Today I am participating in Emma from All About My Movies’ first ever blog-a-thon!
For someone who has been reading my blog from the very beginning (almost two years ago now), you’ve learned one simple fact about me. I LOVE Katharine Hepburn. So deciding that the performance that changed my life was one of Katharine Hepburn’s was easy. Picking which one it was, now that was the hard part.
At first, I wanted to write about Susan Vance and Bringing Up Baby. Afterall, this is my favorite movie and it is the movie that made me love cinema. Susan is absolutely nuts and is often providing a very good reason for mental institutions, but it is impossible not to be drawn to that character. At times, I find myself wishing I could be more like Susan Vance; carefree, happy, witty, sassy, and still able to get the guy at the end.
But for whatever reason, I’ve decided against writing more about Susan Vance. I’ve been flip flopping between Tracy Lord (The Philadelphia Story), Tess Harding (Woman of the Year), Amanda Bonner (Adam’s Rib), Eva Lovelace (Morning Glory), Alice Adams (Alice Adams) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (The Lion in Winter). I’ve decided against all of these performances as well. I think at some point during this process I briefly considered every movie Katharine Hepburn has ever been in.
But don’t worry (especially if my rambling is starting to bore you), I eventually settled on one performance. Katharine Hepburn as Rose Sayer in The African Queen.
I know that someone out there reading this is probably thinking: How can an 18-year-old college student relate to a character who is a prissy missionary spinster?
At a first glance, not a lot. But something has always drawn me to this performance.
I was 15 when I first saw The African Queen in a back-to-back screening with Bringing Up Baby. I had just experienced a completely different Katharine Hepburn as Susan Vance and I wasn’t even intending on sitting through another movie. But something came over me when Robert Osbourne appeared and began his introduction; I didn’t movefor the next hour and 45 minutes.
Rose Sayer is an interesting woman. She is a spinster and a minister’s sister. She is a seemingly proper Victorian-era woman, but she is also incredibly intelligent and strong-willed. She is the one who decides to launch an attack against the Germans and if she knew anything about boats, she definitely wouldn’t need Charlie Allnut’s help.