I have two favorite times of the year… February and August. Why? Because they are Oscar season and TCM’s annual special “Summer Under the Stars”. For any cinephile, these are the most appropriate times to love being a movie lover.
Yesterday, August 5, was Katharine Hepburn (my idol) day on TCM. I, being the slightly crazed Katharine Hepburn fan that I am, would have gladly spent the day watching the her movies that I have already seen a million times, once more. Just the essentials though ~ The Philadelphia Story, Little Women, Bringing Up Baby, The Lion in Winter, Women of the Year, Holiday… Etc.
Yet, my day of endless Katharine Hepburn movies is not how I spent my day with the great Kate. No, I had to go to a college open house yesterday but not just any open house, I went to Bryn Mawr College. How does this relate to my idol? Easy, that’s where she went to college.
The possibility of me getting into Bryn Mawr with my barely-breaking-1000 SAT score, is slim to none. And I realize this and I’ve accepted it. So the real reason why I went to Bryn Mawr was because it is the closest I will ever get to Katharine Hepburn without coming across stalkerish. (Can you even stalk a dead person)
So, there I was, walking on the campus where Katharine Hepburn once was and I recognized landmarks from pictures of her from her Bryn Mawr days. I was in cinephile heaven and I was really enjoying it too
… at least until the admissions lady messed up some Katharine Hepburn facts… She said that a Bryn Mawr graduate is the first and only American woman to ever win four academy awards… which is completely true but 1) she didn’t even bother to mention Hepburn’s name. She said something like “I’ll let you figure out who that was on your own” and 2) the way the lady phrased it really undermined Hepburn’s achievement as an actress. She made it seem like other people aside from Hepburn had accomplished the same feat and not just anyone… but an actor.
And this is what really frustrates me the most about people who diminish the importance of Hepburn’s work (and of other classic movie stars). I have gotten into some pretty heavy arguments about why someone such as Hilary Swank is a great actress and she is is GOOD (I’m not denying that). They usually say something along the lines of “Well, Hilary Swank won two academy awards in the span of of 5 years in two very diverse and difficult roles” I always respond, “Was it Hilary Swank that made the role or was it the role and the content of the part that made Hilary Swank good in it” Because, in my opinion, before you are ever considered to be an amazing actress or legend you have to prove yourself so much. Not just in film but on stage as well. If you look at Hilary Swank’s movie career, the movie’s she made in between her oscars are complete CRAP. So to me, she has not proven herself as a great actress.
I realize that no one can compare to Katharine Hepburn. Her work spanned six decades and every movie she made is decent if not great because it stars Katharine Hepburn. It only when someone tries to ignore or undermine any aspect of her career that I get mad. She made movies at a time when only a few years before women were essentially pretty faces and on top of that she refused to be that typical, airhead of a leading lady. And that’s why I idolize her.
Okay now that my tirade is over…. I ended my Katharine Hepburn day by watching Suddenly, Last Summer from 1959. In this movie, Hepburn plays a wealthy bitch who son died suddenly last summer with his cousin Catherine (played by Elizabeth Taylor) nearby. Catherine is so traumatized by what she saw, she goes insane. Hepburn’s character wishes for Catherine to receive a lobotomy to prevent the truth about her son’s horrible death from coming out. Once again, Hepburn is superb. She was nominated for her 8th Academy award as was Taylor. I really like it when Kate plays the bitch.
Yup, I am definently a Katharine Hepburn fan. Can you see why my parents don’t like it when I start discussing this stuff? I go on and on and on and on…..