Woman Crush Wednesday: Katharine Hepburn

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Oh Kate! While my very favorite of her films are the comedies Bringing Up Baby (1938) and Adam’s Rib (1949), Katharine Hepburn made quite a few historical costume movies in her lengthy career. Perhaps the finest of these are her first and her last — in 1933, she played the quintessential Jo in the first big Hollywood adaption of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women; then in 1968, Hepburn played a bitter yet terribly witty Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter (earning her a Best Actress Oscar). Brilliant performances both, worth watching again and again.

In between, Katharine Hepburn played Mary Queen of Scots admirably if not so much historically accurately (yes, I will be blogging about that separately in the future), and she starred in a number of Victorian-set stories that fared middling well. She learned piano to play Clara Schumann, wife of the composer and a famed pianist in her own right. And she had a hit portraying a prim World War I missionary in The African Queen (1951).

While some think Hepburn played the same character all the time, I think her historical dramas show more of her range — she was a theater actor first and alternated between Hollywood and Shakespeare all her life. But maybe those who don’t appreciate her characters can’t handle this much amazing woman.

Katharine Hepburn - Little Women (1933)

As Jo in Little Women — with kittens!

Katharine Hepburn - Little Women (1933)

Behind the scenes of Little Women with the director.

Katharine Hepburn - The Little Minister (1934)

The Little Minister (1934)

Katharine Hepburn - A Woman Rebels (1936)

A Woman Rebels (1936)

Katharine Hepburn - A Woman Rebels (1936)

“Plain women know more about men than beautiful ones do.” — Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn - A Woman Rebels (1936)

“I find a woman’s point of view much grander and finer than a man’s.” — Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn - Mary of Scotland (1936)

Katharine Hepburn in Mary of Scotland (1936).

Katharine Hepburn - Mary of Scotland (1936)

A MQoS after my own heart.

Katharine Hepburn - Mary of Scotland (1936)

“I think most of the people involved in any art always secretly wonder whether they are really there because they’re good or because they’re lucky.” — Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn - The Sea of Grass (1947)

Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy in The Sea of Grass (1947).

Katharine Hepburn - Song of Love (1947)

Playing piano as Clara Schumann in Song of Love (1947).

Katharine Hepburn - Song of Love (1947)

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.” — Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn - The African Queen (1951)

Katharine Hepburn & Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen (1951).

Katharine Hepburn - The Lion in Winter (1968)

“Enemies are so stimulating.” — Katharine Hepburn

 

Do you remember and love Katharine Hepburn?

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About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. When she’s not dressing up in costumes, she can be found traveling the world with her sweetie and, occasionally, Kendra and Sarah. Her costuming and travel adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also maintains a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

3 Responses

  1. Lyn

    I adore Kate! Thank you for featuring her. I think my favorite film is Lion in Winter as there is so much witty and clever dialog, plus it’s one of the first films I saw that portrayed what perhaps the real life was like in a castle (dogs everywhere, eating discarded food under the table, chickens all over the courtyard, etc). Plus it also features Tim Dalton and Tony Hopkins in their first roles…

    Reply
  2. Ginger St. George

    The first time I saw her was in The Philadelphia Story. Divine! But Stage Door has to be my favourite – Kate and Ginger! KATE AND GINGER! Also, it’s a complete heartbreaker of a film too.
    The kitten dress from Little Women was recently show in a Hollywood costumes exhibition here in Brisbane – it’s owned by a local collector here. There was just so much there to get excited about! <3

    Reply
  3. Alacya Palacios

    For Regency Attire, look at Katherine’s Quality Street. b/w. Charmingly depiction, gowns, BONNETS, and starts out pre-Napoleonic, and ends after the War. Dialogue is very Austen in delivery. Dashing Captain Brown!

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