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MGM originally told actress Laraine Day that if she played the female lead in Keep Your Powder Dry (1945) that they would reward her with the female lead in Undercurrent (1946). Although she kept her part of the bargain and appeared in that production, MGM failed to fulfill their promise and gave the lead to Katharine Hepburn. Laraine Day responded to this by asking and receiving a release from her MGM contract in 1946. See more »
Robert Taylor, Katherine Hepburn, and Robert Mitchum all star in the MGM melodrama Undercurrent which no one will ever rank at the top 10 for any of these stars.
Hepburn is reunited with Edmund Gwenn as her father as he was in Sylvia Scarlett. This time they're a more traditional father and daughter than those fugitives on the run in that other film. In Undercurrent he's a college professor and she's his a bit long in the tooth daughter.
Young millionaire industrialist Robert Taylor gives her a whirlwind courtship and they get married. It looks like Prince Charming has arrived, but Taylor is harboring some deep dark secrets, about a brother he flies off the handle about at the mere mention of his name and about just how he acquired those millions.
Mitchum is that brother and he only has three scenes of any note, maybe about 15 minutes of the film in total. He and Hepburn did not get along and she publicly disparaged his acting abilities. He in turn thought she was one royal snob. Years later Hepburn did admit to making a mistake about Mitchum, I don't think he ever forgave her.
One person who she did think highly of was Clinton Sundberg who she saw in a play The Rugged Path on Broadway with Spencer Tracy. She was the one who influenced Louis B. Mayer to sign him and Sundberg acquitted himself well here and in MGM films for the next several years. He plays Taylor's plant manager and has a lot more sinister role than one initially suspects.
This was Robert Taylor's first film after returning from the Navy in World War II. He acquits himself well, but he and Hepburn just haven't any chemistry at all. His career really doesn't get back on track until Quo Vadis. The leaden story doesn't help either.
There are some similarities to Hepburn's film with Spencer Tracy, Keeper of the Flame, but that one was far better.
Do you think this was one Tracy passed on?
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