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The Iron Petticoat
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Iron Petticoat More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A lost film that could have stayed lost

Author: jjnxn-1 from United States
29 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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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Katherine Hepburn's worse movie.....locked up until now (sigh)

Author: johos3 from United States
16 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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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Bring Down the Curtain-Iron Petticoat *

Author: edwagreen from United States
10 December 2012

*** This review may contain 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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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Red Square

Author: writers_reign
20 April 2012

*** This review may contain 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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More entertaining than I expected thanks to Hope

Author: a.lampert from United Kingdom
21 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".

Author: classicsoncall from Florida, New York
15 April 2016

*** This review may contain 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!

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
6 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

Author: Sdp1317 from United States
20 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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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Hope and Hepburn Lay an Egg

Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
29 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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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The limburger cheese of Hope or Hepburn films

Author: vincentlynch-moonoi from United States
17 December 2012

*** This review may contain 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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