Journalist Steve O'Malley wants to write a biography of a national hero who died when his car ran off a bridge. Steve receives conflicting reports and tales that make him question what the truth about the hero is.
Barbara Beaurevel lives with her aunt and cousin in New Orleans in the late 1800's. In love with Mark Lucas, a research doctor at Tulane University, her plans to marry him are thwarted. ... See full summary »
Lizzie Curry is on the verge of becoming a hopeless old maid. Her wit and intelligence and skills as a homemaker can't make up for the fact that she's just plain plain! Even the town ... See full summary »
Jayne Meadows tells Katherine Hepburn that Michael (Robert Mitchum) is not handsome. How can she say such a thing about one of the sexiest and handsomest leading men Hollywood has ever produced? Ridiculous! What were the editors thinking? See more »
"Undercurrent" is a surprisingly effective mystery/"chick flick," given elements that could have sunk a lesser effort. For example:
o Dr. Bangs gives away one of the movie's secrets VERY early in the plot (Before Hepburn marries Taylor) o The behavior of some of the supporting players (for example, Mr. Warmly's first scene) aren't really consistent with the denouement o Katherine Hepburn, at 39, is not an altogether convincing object of desire for her younger costars o While Robert Taylor gives a great performance, the first hints of his instability come too early in the film o Third billed Robert Mitchum has about five minutes screen time and his character has no part of the physical action.
Perhaps, if it were not for the tremendous skill with which "Undercurrent" has been acted and directed, these apparent shortcomings might have mattered more. Certainly, casting Taylor and Mitchum against type was a stroke of genius. Further, the more one watches Katherine Hepburn's brilliant performance, the more one realizes "Undercurrent" would have been far less successful using a more "age appropriate" actress, unless she were equally skilled (Olivia De Havilland? Joan Bennett?). However, in addition to brilliant acting, Hepburn carries a cool, self-assured demeanor as part of her persona; which makes her apparent helplessness later in the film much more suspenseful, if not downright terrifying. Given that Hepburn is in virtually every scene, it's really Hepburn's movie and she doesn't disappoint.
I give "Undercurrent" a "7".
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