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This western begins with St. Louis resident Lutie Cameron (Katharine Hepburn) marrying New Mexico cattleman Col. James B. 'Jim' Brewton (Spencer Tracy) after a short courtship. When she arrives in "Salt Fork, NM" she finds that her new husband is considered by the locals to be a tyrant who uses force to keep homesteaders off the government owned land he uses for grazing his cattle--the so-called Sea of Grass. Lutie, has difficulty reconciling her husband's beliefs and passions with her own. Written by
Card at beginning: This story takes place for the most part against the background of the sea of grass - that vast grazing empire which once covered the western part of north America from the great plains to the rocky mountains, and beyond. See more »
A western only by virtue of its setting, "The Sea of Grass" is definitely one of the oddest in the series of films Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn made together. Though it starts out promisingly, the soap-opera elements (infidelity, unwanted pregnancy, marital estrangement) begin to pile up and, as they do, Tracy in particular looks more and more uncomfortable as the film progresses (though it is admittedly refreshing seeing him play a man with less noble, sterling qualities for a change). Hepburn fares better, and she manages to bring a real measure of mature beauty and bruised self-worth to her character. She has a nice, easy chemistry with Melvyn Douglas, and she seemed surprisingly comfortable and natural in an unusually maternal (for her) role. The photography and costumes are good, and the ending, while contrived, is emotionally satisfying.
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