Friday, December 11, 2009

Miss Hepburn

Andrew (you can click on his movie blog: Encore Entertainment) is organizing a Katherine Hepburn blog-a-thon and I thought about writing something about one of her performances, one not previously discovered by me. I am not the biggest K. Hepburn fan, but I would definitely say any time of day that she was a very very talented actress and that her acting presence in the 20th century cinema is an essential one. My favourite performance of hers is probably in The Lion in Winter.

Right now, I’m writing a bit on her performance in Stage Door, a very nice 1937 movie.

Katherine plays Terry Randall, a mature, even a bit arrogant rich girl who is convinced she wants to become an actress on her own. She steps into a boarding house for aspiring actresses and becomes a strange member of a very colourful, fun group.

The role doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch for Hepburn, because the stiff, rather frigid persona seems to fit her perfectly. It’s a rigid performance for the most of it, but that’s because the roles requires so. As a first time viewer, I was a bit put off by her performance, because I was enjoying the fun-side of the story, which Ginger Rogers and the others delivered.

However, regarding the commitment to her character, Hepburn’s in it. The reactions of Terry seem to fit her way of being and, despite this arrogant facade, you can always feel her good intentions. Terry is not disconnected from real life, but she has assumed some kind of redeeming role, as the one who brings justice; she has no problem in speaking her mind and seems to have a more mechanical approach on life, which infiltrates in her perspective on acting…

Truth is Terry is an awful actress. And for that matter, Kate is pretty bad at playing the bad acting - if that makes sense :) But Terry becomes an excellent one when involuntarily she’s forced to dig into her emotions and, overwhelmed by a tragedy for which she feels responsible, gives the performance of a lifetime by putting heart and soul into the lines she’s saying on stage. It’s here where Kate succeeds and the reading of the line "The calla lilies are in bloom again..." which her character says on stage becomes the greatest achievement of the performance.

It’s definitely not one of Kate’s best performances, but the film is memorable and Hepburn’s presence in the film is a necessary one.

Do remember to check Andrew’s blog on Saturday. I’ll link the blog-a-thon as soon as there is one. ***Edit: here's the link: CLICK

1 comment:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I guess everyone agrees on Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Thanks for the contribution.