Co-Starring: Katharine Houghton (Hepburn’s niece!)
Directed by: Stanley Kramer
Other notable contributors: Frank DeVol – score
Favorite scene: A racist employee at the family’s art gallery gets what’s coming to her when Hepburn fires her ass.
Favorite line: “After all, a lot of people are going to think we are a shocking pair.” John Prentice (Sidney Poitier)
Raves: The acting. As always, Hepburn, Tracy, and Poitier are flawless.
Rants: While watching this, I was sure it must have been an adaptation of an existing play because of how un-cinematic it was. Most of the action was confined to three rooms in the family house and the blocking was rather boring.
My take: The main focus of the film is the central conflict rather than plot, which makes it feel a bit slow at times because not that much happens. I’m glad I saw it for its cultural/historical significance, but it doesn’t warrant repeat viewings. Plus, another one to check off of the AFI 100 list – yay!
Recommended if: You’re interested in sociocultural issues and don’t mind light-on-action films.
Modern-Day Counterpart: The film was remade in 2005 as Guess Who with Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher.
Life Magazine’s website currently features a slide show of classic film stars as babies. The gallery includes photos of Humphrey Bogart (can you even imagine him being a kid?), Marlon Brando, Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, and James Cagney, who was practicing his gangster face even in infancy.
Since I don’t often get enough time to sleep much less watch movies during the school year, I try to make up for it during the summer. I somehow lucked out and managed to score a summer job this year where I can work and watch movies at the same time. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the films I’ve been able to watch so far:
Summertime (1955): I started the summer out with the appropriately named film, Summertime. I described this film to Linds as the shortest David Lean film I had seen. It’s not an epic, but it is a pretty good romantic film starring Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi. I liked the story, the Venetian backdrop, and thought Hepburn was excellent as a lonely spinster looking for something more to life.
Black Narcissus (1947): I read somewhere that Black Narcissus borders on boring, but was intrigued by the praise for the cinematography and by the film’s star, Ingrid Bergman. I didn’t find the film to be boring, but it is a slow psychological thriller that eventually builds to a dramatic ending. I was surprised at how modern both the subject matter and cinematography seemed even though it was made in the late ’40s. Out of all the films I’ve watched so far this summer I think this was my favorite. I’m interested to know if anyone else has seen this film and what they thought of it.
Picnic (1955): I think I was expecting more from this film and sadly I didn’t think it delivered. Maybe its one of those films I need to watch a second time to appreciate. I wasn’t very interested in the main storyline and couldn’t sympathize with many of the characters. I did think Rosalind Russell was great in this film, however, and wished the story focused more on her character.
Night and the City (1950): Like all good film noirs, Night and the City has some excellent scenes where light and shadow are used to create drama and suspense. Richard Widmark isn’t too bad either as the unsympathetic, smalltime hustler with big dreams.While I liked the film in general, the climactic wrestling scene between Gregorius and the Strangler was a little hard to watch (although that was probably director Jules Dassin’s intent to make the scene uncomfortable) – and I am not exactly faint of heart.
The Wild Bunch (1969): I like westerns like Shane, High Noon, and The Misfits, but The Wild Bunch was too brutal for my taste. Blood, guts, and gore don’t bother me at all, but guys shooting and killing each other for an entire film is not my cup of tea. Also, this film reminded me why I don’t like to watch films with horses in them. There were too many horses falling down, falling off of bridges, and getting shot at. Don’t bother looking for a “No animals were harmed…” disclaimer or like me, you’ll be looking in vain for a long time.
West Side Story (1961): I had not seen this film for a long time and it’s a good thing I picked it up to follow the Wild Bunch or I’m not sure I would have been able to sleep well that night. Nothing makes me giggle like no good teenage gangsters who also happen to have a background in ballet.
Next up on my list of films to watch are M (1931), Yojimbo (1961), Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), and Metropolis (1927). What films are on your summer movie list?