Today, Summer Under the Stars on TCM features Katharine Hepburn–all day, all night, hooray! It would be wise to set your DVR to record the entire day or, better yet, just cancel any plans you may have. Get some snacks and a blanket and just get comfortable in front of the television.
It’s no mystery to regular readers of this blog how much I love Katharine Hepburn. She’s my hero. Her skill, her demeanor on screen, and her indomitable energy made her famous for generations. It’s only fitting that she is honored with a Summer Under the Stars tribute day. More information than I could ever compile on the actress’ life and storied career is available and aesthetically presented on TCM’s fabulous Hepburn SUTS page.
The lineup begins with Christopher Strong at 6AM EST, one of three films today from 1933. The movies on the schedule run from 1933 to 1969. The schedule includes two of my favorites: Adam’s Rib (1949) and Woman of the Year (1942). I see that Brandie’s favorite, Bringing Up Baby (1938), comes on at 12:15AM EST; I’m sure she’ll be watching. The lineup further includes important films such as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967); 1933’s Little Women (which I really like, even though I didn’t care for the novel–I find this version to be the best, but I’m perhaps biased); and her shining performance as Mary Stewart in 1936’s Mary of Scotland (we’ll forgive the fact that it’s a depressing story).
Renowned for her sharp wit and intelligence, Katharine Hepburn was an uncommon starlet. Her legacy endured through several eras of film and numerous changes in the nation with class and spirit. Her charming performances in romantic comedies belied her excellent capabilities as a dramatic actress. I’ve discussed her eerie and complex performance in Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) in a previous post, and I believe it is worth comparing that film to those on the list today. In that movie, she’s elegant and regal, while being subtle and completely terrifying. The more you pay attention, the more terrifying she is. Phenomenal.
Frankly, I was surprised not to see The Philadelphia Story (1940) on the list today, but perhaps the schedulers at TCM thought it too obvious. Still, I felt it worth mentioning here, as the role was written for her, and it is one of the most popular of her films. As much as I love the 1956 musical remake High Society, even Grace Kelly could not bring the same spirit to her character that Katharine Hepburn did. The entire film has a different tone and feeling.
So, enjoy today, all day. You’re assured first-rate performances in comedy and drama. Thank you to Katharine Hepburn and the producers of Summer Under the Stars on TCM for indulging our love of this always wonderful actress!