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.
Do you remember and love Katharine Hepburn?