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An interesting oddity
SnaggleSnark17 January 2008
This film had the potential to be much better. The charm and talent of Hepburn and Hope, the conflict of attitudes between East/West, Democracy/Communism, male/female. However, none of these elements work quite as well as they might have done.

Despite being rather over the top at the start, Hepburn is very good sporadically (the Russian accents and characters in general are stereotypical caricatures). Her androgynous persona is well cast, although used rather crudely at times - the film has a nervously defencive and jokey treatment of burgeoning feminist ideas, probably typical of the era.

Unfortunately, Hepburn's character is often relegated to be the foil for Hope's one liners. These are sometimes funny, but tend to predominate over characterisation, narrative, and the film in general, giving the whole piece an oddly disjointed, flat feel.

With a more pacey and intelligent script, the likable charm of Hope and the feisty emotion of Hepburn could have made a quirky, witty film. Instead, this rather dated film remains an interesting, although sometimes uncomfortable watch, as a snapshot of attitudes in the 1950s, and the unusual pairing of these two stars.
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Bob&Kate Put The Cold War In Deep Freeze
bkoganbing8 February 2008
Until ironically both stars of The Iron Petticoat died within a month of each other in 2003, this film may have had until June 29 of that year of holding the record for having its two co-stars survive the longest. That was the day Katharine Hepburn died and Bob Hope died on July 27 and between them they had 196 years on earth. That's the only distinction The Iron Petticoat has.

Ben Hecht got on Bob Hope's case for allowing his gag writers to intrude in on his screenplay and story. Personally I can't believe they could have loused it up as bad as what his idea originally was. Katharine Hepburn is a female Russian jet ace who defects from the Soviet Union, not because of any disagreement with Communism, but because she was passed over for promotion in the Russian Air Force.

But the Americans still think they can convert her for propaganda purposes and who do they assign to the task? Not real life American air war hero James Stewart, but Bob Hope who plays the jet pilot who forced Kate's jet down. Who here really believes Bob Hope as a war hero pilot?

It's obvious Hope did interfere and it probably cost Hepburn some of her scenes, but the premise was so ridiculous I can understand why he thought the film needed help. As for Hepburn she throws on an accent that might be described as Maria Ouspenskaya on crystal meth.

Even such fine players as James Robertson Justice as the KGB man assigned to kidnap Hepburn back are wasted here.

The Iron Petticoat was a terrible idea made even worse in the execution. No wonder it's never shown in revivals of either Hope or Hepburn.
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Dreadful nonsense that makes 87 minutes feel like 200
Welly-217 January 2008
What was Hepburn thinking? This is a really poor film that goes nowhere and feels like it takes a long time doing it. Bob Hope relies, as ever, on the knowing side-glances but hasn't anything funny to say to justify them, whilst Hepburn spends the whole film doing a dreadful Russian accent to no purpose other than to annoy. It's a clumsy, stereotyped and frankly disturbing film that says much about the paranoia of the times. For the film's publicity to rave about the chemistry between Hepburn and Hope is laughable....their only chemistry is of the kind that brews sleeping potions.

Is there anything to salvage 87 minutes that feels like 200? Absolutely, the great Richard Wattis makes an appearance just as you are reaching for the remote. It's only a brief moment as he tries to sell sexy under-ware to Hepburn, but it's an oasis worth waiting for.

Bottom line....dreadful nonsense that never raises a smile
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For die-hard Hope or Hepburn fans only.
Lawson27 May 2009
I was born too late to appreciate Bob Hope, since his talent showed mostly in presenting and stand-up. He has mostly left behind a less-than-stellar movie career, as evidenced by his highest rated movie (in IMDb) being The Muppet Movie, and even that's not nearly high enough to be in the Top 250. I enjoyed his Fancy Pants, but I have to say that was largely due to the presence of Lucille Ball.

I am, however, a mad fan of Katharine Hepburn and eagerly devour all of her movies. But great as she is, she still has some clunkers in her repertoire, and unfortunately this is one of them.

Egads, the Russian accent. I think that once she realized how bad it sounded (not for lack of trying), she just went all out to ham up the performance. There's chemistry between the two legends that are Hepburn and Hope, but the script lets them down, and the lines mostly fall flat. It doesn't even venture into camp, in which the movie's worth a watch just because you want to see Hepburn play Chinese (Dragon Seed) or a mountain girl (Spitfire). I would pretty much only recommend this for die-hard Hope or Hepburn enthusiasts (like me).
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Katherine Hepburn at her worst
cinemabon15 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
If you're looking for a title that shows off Katy Hepburn's talents, this should be at the bottom of the list. For MGM in the 1950's, it was easier and cheaper to rework an old script rather than write new material. Such was the case with this reworking of "Ninotchka" originally a vehicle for Greta Garbo. In this instance, Dore Schary, in trying to save money and put up a "big star" convinced Hepburn to take the part. To say her Russian accent is a cross between New England slang and bad British is to be kind. Hope was so dismayed over Ben Hecht's script, that he and producer Harry Saltzman conspired with outside writers to give Hope "ad libs" to punch up his part. This so infuriated Hecht that he went to Schary and demanded his name be taken off the project (which Schary did not allow). Slated to make its network premier this month on Turner Movie Classics I would encourage fans of Hepburn patience in watching this debacle between British director Ralph Thomas and two "prima-donna" stars who departed this film never speaking to one another again. An absolute turkey and not recommended except for the most die hard Hope fans who like his ab lib humor.
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Bad for Hepburn
Dmiller-542-24059329 November 2012
Saw this movie for the first and I hope the last time today. It was presented on TCM movie channel for the first time in 40 years, so we were told. It was hidden in England all these years. And no wonder. This has got to be the worst film ever Kate. Her accent of a Russian was terrible. Bob,s performance was his normal stupidity. And using classic English actors as Russians does not help the film. The story line has been used many times in films. Some with success. It just does not work in this one. Maybe they made the film just for the money. It,s missing the artistic talent that is available with these stars. This is truly a "bomb".
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Chemistry of Hepburn and Hope boosts dated cold-war comedy
Glyn Treharne2 August 2003
The late Hepburn and Hope were an odd coupling, but they did manage to generate a certain amount of chemistry.

Hepburn's interpretation of a Russian aviatrix is nothing more than a caricature, and the script presents a view of Russia and its people in line with the anti-Soviet sentiments of the McCarthy fifties. However, Kate does look great in her military uniform, and she is also woman enough to make you believe that Hope would fall for her. There was always something about the way Hepburn looked at a man that led you to believe he was in for a truly joyous experience.

This isn't a great film, but it passes the time.
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Worse Than Its Reputation Would Have You Believe
Michael_Elliott31 December 2012
The Iron Petticoat (1956)

BOMB (out of 4)

Every once in a while I'll watch a film with a bad reputation and find it not nearly as bad as you'd have believed. When I heard that the Bob Hope Estate pretty much removed this film from circulation I figured it was just a movie not up to his standards but that's nowhere near the truth. I don't often say this but I think everyone would have been better served had this turkey remained in a vault and not seen by the public. The story centers around a Russian refugee (Katharine Hepburn) who learns her country and gets involved with an American (Bob Hope) ordered to watch after her. This is a minor re-working of NINOTCHKA but who knows what the original story was since there were so many production problems including Hope bringing along his own writers to change everything up. I rarely use a BOMB rating for any older movie but man was this thing here horrible. It was really very painful to watch because it's just so unfunny, so bad and it's just hard to believe that two legends would be involved in something this bad. As soon as we see and hear Hepburn with that Russian accent you're brain pretty much shuts off. Hepburn was one of our greatest actresses but I think it's safe to say this here is one of her worst performances. Hope is equally bad and his one-liners, written by his own writing team, are horrendous. The lack of chemistry between the two stars is incredibly bad as well. THE IRON PETTICOAT is about as bad as any movie can get and sadly for the viewer it never reaches a level of camp or a "so bad it's good" level. When I said this film was painful to get through that's the absolute truth and no one should sit through this unless they want to see how bad it actually is.
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Bob and Kate deliver, but still a dull film.
SanDiego13 November 2001
Bland cold war comedy was a rare British effort for Hope who was teamed for the first (and last) time with Hepburn. Hope was coming off his best film ever (THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS) so he was in his prime as an actor, but poor dialogue and little happening on screen gave him and his co-star little to do except react to each other. These two pros acted very well together but too fews laughs and no big ones (I begged for even the lamest of pratfalls) made for a murky and unrewarding effort. For die-hard fans of the stars only.
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Not too bad
Calysta6 January 2000
I wouldn't know how to describe either of the lead performances in "The Iron Petticoat". Supposedly the unofficial remake of the 1939 Greta Garbo classic "Ninotchka", it was either something intended to be confusingly bizarre or not up to standard remake of a great Hollywood movie.

This was the fifteenth Katharine Hepburn movie I have seen, and the first of Bob Hope's. I cannot judge Hope's performance, but I have to admit this was one of Hepburn's movies which did disappoint partially. It has been some time since I viewed the movie but I don't think her Russian accent was convincing. Generally, the supporting cast was rather forgettable, and the film contained many aspects previously unknown to me of any good Kate Hepburn.

The script had noticeable flaws, and got a little dull in parts. On a higher note, there were a few moments that did please and even a few laughs.

Overall, the film is not as terrible as I may make it out to be. But the grass is greener elsewhere for better Katharine Hepburn comedies. Unless you're out to see as much of her excellent work as possible like myself, give "The Iron Petticoat" a miss.

Rating: 6/10
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When will this be released again?
theowinthrop6 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is the great mystery movie for fans of Hope and Hepburn. First of all it is the sole time they ever appeared in any movie together. Secondly it is dated - it has to be seen recalling what the heart of the Cold War was like in 1956, the year of the Hungarian Up-rising and the Suez Crisis. Apparently it is more available for viewing in Great Britain (it was a British film). I have never seen it listed on any American television station. Isn't it about time they would show it - just to settle our curiosity about this particular pairing? My suspicion it would not be great movie viewing, but it would be interesting anyway. At least we could compare it to it's "cold war" film comedy predecessors (NINOTCHKA, COMRADE X, and SILK STOCKINGS).

Addendum: February 20, 2008 - Finally I see the film.

Some films have to be seen to see why they were never repeated. Bob Hope did enjoy working with certain actresses many times, most notably Dorothy Lamour and Lucille Ball. But he made this one film (in 1956) that was with Kate Hepburn, and it is certainly not the best film either of them ever played in. Both were highly capable performers/stars. Both were good in comedy. But there is no chemistry between them, and they are in roles they don't fit.

Hope is a hotshot heroic U.S. pilot, hoping to marry an English aristocrat (Noelle Madison) for financial reasons. He is pushed into an assignment by his commanding officer (and supposed friend) Alan Gifford to put his romance on hold while romancing Russian pilot - heroine Kate Hepburn. Now Hepburn is not defecting. She took her MIG fighter (this film may be the first that mentioned the term "MIG" for a Russian plane) to England out of anger at being by-passed for a promotion for an inferior rival who is a man. She is not anti-Communist, and Gifford's hopes that Hope will make her into a propaganda victory for the West.

The Russians are led by James Robertson Justice (supposedly the head of a trade commission - it was a running joke that trade commissions on both sides were loaded with KGB and CIA agents). He is determined to bring Hepburn back to face trial as a traitor to Russia. He uses the services of her helpless ex-boyfriend Robert Helpmann. But Helpmann is really a weak reed to lean on. Justice tries alternative ideas, including kidnapping Hepburn when she is with Hope, Gifford, a jealous Madison, a Senator from Alabama (Alexander Gauge), Madison's cousin (Nicholas Phipps), and an air force major (Paul Carpenter). This too fails, despite the large number of agents that Justice brings with him (they include "Carry On" Sid James, Tutte Lemkow (from A SHOT IN THE DARK, THE WRONG ARM OF THE LAW, and THE WRONG BOX), and David Kosloff - Carl in INDISCREET). Also on hand, in one sequence, is Richard Wattis as a woman's clothing store manager.

It just doesn't work. The sequence in the nightclub is the best highlight in the film, due to the accidental failure of each plot that Justice tries to spirit Hepburn away, but it's not one of the great moments of comedy (Madison is the best in the sequence, though Gauge's really dense senator has some fun talking with Nicholas Phipps about why the British drive on the left side of the road).

Really the lack of chemistry between the stars does the film in. ugh Hepburn tries to develop some but Hope can't relate to her. I think it's because she is too cerebral an actress. He was at home with someone like Lamour or Hedy Lamarr or Joan Fontaine, who was regular not sparkling. I don't think he ever realized what a misfire the casting opposite Kate was until it was too late.

The irony is I can't see this story working well with many actors. It has been suggested that Tony Curtis (who did a film at this time, THE PERFECT FURLOUGH, set in Paris - as a military man), and maybe Nathalie Wood might have worked well. But it's hard to say. It does not look well compared with other similar plots. Hepburn's purchase of western feminine dinner clothes reminds one of a similar trick in NINOTCHKA where Garbo bought that symbolic Paris hat. Similarly, Hepburn's attempts to teach Hope how to accept Communism does resemble how Garbo tries to indoctrinate Melvin Douglas. But Douglas actually does show an interest in communist theory (to the fright of his butler). Hope really could not care less (although when he gets drugged he starts mumbling about Bakunin and the "Iron Law of Wages"). The Gable - Hedy Lamarr film COMRADE X also was clever, particularly in the spoof of the Stalin - Trotsky rivalry between Oscar Homolka and Vladimir Sobeloff. Let's face it, those two films were far better than this. SILK STOCKINGS is a musical version of NINOTCHKA, but it's Cole Porter's music, with Astaire and Cyd Charisse's dancing, and there are some good swipes at Hollywood and American's lackadaisical view of other country's cultures. It too is far more worthy of watching than this film.

Now that I have seen it, I will give the film only a "4" for the scene in the nightclub. But please, don't bother with this film if you really like Hope's best work, or like Hepburn's better comic parts as in DESK SET or ADAM'S RIB (with a more chemically correct film partner in both: oh Spencer, where were you?).
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Odd Cold War comedy buoyed by its stars
gaityr2 February 2002
This movie is by no means one of the classics in any sense: it's entertaining, occasionally LOL-funny, but nothing spectacular. Bob Hope plays Chuck Norwood, an English captain eager to marry into the British upper class; Kate Hepburn plays Vinka Kovelenko, a tough-as-nails Russian flying ace who defects because she feels discriminated against in Communist Russia.

What's odd, and possibly most positive, about this Cold War comedy (written and produced at the height of tensions between the US and the USSR) is that there is no moralising or preaching. No propaganda. In the end, it's simply a romantic comedy about opposites attracting.

And such opposites! Hepburn is great as Vinka--her trademark energy barely reined in, her Russian accent a little OTT but passable. Watch for the moment when she sits on a cushion in front of Chuck--she gives her one unguarded smile in the film, and it becomes obvious why Chuck (and everyone else) falls in love with her so quickly. Hope was on fine wisecracking form, although this is marred by the fact that he tried to dominate the movie from behind the scenes, bringing in his own team of joke-writers to increase his own footage. (Hepburn kept quiet as her role shrank proportionately, the most comedic scenes apparently landing on the cutting room floor--ever the professional.)

Bizarre, but interesting if you want to see Hepburn speaking in a Russian accent and examining a pushup bra with a look of utmost disdain on her face.
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Katherine Hepburn's worse movie.....locked up until now (sigh)
johos316 December 2012
I do love Katherine Hepburn and Bob Hope. Although I constantly watch Turner Classic Movies and see rare films, I never even heard of this one. After viewing it today, I know the's very very dull and silly, but not in a good way. Hepburn, a multi-Academy Award winner, has always been able to do it all. Drama, Humor, even a bit of Thriller. What she obviously can't do is a Russian accent! The host of TCM mentioned that Hepburn grew more uncomfortable with the role and had eye problems, so her role in the movie was reduced to favor Bob Hope. I did notice that he gets top billing .....over Kate Hepburn! Both actors were either in their 50's or approaching that age. The romantic roles look awkward and silly. There's absolutely no chemistry between them.

They should show respect for these wonderful actors.....and keep this disappointing dog in the vault!
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A lost film that could have stayed lost
jjnxn-129 May 2013
Very minor reworking of Ninotchka with Hope and Kate, whose accent is all over the place, sharing little to no chemistry. The script is weak but if Cary Grant, her best costar, had appeared in this as originally planned it might not have been a classic but because of their rapport a much better film than it is.

A product of much backstage enmity. Hope and Hepburn disdained each other and Hope and the film's writer Ben Hecht fought to the point they took the battle public in printed ads denouncing each other, the resulting picture hardly seems worth it. A flat, inert misfire necessary only to completist of the starring duos work.
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Bring Down the Curtain-Iron Petticoat *
edwagreen10 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Abysmal Bob Hope-Katharine Hepburn film of 1956 that fails to achieve its takeoff on "Ninotchka."

Why does it fail so badly? It essentially becomes a Bob Hope vehicle with many of his corny one-liners. He even brings in the Democrats to lighten things up.

This is a story of a Soviet military lady who flies to the west when she is passed over for a promotion. What follows is sheer lunacy where our government brings military man Hope into the picture to soothe the lady.

The scene of trying to get Hepburn back to the Soviet Union by utter duplicity becomes tiresome at best.

The ending tries to depict a change for moderation at the Soviet government. No wonder writer Ben Hecht was disillusioned by this farce and wanted his name removed from the credits. A colossal bomb.
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Red Square
writers_reign20 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Hard to believe this was written by Ben Hecht but he gets sole screenplay credit on screen though IMDb throws in a nod to Harry Saltzman, not previously known to me as a writer but had he written the whole thing it would be quite believably. Neither is Hecht celebrated as a gag-writer and it's crystal clear that Hope used his clout to insert typical Hope-type one-liners from his stable of writers. The film was shot in 1956 and perhaps significantly Silk Stockings (Cole Porter's last Broadway musical), a musical version of 'Ninotchka', opened on Broadway in 1955. Whilst it's true the main plot has been jettisoned there are still links notably a strong Russian female venturing into the West and being 'Westernised' via an item of clothing, in Garbo's case a hat, in Hepburn's a negligee. Apart from the two leads the film is fleshed out with a B-team of British journeymen, Sid James, Richard Wattis, etc with the seriously wooden Canadian Paul Carpenter in a hefty supporting role. More value as a novelty entry than anything else.
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Sid James sweeps Katherine Hepburn off her feet...Brilliant!
ianlouisiana18 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
You can't say that about many movies!"The Iron Petticoat" is a bizarre relic of the 1950s with a smug Bob Hope hogging the limelight and a grimly determined Katherine Hepburn fighting a rearguard action with a pantomime Russian accent and a very smart wardrobe. Mr Hope is the USAF officer to whom Miss Hepburn - a pilot in the Soviet air force overlooked for promotion - defects,and he is tasked with her "Americanisation".Cue lots of dated one - liners from him and conspicuous displays of cheekbone from her. The plot concerns the efforts of the Russians who understandably regard her as a traitor to take her back and the Americans who regard her as a propaganda coup to hang on to her. In later years of course they would have simply killed her with a poisoned umbrella,but the comparative naivety of the Russians as they try to kidnap Miss Hepburn gives us ample opportunity to relish the joys of the splendid British supporting cast,notably Mr J.R.Justice,chain - smoking,cold and calculating,and Mr Sid James with a preposterous wig and a vaguely "foreign" accent who turns out to be a wizard on the dance floor in contrast to Mr Bob Helpmann the great choreographer and dancer who,like John Travolta 40 years later in "Pulp Fiction" insists he is unable to dance at all. Miss Noelle Middleton remains rather aloof from it all as Mr Hope's betrothed. The movie is being given a run on "Film on Four" at the moment and is worth watching if only for the moment when Mr James,displaying nifty footwork,twirls Miss Hepburn towards certain death at "The Russian Bear" nightclub.Keep that back straight Sid,and the elbows just a little higher,please.
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The limburger cheese of Hope or Hepburn films
vincentlynch-moonoi17 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Paramount -- Bob's primary film home for so many years -- must have been deliriously happy that they had nothing to do with this film. Not just because it was a box office flop, and a critical flop, but also because it must be the most embarrassing film that either star (Bob Hope and Kathryn Hepburn) ever made. I was not aware of this film because it had never been shown on American television until recently. I can see why. It stinks! I enjoyed most of Bob Hope's earlier motion pictures, but at about the same time he made this film he transitioned into a new phase in his movie career where Hope apparently began to see himself as a screen lover. That was the end of my appreciation of Bob Hope on film. He was much funnier playing the poor guy who is rather inept with women. Unfortunately, here he is the romantic interest, and to be honest some of the hokey skits on his television specials were far better than this.

Katharine Hepburn must have been embarrassed over this film. Stomping around like someone's idea of a female Russian jet pilot. I just found myself rolling my eyes while writing this paragraph! How could Hepburn (or someone) not see how badly this film was going? The plot? Stupid. From the minute the opening score begins, you know you are headed for disaster.

I'm appalled at this film, and I'm going to give it the lowest rating I've ever given a film -- "1" -- and that's only because you can't register a "0".

You've been warned!
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Hope and Hepburn Lay an Egg
wes-connors29 May 2013
Russian-accented war heroine Katharine Hepburn (as Vinka Kovelenko) lands in West Germany, where she is captured by the American military. Authorities expect her to announce a defection, but Ms. Hepburn wishes to remain a Communist. At the same time, wise-cracking US pilot Bob Hope (as Charles "Chuck" Lockwood) is about to enjoy a leave from military service. His superior officers cancel Mr. Hope's leave and order him to seduce Hepburn into the pleasures of Capitalism. Hope uses liquor and masculine charms, but Hepburn turns out to be a tough nut to crack...

This is a wretched re-make of "Ninotchka" (1939). Hope is typical. Hepburn is terrible. A performer of Hepburn's caliber so poorly attempting Greta Garbo is almost impossible to fathom - this is an embarrassing effort. Reportedly, Hope cut a substantial amount of her material; if this is the best they filmed, he was doing Hepburn a favor. Hope's remaining one-liners and light slap-schtick are almost as awful. They wisely hid "The Iron Petticoat" from public viewing until 2012, when viewers were able to determine whether the film was either a lost classic or a train wreck.

No contest.

* The Iron Petticoat (6/30/56) Ralph Thomas ~ Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn, Noelle Middleton, James Robertson Justice
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Haven't seen it, but beware
barrymn113 September 2005
This is the notorious forgotten movie that Bob Hope and his gagwriters imposed many rewrites and ad-libs.

So many that not only did Hepburn's get horribly reduced, but writer Ben Hecht demanded that his name be removed from the credits.

He apparently took an ad out denouncing Hope's inappropriate take over.

The movie seems to have disappeared from the face of the world making it certainly Hepburn's most obscure released movie.

It's a shame since it's a reworking of Billy Wilder's screenplay "Ninotchka".

I'd love to see it, but it's apparently one helluva stinker. Ooofta!
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More entertaining than I expected thanks to Hope
a.lampert21 March 2017
Catching up with two or three Bob Hope movies recently on TV, this, the 3rd in a month, didn't really excite me, even as a prospect before I started watching it. Let me make it clear, for me, Bob Hope was the most charismatic comedy actor ever, but the subject matter of 'The Iron Petticoat' just sounded dull. Katharine Hepburn plays a Russian pilot who has an ex lover (Robert Helpmann) who she meets up with in West Germany at an American air base. It's a bit unclear why she flies there but anyway, after landing she is persuaded by Capt Chuck Lockwood (Bob Hope) to pursue Western values and the pair eventually fall in love after a series of mishaps. That's about it as a story but Hepburn is just irritating as the Russian pilot. I'm normally something of a fan of Kate but in this movie she has such a terrible, harsh, mock Russian accent it just grated on me, rather destroying any chemistry between the two stars and is the worst performance I've seen her give. Hope on the other hand saves the movie with his non stop quips which always keeps me glued to his presence. Apparently Hope's production company was involved which allowed him to alter Ben Hechts' original script as he wasn't satisfied with it and Hecht and Hope fell out over it. The Cold War is a rather unfunny premise for a comedy which is why it didn't really appeal to me but if you love just watching Bob Hope, then it's worth a watch. Supporting actors don't really add anything as they are rather dull and giving their worst performances and the list included great character actors like James Robertson Justice, Sid James and Richard Wattis who normally bring a boost to their pictures, but alas, not here. Apparently the picture has only recently become available on TV as Hope prevented it in his lifetime so you may find it interesting as a curiosity. Only five stars and they're for Hope and his gags and timing.
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"Even McCarthy wouldn't believe this".
classicsoncall15 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I give up, was this supposed to be a comedy? You would think with Bob Hope and Katherine Hepburn in a film that it would be worth seeing but this is simply a travesty. Actually, I don't think I've ever run into a film in which all the posts for it in the reviews section on IMDb uniformly call it a bad picture. The movie merits a 5.6 rating from all (710) viewers as I write this, but just for the heck of it I did a quick average of the 'stars' given by the folks writing comments on it, and I come up with a 3.25. My rating isn't going to sway that either way.

I can't even imagine what the film makers might have been thinking, before, during, and after this picture was made. Hepburn's Russian was fingernails on chalkboard to my ear, and try as they might, the chemistry that was supposed to exist between the stars just didn't work for me. The gags fell flat and even Hope's one liners lacked punch. At least he managed to invoke Crosby when the Judo Sleepwalker (????) Sutsiyama (Tutte Lemkow) called him 'Dog Nose', but even that wasn't funny.

Quite honestly, and I make an effort at this, but I can't think of any redeeming feature of the film that might even remotely recommend it. But even as incomprehensible a romantic match that Hope and Hepburn seemed, Major Chuck Lockwood's fiancé Lady Connie (Noelle Middleton) might have even been worse. Considering how bizarre the whole concept of the story was, you'd think she could have cracked a smile now and then. You know, I'm beginning to think it might have been true when Captain Kovelenko (Hepburn) said at one point - "This would not have happened if Stalin were alive".
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Maybe, in hindsight, Hollywood should have never made any female aviator defection films!
MartinHafer6 November 2015
In the 1950s, Hollywood tried making a couple films about Soviet female pilots who defect to the West. Both films starred big stars and both films are absolutely god-awful!! "Jet Pilot" was a thorough embarrassment for John Wayne and Janet Leigh and "The Iron Petticoat" was an embarrassment for Katharine Hepburn. As for Hepburn's co- star, Bob Hope, he essentially plays the same snappy sort of character he did in all his films and so the film was less of an embarrassment. Regardless, neither film should have ever been made and are absolutely terrible.

This misguided and embarrassing film begins with a Russian jet (actually, an American F-84) arriving unannounced at a US airbase. Inside the plane is Major Kovelenko (Hepburn)--a pilot who claims to be defecting because she's sick of sexism in Russia. So, a dim- witted Colonel decides the best thing to do is assign her to a sexist American, Major Lockwood (Hope)...a guy who CONSTANTLY spouts one-liners as if he's standing up on stage. In fact, he almost NEVER talks like a human being. While this is dumb, Hope's inappropriateness is hardly noticeable since Hepburn is simply terrible. Her impression of a Russian officer is like one done in a high school play--with her shouting her lines and sounding, often, like a stilted version of Natasha from "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle"---though here in "The Iron Petticoat" she's a bit more cartoon-like! Sadly, it's not Hepburn's most inappropriate role-- that would probably be her playing a Chinese peasant in "The Dragon Seed". Nor is it her worst, as that would be "Spitfire"--a terrible film so awful you have to see it to believe it. A great actress, certainly, but clearly one who had a few misfires during her illustrious career.

So is there anything good about the film? No. Hepburn is loud and shrill and ridiculous. Hope is simply going through the motions and offers nothing in his role that would make you think he's anything other than a vaudevillian. Neither are right for the film and the writing doesn't do anything to improve upon this.

By the way, although this film is very bad, "Jet Pilot" actually manages to be worse! However, it is much, much funnier--which is sad, as "Jet Pilot" is not supposed to be a comedy and "The Iron Petticoat" is!
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Do not waste your time
Sdp131720 March 2015
I had no idea that Katherine Hepburn ever made an Awful movie, but this one qualifies. What possessed her to make this horrible picture???? The accent is absurd. The costumes are hideous. She is so out of place. And Bob hope???? As stupid as usual. This one should have been left on the floor. I have read that 12 minutes of Hepburn's performance were cut by the Hope team for the US version. Pity. But I think it was a bad idea from the get go. And on another note, the 10 line minimum requirement for this post is also ridiculous. This movie was sooooo bad there is no need to waste ten lines in describing how awful it is! I am at a total loss on what else to say other than do not watch it and I am sorry I wasted my time writing this
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