I'll listen and think about how underpaid I am. OH GOOD GOD I JUST SAW THE TUMBLR LINK it is all over.

@Craftastrophies For me, being attracted to androgyny partly has to do with the qualities I want to see in myself? Like, when I get crushes on girls it's always girls who look a lot like I looked when I was most androgynous, which is probably really weird, but there you have it.

Craftastrophies

@miwome Huh. That's interesting. It made me realise that I'm mostly attracted to things that I would like to be, but mostly things that are the opposite of how I am. Physical and personality-wise, regardless of gender.

sophia_h

@miwome Tumblr is basically for being broken. Also, have you seen some of the ridiculous fanart? *fans self, then dies again*

frigwiggin

@glittercock Hahahaha, his impression of a Southern woman, hahahaha. Ohhhhmigod. Quietly smothering giggles in my (thankfully otherwise empty) office.

sophia_h

@figwiggin @miwome This reminds me, anyone want to swap Tumblr names? Mine is sophiahelix and I enjoy reblogging pictures of beautiful British men, among other things.

frigwiggin

@sophia_h Ooh, yay! I don't tumbl myself, but I'm going to add yours to my Google Reader posthaste.

miwome

@sophia_h Oh word! So mine is more of a travel blog. I have not yet located any beautiful British men here in Cairo (but they're out there. THEY HAVE TO BE), soooooo I dunno if that's really what you were expecting, but I would be pleased to exchange these "names" you speak of. (I know NOTHING about tumblr, seriously.)

fursasaida.tumblr.com is the url. (Does this mean my name is fursasaida? Teach me your ways.)

She Saved The World, Alot

@miwome LATE TO THE GAME BUT RESPONDING TO MY PAGE. I would be the worst doctor ever.

Oh, Benedict. *swoonity swoon-swoon*

She Saved The World, Alot

@glittercock HE NARRATES THE AUDIO BOOK OF CASANOVA?!

I think my face is actually beet-red at work just THINKING about this.

Craftastrophies

@miwome You should enable asks or something, because I wanted to tell you that I would call Isma’il your Boy Friday. Because when I had basically that job (I was Admin trainee, variously also called the Office Bitch, mostly only by me and the girl who used to do the same job) I referred to myself as the Girl Friday. I did all the things no one else did. But I couldn't, because, no asks or anything.

My tumblr is craftastrophies, also, but I haven't posted since probably december, I think.

She Saved The World, Alot

@sophia_h Please link us all to this Sherlock porn? (OH MY GOD AM I WEIRD NOW? I'M TOTALLY WEIRD.)

miwome

@Craftastrophies Aaaaahhh if only I understood anything about tumblr I would! Maybe I will figure it out.

Maybe I'll say Guy Friday? But to myself only, obviously.

sophia_h

@She Saved The World, Alot Wellllp, there are now two stories, and they can be found here: http://archiveofourown.org/series/15963 (oh god, I just linked my porn on the Hairpin, hello everyone!)

She Saved The World, Alot

@sophia_h You have just made me so happy. I literally just spent about 2hours on the fuckyeahmysteryhusbands tumblr, linking my Sherlock-inclined friends to every squee-worthy picture, and now this!

Here's to me having a fanflippingtastic Thursday night.

She Saved The World, Alot

@sophia_h "a tense ball of wounded dignity" is perfect. Perfect!!!

And "Even patently bad ideas like this one" is my favorite line.

!!!!

sophia_h

@She Saved The World, Alot Awww, thank you!! I am having a lot of fun writing about the boys. :)

She Saved The World, Alot

@sophia_h Aaaand I just read the second one. Whew, girl, is all I have to say about that one.

And from a, I suppose, more writerly standpoint: PERFECT tone for our boy Sherlock. Spot on.

But mostly: wheeeeew, girl.

sophia_h

@She Saved The World, Alot Thanks! Sherlock voice was kinda scary to write (he's much smarter than me), so I'm glad you liked it! And, uh, yeah, I was not kidding about the "very very explicit" part. My brain is a porny place these days. ;)

wee_ramekin

@sophia_h Hoe. Lee. SHIT grrrl.

That is some amazing stuff you've written there. I loved it! I can't wait to read more installments! Will you update here when/if you write more?

Also, I loved that even though this was very sexually explicit, you built on the actual characters and their histories and their quirks and personalities. It makes the whole thing so much more believable.

I can't wait for John and Sherlock to....well, I dunno! To...whatever you make them do :)!

sophia_h

@wee_ramekin Thank you! *blush* I love writing explicit stories but I think they only work if they're actually about the characters, not just random bodies, you know? It makes it hotter, in my opinion. ;)

And hmm, I am definitely writing more (they will certainly do...things!), I'm just trying to think where the most appropriate place to update is. I post things to the AO3 archive and also Livejournal, plus Tumblr.

wee_ramekin

@sophia_h Could you...maybe post in the Friday Open Threads if you've recently written another installation? I'm selfishly asking that you update on the 'Pin since that is the only site on the web that I regularly check. I have bookmarked the stories on that website that you linked to, but I'm afraid that I'll forget to check them and then I'll never know what happens between Sherlock and John (who, PS, is one of my favorite actors ever).

I totally understand if you don't want to post more about it on the 'Pin though, and I'll just keep checking that page when I remember to! :)

sophia_h

@wee_ramekin Oh, definitely! I'm on the west coast so I don't often get into the open threads, but I will remember just for you. :) I know it's a pain checking sites you don't regularly follow.

And as beautiful as BC is, I would totally pick Martin Freeman for more than a one night stand. I've loved him since the Office aired. Here is a random gifset of him with a beard and glasses: http://sophiahelix.tumblr.com/post/18534516210#notes

Blackwatch Plaid

@figwiggin Oh my gosh, you are wonderful. Now I feel like there needs to be a fandom thread on here for us to flail around in.

She Saved The World, Alot

@glittercock Seconded on the fandom thread! @miwome (where are you, miwome?!) and I played my Sherlock drinking game on Galentine's, and miwome fixing up the transcript complete with screencaps (SCREENCAPS) in hopes that maybe it'll make it into a silly Hairpin post? So if it DOES...maybe we can all flail there?

@sophia_h - Definitely keep us updated on the stories! It's actually my first foray into slash because...I was silly as a teenager and didn't think to make use of the Sirius/Remus pairing? But I looooove John/Sherlock. And seriously, the way you got into his head is impressive (especially the deduction part! In the room! Where he's all "DATA! DATAAAA!...sex.")

Also Sherlock and his whole awkward-how-do-I-interact-with-mortals thing...I love it. Just, you know, in general. Soft spot in my heart for him forevarrr. And John, being all lovely about it.

So happy now.

miwome

@She Saved The World, Alot I am here! I answer the call! And lulz, I almost posted exactly the same thing you did (we did this thing, you guys!) but then I thought maybe it was weird and I don't know I chickened out. But! Everyone! Feel free to encourage us, because I am terrified to submit it (@Alot are you terrified?).

She Saved The World, Alot

@miwome No! Because I think we are brilliant! And also because...there are SCREENCAPS. And because that transcript makes me gleeful!

And also because I already submitted the rules hahaha.

miwome

@She Saved The World, Alot Aw, hurray for brilliance! We are brilliant!

frigwiggin

@miwome I hope we get to see it, that sounds hilaaaars.

sophia_h

@figwiggin I am kind of an embarrassingly old hand at fandom (13 years now!) but didn't get into slash until a few years ago. I admit that not only was Lupin/Snape my favorite HP pairing, but I really see a lot of them in John/Sherlock, both physically and in their personalities and how fandom likes to write them. Since Remus/Sirius was by far the more popular pairing, I feel like I'm getting a second chance!

She Saved The World, Alot

@sophia_h I was weirdly into Snape/Hermione? I mean, I only really read one fanfic with that pairing, but it was SUCH A GOOD FIC. Now I kinda think there are some issues with that - because he was so much older, because she was his apprentice at the time - but when I was 16 (and lusting after one of MY teachers?) that fic went straight to my heart(/vagina?) haha.

I can totally see Lupin/Snape in John/Sherlock...but I find Sherlock a lot more likeable than Snape? (But Snape in HP6 and 7, and I guess even glimpses in 5) breaks my heart.

I wrote fic too! But I was 15-16, and it was terrible and heavily Mary-Sue-ish. (so. so. sueish oh god there was an American exchange student love interest for Sirius how embarassing). But I wrote a looooot about the Marauders, because they are my favorite, and...would totally love it if JKR was like "HEY! She Saved The World, Alot! I'm not gonna write a series about the Marauders, but you totally can!"

But I mean...Voldemort's first attempt at a coup? The young Order? SO. INTERESTING.

miwome

@figwiggin I hope so too! I think it is pretty hilars myself. There is a tiny bit of tweaking still to do because I think it is kind of really long? (Gchat makes everything longer because you end up with like
two words
per line)
But after that I SWEAR TO GOD this thing will be SUBMITTED and then we shall just SEE. If it doesn't get published I'm sure we can find a way to share it with interested parties.

bookbike

Wow. Goosebumps...and...tears?

Oh, squiggles

Hmm, how to reconcile Hepburn and Tracy?

Since no one really knows what it was like inside their relationship, maybe he just gave her what she needed/wanted. The heart/vagina wants what it wants!

Also, it is not possible for me to love SoCH any more than I already do. It is sooo goood. Following yesterdays Carolita piece? Ahh, perfection!

anachronistique

AHP, I am having a terrible day in a rotten week, and this was like a beam of sunshine into my heart. THANK YOU.

plonk

AHP, how accurate is "the aviator" in general with respect to the film history stuff? i thought the episode where howard hughes pays off the...whoever they were to stop them from blackmailing KH was very powerful and sad. did anything like that actually happen?

Bon Vivant

I recently read (somewhere in my internet journeys, can't remember where), that she also had affairs, but with women. Is that totally unfounded? Based, partially, on her affinity for slacks and for being her own woman?
Because she was dear-lord-dreamy?

Katrina Hall@twitter

OH EM GEE KATHERINE HEPBURN.

breccia

god damn. i need to get a pittsburgh crew together to get drunk and watch hepburn films, STAT.

mcLurk

but... what about all the persistent rumors i've seen in a bajillion other places, and stories from "inside sources" and so on claiming that Hepburn actually fell somewhere on the spectrum of "loved spencer and all, but had a few affairs with lady actresses" to "wore pants, because out of the public eye, she went by jimmy because she was REAL QUEER"? maybe i just live in a weird little gay bubble but i've always thought of and read of K Hep as, like, king of the hollywood sewing circle.... even if they're just rumors, it would be worth a mention, yeah?

Anne Helen Petersen

@m clark I wanted to get to this -- but the piece was spiraling towards 5000 words and I still had to go back in and talk about Howard Hughes and more pants and OH MY. But you're right: there were many rumors as to Hepburn's queerness (her, Dietrich, and Garbo were the big three -- in part because all three cross-dressed in major films). There're some great (academic) articles about 1930s lesbians and alternative readings. With that said, there's no substantiated evidence of relationships with women, which doesn't mean that they didn't happen. As was the case with Cary Grant, it matters less whether or not he actually was "bonafide" queer....and more how people used the flexibility of her image to create readings that gave them pleasure. If that makes sense......

Decca

@Anne Helen Petersen Off the top of your head, any titles for those academic articles?

Gracious!

@Anne Helen Petersen That makes perfect sense. And I wish this piece and your post about Cary Grant had both been 25,000 words.

noReally

@m clark And that maybe what made her deal with ST not as toxic as it seemed was that he was also kind of the gay, and played with boys, while she had a long relationship with her assistant, once assistant's practically-a-marriage with Constance Collier was ended by that legend's death. So they were all comfortable and homey that way. By which I mean, if it worked for them, good on them. And all.

Anne Helen Petersen

@Decca I'd highly recommend "A Queer Feeling When I Look At You: Hollywood Star and Lesbian Spectatorship in the 1930s" by Andrea Weiss, which you can find in STARDOM: INDUSTRY OF DESIRE

Decca

@Anne Helen Petersen Great, my college library has a copy! I'll check it out tomorrow. Thanks!

mcLurk

@anne helen petersen yay! thanks!

Texian

I saw the picture of Kate and I just went SQUEE! in my head (I do not do this in real life). Now, to read.

dtowngirl

One of the greatest interviews I've ever seen, ever, is KH on the Dick Cavett show (Netflix). He was preparing for the interview on his show the next day in front of an audience, and she showed up was like "lets do it right now"--so they conducted the interview without an audience. It is so so awesome.

hungrybee

@dtowngirl It is! It is so awesome!

slutberry

KATHARINE HEPBURRRNNNNNNNNNNNN

Also, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who found "The Help" racist. And totally dumb and unrealistic? I got free tickets from my work so I went with my gentleman (who is from a country where racism is just not really a huge issue in the same way it is in the States) and I had to explain why I was pissed at the end...

slutberry

@teffodee Also, KATHARINE HEPBURRRRN. And Tracy makes me think of Doc from Breakfast at Tiffany's. and I do not know why.

And Katharine Hepburn makes me wish I was tall and angular.

datalass

@teffodee Oh, how she makes me want to be tall and angular. I have finally, reluctantly, conceded that I just won't ever look like she does in wide leg trousers.

HereKitty

@teffodee You are not dumb and unrealistic. You are SMART and CORRECT.

slutberry

@HereKitty But "The Help" is dumb and unrealistic!

@datalass ... yes. Me too. I can pull off Marilyn, but I don't WANNA be Marilyn, I wanna be KATHARINE, dammit!

miwome

@teffodee Yes. I remember I tried on a dress that was sort of Mad Men-y once and was like, "huh, I'm kiiiind of pulling off a Joan thing? But I don't want to be Joan! I want to be Rooney Mara!" And then I had to be all, "TURN THIS CAR AROUND, MIWOME, THAT WAY LIES MADNESS."

slutberry

@miwome MEE TOOO. I am a curvy-ass redhead and all I want is to be .... Rooney Mara. Exactly.

HereKitty

@teffodee Sing it, sister. (Sorry, I misread your original comment, which I heartily endorse.)

slutberry

@HereKitty But your comment made me SO HAPPY. I am SMART and CORRECT!!!!!!!!!! (can you tell I`m a youngest child?)

HereKitty

@teffodee "The Help" is a shame. You are BRILLIANT and DELIGHTFUL. (Can you tell I'm an oldest child? :))

Craftastrophies

@teffodee Some days I would sell myself down the river for a chance to be gender bending and androgynous and have intriguing cheekbones. Most says I am down with being Joan but seriously, guys. Why can't I be dapper?

Also, The Help is TERRIBLE. And everyone I know irl, especially my family, thinks it's wonderful and can't understand why I am making such a fuss. Didn't that nice white girl HELP those poor helpless black people, after all? She HELPED them!

Argh.

combledore

@teffodee Super-late reply, but curvy-ass redheads unite!

miwome

@Craftastrophies Dude, me too. And once upon a time I DID have that ability! It was only like three years ago! But I think those days are gone for good. Siiiiiiiigh.

laurel

@Craftastrophies I dunno, curvy ladies in menswear are amazing.

slutberry

@laurel case in point:
“Brett was damned good-looking. She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy’s. She started all that. She was built with curves like the hull of a roaring yacht, and you missed none of it with that wool jersey.”
- The Sun Also Rises

This one time my sister told me she always thought of me as "built with curves like the hull of a roaring yacht" and I almost passed out.

laurel

@teffodee Daaaaaaaaaaaaaamn.

slutberry

@laurel inorite? I hate Hemingway, but the man could write.

laurel

@teffodee He was a complicated dude. Given to things that he was perfectly aware spoke to the limitations of men's abilities to engage with the world. He has a real place in my heart.

Craftastrophies

@laurel I must say, it's a look that I am partial too. But I want to be ALL THE KINDS of amazing.

[sheepish look]

@teffodee .... Woah.

slutberry

@laurel True. I mostly hate him because of this guy who was in my writing class once, who had this everpresent toothpick in the corner of his mouth and proudly announced that he only read books written by guys in the 50's. And also because I really kind of want to bone him and feel weird about it. (Hemingway, not the guy in my writing class).

laurel

@teffodee Those are the worst kind of writing-class guys.

I had a lovely American Lit professor who, despite his Y chromosome, had a dedication to feminist critical theory. Applied to Hemingway, it helped me understand that hollow sorrow at the center of Men Without Women, TSAR, etc.

Not that Hemingway wasn't a total self-indulgent, violent cruel juicebox. He totally was. But I think the misery arising from only being able to engage with the world through violence is at the heart of his work (as well as torture, probably, to live with).

He reminds me of the pardoner in The Canterbury Tales: someone who suffers his own failures all the more for knowing full well what his failures are. A little more compelling, in literature at least, than your obligatory clueless asshole.

slutberry

@laurel Hills Like White Elephants also won my heart forever.

laurel

@Craftastrophies You do not have to choose one way to be amazing! Choose all the ways! Just don't discount the allure of a pin-stripe suit on a busty lady, with that slight tug across the third button of her crisp white shirt.

laurel

@teffodee That's the one.

Also, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber made me llllllllaugh.

sallydapper

Ah, KH makes me feel so inspired to want what i want and do what i want, and be smart and sassy, and unconventional, and not give a damn about it. Like a kind of preppy and dramatic Amy Poehler. Not that AP is not preppy and dramatic, i don't know (would she like to be that? is she?), we're not friends YET.

More covert than using my facebook account

@crazy raisins My mother named me after KH with the intention of inspiring me to be a smart, sassy, independant woman. A++ idea, mom! If I ever have a daughter I'm planning on continuing the tradition and naming her after Tilda Swinton.

sophi

I associate Katharine Hepburn so closely with my grandmother (who died when I was 11 and who, as an adult, I wish desperately that I could have known better) that I actually got a little teary and emotional while reading this. Maybe it's because my mom told me once that Bringing Up Baby was her (my grandmother's) favorite movie, maybe it's because any staunch New England type just automatically feels like they ought to be part of my family. I'd still love Katharine Hepburn even if it weren't for that, though. I watched Adam's Rib in a film class I took a few years ago, and I could talk about it for AGES if given the chance.

miwome

@sophi New England ftw!

sophia_h

@sophi My red-headed Yankee grandmother is also closely associated with KH in my mind.

highfivesforall

Does anyone else think of "A Hollywood Person" every time they see "AHP"? Anyone?

swimgrrl13

Has anyone else read about that new memoir by the guy who says he set up all the classic Hollywood stars with the male and female companionship of choice? It's all very sleazy, saying Hepburn was mega-gay and treated Tracy terribly, or that Cary Grant was gay and everyone knew.

For me, the best Hepburn role ever is Eleanor of Aquitaine. When King Henry asks her if the channel parted for her on crossing, and she replies "It lay flat when I told it to, I didn't think to ask for more." Best. Moment. Ever.

melis

Ooof, Scotty Bowers' book? It's, um, scurrilous. And dreadful. It may or may not be true, but it's hardly worth reading.

swimgrrl13

@melis Yes, that is the one. I can only assume he waited until everyone was dead so they couldn't sue the pants off of him. "Hardly worth reading" is the kindest thing to say about it.

atipofthehat

@melis

"As my fingers tugged on the cow's soft teats, her warm milk squirted into the pail."

I think I will end my casein intake now.

lunacydress

Great article. I've only seen Bringing Up Baby and On Golden Pond, unfortunately.

Netflix only has The African Queen and a few of her lesser films, at least on the Watch Instantly option. I'm going to have to track down more of them.

I miss the days when PBS would actually show old movies, even if it was only during their pledge weeks. Now, at least the one in Chicago, seems to mostly show motivational speakers during their pledge weeks, which seems totally backward to me. Who the hell wants to give money to support that crap?

miwome

@lunacydress It's times like these I think the local video store business model got a bad rap. You could just run out and get WHATEVER. On a whim! Just like that! No google-fu or waiting for the mail.

But then, I was a child for most of that era, so maybe there were a lot of inconveniences of which I was unaware.

SuperGogo

@lunacydress At a holiday party in December, I actually met the guy in charge of programming during the WTTW pledge drives. I took him to task for the same reason (i.e. "what are you thinking pulling Nature and Frontline in order to air Celtic Women and Suze Orman??"), and he made a good case for the fact that the people who actually give substantial moneys to the drives (not me, I admit) really like that stuff. But yes, more classic movies on PBS, by all means.

P.s. Love your avatar pic. I look fondly for those crazy hot dogs every time I take Peterson/Devon to O'Hare.

@miwome This post totally inspired me to want to run to the one remaining video store in my hood after work so I can rent and watch KH movies tonight.

pterodactgirl

@miwome No those days were awesome. I am not that old, but love movies, and my hometown video store (now defunct) used to have 5 for 5 for 5 Tuesdays. Five movies, five dollars, five days. And they had a GREAT selection of classic and foreign films. This is why my fifth grade yearbook lists my favorite movie as Sanjuro.

adminslave

There is so much yearning in "Holiday." It is far and wide my favorite old movie (though I still have a soft spot for "Lady Eve"), there is just no other movie like it.

Also, I have had a crush on young Jimmy Stewart because of the "The Philadelphia Story" since I was twelve. And don't forget "Shop Around the Corner." He's great in that!

miwome

@adminslave I think Philadelphia Story was the first representation of a hangover I ever saw (I saw it when I was pretty young) and I thought it was the funniest thing that had ever happened. I would insist on watching that one part over and over and over again and literally roll on the floor laughing.

adminslave

@miwome Mine was in "SHAG," that weird 80s re-imagining of "Where the Boys Are" with Bridget Fonda, which my mom was really fond of. They all get drop down drunk at a house party and then all six or so of the characters black out and forget everything. I didn't know what blacking out was, I just thought drinking=instant amnesia.

miwome

@adminslave There's a mid-60s Jack Lemmon/Terry Thomas movie called "How To Murder Your Wife," which is horribly misogynist, but I loved it as a child when I didn't know any better and so I still sort of love it, even as it makes me uncomfortable? Anyway, there's a bachelor party scene where they all get falling down drunk and I ALSO thought that was the funniest. Jack Lemmon acting wasted is a sight to see.

adminslave

@miwome I love Jack Lemmon (The Apartment, Days of Wine and Roses etc), but I can't handle all the "kill my wife, please" stuff, I still haven't been able to finish "Unfaithfully Yours." Were the screenwriters in the middle of bad divorces or what?

miwome

@adminslave Eek, I know. I watched HTMYW for the first time in years a couple years ago and was like...oh. my god. But the sentimental attachment is still there, and Terry Thomas is SO DELICIOUS IN IT, and...guilty guilty GUILTY pleasure.

Also, The Odd Couple. THE ODD COUPLE IS SO GREAT. (I haven't seen it in forever, please don't tell me it's secretly awful.)

miwome

@adminslave @adminslave Eek, I know. I watched HTMYW for the first time in years a couple years ago and was like...oh. my god. But the sentimental attachment is still there, and Terry Thomas is SO DELICIOUS IN IT, and...guilty guilty GUILTY pleasure.

Also, The Odd Couple. THE ODD COUPLE IS SO GREAT. (I haven't seen it in forever, please don't tell me it's secretly awful.)

adminslave

@miwome I'm embarrassed to admit I barely remember the odd couple... I think I saw it when I was very young. I'll have to revisit it.

miwome

@adminslave Duuuuuuuuuuude watch it it is so good. (Unless it's secretly awful please no)

monicamcl

Ok, here's my favorite brush with greatness: You know the scene in The Philadelphia Story where it's still early in the party and they're drinking and mingling outside? MY HIGH SCHOOL. Go in those doors and that's where I had religion and Latin classes. (The Trouble With Angels was filmed there, too.)

laurel

@monicamcl They filmed The Fog in my elementary school chapel. It explains so much!

bitzyboozer

"I have many regrets, and I'm sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret... if you have any sense, and if you don't regret them, maybe you're stupid."

My grandmother always used to quote this Hepburn line...from her autobiography, maybe? Anyway I loved it because the whole "absolutely no regrets" mantra has always seemed like bullshit to me. And in a way it encapsulates how I imagine KH as a person and goes some way toward explaining her relationship with Tracy. She knew what she wanted and she was going to do what she was going to do, and if there were regrets, then so be it.

Prostitute Robot From The Future

I <3 these posts. Wakes up the ol' film student in me (hey there, you okay? Yes, we're still in that dull office job, go back to sleep now, sshh).

@serenityfound

@disgruntled co-worker Hello, friend! It seems we're in the same situation.

Prostitute Robot From The Future

@serenityfound Friend! Another film student turned office peon? So sad we have to meet in (under? English isn't my native language) these circumstances.

@serenityfound

@disgruntled co-worker I did my MA in cultural/media studies last year *le sigh* There should be a support group for folks such as we!

Prostitute Robot From The Future

@serenityfound Omgosh, yes. Then again, what were we thinking, right? The ironic thing is I actually work in a filmarchive, but I don't get to do anything with the material. Instead I spend my days looking at excel sheets (and internet, to keep me sane), while other colleagues get to do awesome things. :S

Cavendish

I love The Philadelphia Story! So romantic. Jimmy Stewart in it reminds me of my husband.

And, oh, The Holiday! Isn't that cozy sitting room the best? That is my dream living room.

Alixana
miwome

@Alixana I have not seen the movie, but I love Eleanor of Aquitaine!!! I remember I had a book about her when I was eleven or something and I was like, yes! This is a history book I can get behind! (I had plenty of Awesome Girl lit, but it was fiction. Not the same.)

Decca

@miwome It wasn't A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by any chance?

EvilAuntiePeril

@Decca E.L.Konigsburg!! - A Proud Taste and The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler are my favorites.

I particularly remember being very taken by the ending, where Eleanor writes that when she arrived in heaven, and was asked to pick the age she chose to be in the afterlife, she chose to stay in her forties (?) because that was the age where she had become the person she was most proud of (or at least that was my take away).

Decca

@EvilAuntiePeril Mixed-Up Files was one of those childhood books that I cherished. I can trace all kinds of current-interests back to that book, and it was the kind of book that made being a grown-up sound fun and mysterious and exciting in ways that had never crossed my mind before.

Decca

@EvilAuntiePeril I'm Irish and I am lucky enough to have an AMAZING mother who would search lists of former Newbury Medal winners and order them online for me. I'd never have come across E.L. Koningsburg or Zilpha Keatley Snyder or Ellen Raskin if it wasn't for my mam doing all this research online, none of those authors would be available in Irish bookshops.

pterodactgirl

@EvilAuntiePeril Yes! Although I think the age was 62? Or 69? I still think about the part where she says she had "done things for which there was some hell to pay," and then describes hell and the afterlife, and deciding what age she wanted to be forever. E.L. Konigsburg FTW. (Also Zilpha Keatley Snyder and Ellen Raskin.) On a related note to @Decca's comment, I was reading an article about the Newbury list-makers being out of touch with what kids today liked and it actually made me really mad. Those books are quality.

Decca

@pterodactgirl What kind of stuff is being nominated for the Newbury these days? If it's similar to the kind of fiction they used to nominate, then that article is ass. The Newbury are amazing.

I'm just looking through a list of all the winners and nominees and marveling at how many nominees from the 70s/80s/90s my mother bought for me. So many amazing books that I'm remembering! Catherine, Called Birdy, Dear Mr. Henshaw and all the Ramonas, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth,

EvilAuntiePeril

@Decca Your mother indeed sounds AMAZING. For my introduction to the book, I'm forever indebted to a very kind librarian, who, after I'd won a summer "bookworm" prize at the library (one! free! Newbury Medal book! for every 20 you read!) saw how torn I was between A Wrinkle in Time (which I had borrowed and loved and wantedsooobadformyselfCharles!Meg!) A Proud Taste... (which I was desperate to read b/c I'd loved The Mixed-Up Files so much and they DIDN'T HAVE a copy of the book in the library), and let me have both. With an award plate and everything.

At the time I was desperate, since I had a rock-solid conviction that some other kid would turn up to claim the one I didn't get as their free book before I had a chance to read another twenty myself.

Thank you again, nice children's librarian. You made my summer.

EvilAuntiePeril

@Decca PS. I am still working on my life's ambition to live in a museum. Eating peanut butter crackers. Ah Life.

Decca

@EvilAuntiePeril This is why libraries are so important! Every child deserves that kind adult who will introduce them to these kinds of books. Go librarian!

Alixana

@Alixana Ah, I totally just realized that I linked the wrong thing! I meant to link the video of that amazing scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6RDfzM-uQg

EvilAuntiePeril

@pterodactgirl Yes - exactly that bit! And you're right about the age too. I was a lot further from forty when I read it last than I am now. But that LIFE.

(Must find copy to read NOW)

And yes, chiming in with your dislike of the notion that Newbury-list books are out of touch what kids of today liked. They are indeed quality. It would make me sad if they changed their standard because of half-arsed notions of what was "in touch" based on market research or some such nonsense.

*puts on slippers, muttering furiously*

pterodactgirl

@Decca Well, I just looked at the list and the most recently published one I've read was Holes from 1999. I suppose I can't vouch for their current quality, but take a look at the "Controversy" section from wikipedia for an idea of what the article was like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newbery_Medal#Controversy. I particularly like the quote from John Beach, "the Newbery has probably done far more to turn kids off to reading than any other book award in children's publishing." What. Even. The. Fuck.

EvilAuntiePeril

@pterodactgirl grrr... read cited article. I always hated it when adults patronised me as a child, telling me books I wanted to read were too "difficult" or I wouldn't understand them. 10 minutes ago, I was grumpy and full of cold. Now, I am ANGRY and full of cold.

miwome

@Decca YES!!! I totally forgot that E.L Konigsburg wrote both A Proud Taste AND The Mixed-Up Files! You guys this makes me so happy.

And @all re: this Newbury controversy: whoever wrote that article, I spit in his general direction. (And I have a cold, so my spit is basically a chemical weapon.)

Legs Battaglia

my, she was yar.

agba

@Legs Battaglia well played.

demi-mondaine

Thanks, Anne, for another great one. Glad to know I'm not the only one who can't really get behind Spencer because he's just not Cary. Film studies question: is your title a reference to the Jane Gaines article on Dorothy Arzner?

Tits McGee is on Vacation

My uncle met Katharine Hepburn while leaning on her fence in New York.

"Boy, you shouldn't lean on other people's fences. You might fall in."

Can you imagine casually waiting/leaning around and hearing that.voice. scold you for leaning on her fence?? I would have peed my pants, but as a good southern boy he said sorry ma'am and walked away bewildered.

frigwiggin

@Tits McGee is on Vacation That is a fantastic story. God, I wish I had a story like that. I'll just have to make up something unlikely.

psychedelicate

Please do an article on Joan Crawford!

TheHarePen

@psychedelicate Agreed! I need AHP to help me negotiate my love of Joan with the whole "Mommy Dearest" debacle.

Decca

Another really bizarre and sad scandal is Merle Oberon's secret Asian mother!

ThisPersonIsMe

From what I understand Tracy would have divorced his wife once his children were grown. By then, though, Hepburn had decided that she'd rather not marry him. She seemed to enjoy that she wasn't tied down to him, she could leave the country to work on a film or do a play without the media portraying her as a bad wife for abandoning her sick husband. She got all the perks of a relationship with none of the responsibility.

I'd also like to add that Hepburn was just one of many women that Tracy had affairs with. I've read that once Hepburn was doing a play in London and Tracy showed up with some other starlet as his date.

I've always assumed that they were happy together, and maybe even loved each other, but neither of them could handle commitment. So, they didn't commit.

AllyJS

I wish there was a "like" option because I want to press "like" for this article 50 thousand times.

Alice Prin

@AllyJS I was about to be all "I wish there was a Hairpin facebook" and IT TURNS OUT THERE IS. New levels of trouble!

frigwiggin

@Craftastrophies Yes--part of being attracted to certain things in people is recognizing that those things do not define the person. I try to do this with celebrities, too, and not reduce them to their (hnnnngh) face or (hnnngh) voice, and remember that they're people who fart in bed and burn the toast and have bad days.

Except for Paul Newman, of course, who was a perfect energy being made of pure light.

Diana

@figwiggin

No creature responsible for Newman-Os could ever be merely mortal. Paul Newman has simply gone beyond, and is waiting patiently for us, surrounded by well-dressed salad.

Diana

This is the only time I've been disappointed with a column and it's for a very good reason: you only devoted 1.5 lines to the glorious cinematic triumph that is Stage Door! You brushed right over a masterpiece! That's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen in my life and is extremely deserving of a Hairpin Viewing Party. Ginger Rogers! Early Lucille Ball! Li'l Baby Ann Miller! It's all so exquisite. The banter! The banter! And it passes the Bechdel test! And it's so fabulous! Go watch Stage Door, dear everybody on earth, it was finally released on DVD a few years bac and is waiting for you.

frigwiggin

@Diana I was hoping it would be the same thing as Stage Door Canteen, which is on Netflix, but alas, that appears not to be the case.

@serenityfound

@Diana The calla lilies (sp?) are in bloom...

Bed Monster

I was just talking about how much I love Katharine Hepburn the other day with my boyfriend because he wanted to know which Hepburn I loved more. I love them both, but Katharine edges out Audrey because of everything you talked about here. AGH! I love this series so much!

mascarasnake

I love AHP and I love this post and I love this thread. New plan for my evening = takeout and Holiday

Kirsten Hey@facebook

I can't believe the article doesn't mention Summertime - it's easily her best performance.

mmwm

"Holiday" is one of the my favourite movies ever. "Bringing Up Baby," on the other hand, is no nowhere on the list.

carolita

@mmwm Aw, really? Bringing up Baby is a very very interesting film. I get more out of it each time I watch it. For example, I have a theory that everyone in it speaks only what they really ought to be thinking, not saying. It's almost as if the film were dubbed with a crazy script. I love that film. Yes, I know, she plays a ditz, but her performance is just so good.

erikonymous

This is GREAT! Love her!

I was gonna fight with you that the kid sister in PS is hilarious, but whatevs.

tawdryelephant

Did anyone hear about/read that biography by a Hollywood bartender claiming he and Spencer Tracy got it on? Also claimed the romance between Tracy and Hepburn was phony, I think? An excerpt (from a Salon article):

"As we stashed away dishes and glassware, George [Cukor] and I also discussed the phony romance between Tracy and Katharine Hep­burn that the studio and the publicists had concocted for public con­sumption."

Article: http://www.salon.com/2012/02/16/my_gay_affair_with_spencer_tracy/

Not sure what credence (if any) people put on this dude's account, though. Just remember saying "huh" when I saw it.

carolita

@oak You know, I wouldn't be surprised, but I still think they had an incredible relationship, the likes of which we may never fully understand.

kitten_witawip

@oak FWIW Beachwood and Tamarind run parallel to each other and do not intersect. So, regarding whatever else the book claims, the publishers skipped basic fact checking.

carolita

"Holiday" changed my life! I couldn't decide whether I wanted to be Hepburn or Grant, that was how well they matched. I guess I wanted to be both. And I think I might have done it, though that remains to be seen. I thank Hepburn for a LOT that went right in my life.

Used Lamps and Festoonery

Love this! The Philadelphia Story is my favorite movie ever. And KH will always be my Jo March.
One quibble re: Jimmy Stewart - for another non-creepy/non-didactic role, what about Vivacious Lady (1938)? He plays hilarious and drunk in that one as well (plus it features many delightful one-liners from my girl Ginger Rogers). Just ignore the super offensive dancing scene near the end...

kitten_witawip

One of my favorite bits of trivia about A Philadelphia Story is that the necklace Virginia Weidler wears as she enters in toe shoes and sings "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" is a replica of this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affair_of_the_Diamond_Necklace.

mlle.gateau

My mom has always had A Thing for Katherine Hepburn, and she is convinced that the reason so many women of my generation are named Katherine/Kate/Katie is because women of her generation idolized Hepburn.

Annie.Bart

Can I be really nitpicky and obnoxious? Her mother was a suffragist. Suffragettes were British, suffragists were American.

jadeice

@Annie.Bart if you must.

Bonnie Miller@facebook

Kate was the most wonderful thing ever. She and Cary Grant? Perfection. My 2 favorite actors of all time, hands down. When I heard she died, I cried for a day. And yes, if my youngest had been a girl, the name was to be Katherine.

Pete White@facebook

I found this article today while looking up more information on Virginia Weidler. As a "Ginny" fan, I am appalled by the author's negativity toward this very original child actress. Her role in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY is pitch perfect, the only downside to it being that MGM started typing her to those roles in weaker and weaker films and snuffed the life out of a promising career. She was good in THE WOMEN, too, although sappy was sometimes a little hard for her.

Hepburn, BTW, thought Virginia was an asset as well saying, "We got lucky with the casting of the girl, Virginia Weidler..." She went on to say that Virginia was so funny she often had to avoid looking at her during scenes for fear she'd just start laughing.

If anyone is interested in Virginia, I invite you to stop by the Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaWeidlerRemembranceSociety .

We are also at TCM.com's Classic Film Union.

Arsena N Hondo McIntire@facebook

I loved her with John Wayne in Rooster Cogburn. I'm a big Duke fan anyway and she gave just as good as she got...a strong female lead for a strong male lead...they had a subtle chemistry and both were so very funny. loved it. Love her.

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Fantastic!
You are amazingly sharp woman. I highly admire and respect
That. I am right there with you on The Philadelphia Story.
All 3 are on fire , but its the scenes of the party and the
Morning hangover that get me , every time.
Esp. With regards to Stewart and Grant, as their passing each other
And jimmy says to Cary that he'd sell his grandmother foe a drink! Ha!! The look on grants face is fucking timeless.
Oh, and when you see jimmy Stewart drunkingly walking around the party, oh , its beautiful!!!! True comedy. Our generation has less then
Nothing on the stars of that era. Its a damn shame.
Hepburn was a beautiful woman, in mind, body , and soul.
A great choice of inspiration, and sign of good taste.
Your awesome : )

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