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At a party for Bright Young Things, a "treasure hunt" for attractive yet virtuous people nets Sir Christopher Strong, M.P., and Lady Cynthia Darrington, dashing aviatrix. Their acquaintance is innocent at first; but after he sees her in a spectacular silver moth costume, virtue begins to wane. Against their wills, they are drawn into an affair whose consequences threaten Strong's happy marriage and both their careers.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Finds for the opening "treasure hunt" scene include a life-buoy from the S.S. Venture, which was the ship featured in King Kong. That movie was being made on the same lot at the same time, with Selznick also as producer. See more »
Lady Cynthia Darrington:
I wouldn't have loved you if you'd been a usual man. And you wouldn't have loved me if I'd been a woman who didn't take this kind of thing seriously.
See more »
CHRISTOPHER STRONG (RKO Radio, 1933), directed by Dorothy Arzner, with a haunting score by Max Steiner, began production as "A Great Desire." Starring Katharine Hepburn in her second feature film following her successful debut in A BILL OF DIVORCEMENT (1932), it pairs her opposite Colin Clive for the only time. Set in England, she plays Lady Cynthia Darrington, an enthusiastic aviatrix (possibly inspired on Amelia Earheart), who is over 21 and has never had a lover or an affair because she makes no time for it. All that changes when she meets Sir Christopher Strong (Colin Clive), whose life is not only absorbed in his political career, but with his wife (Billie Burke) and his single adult daughter (Helen Chandler) who has a married lover (Ralph Forbes), but becomes her husband after he is finally granted his divorce.
CHRISTOPHER STRONG is particularly interesting mainly because of some pre-production code stuff, and seeing Kate playing "the other woman" on screen for the only time who meets her dismal climax, something not common in a Hepburn movie. There is even a "bedroom scene" which camera focuses mainly on Kate's hand by the lamp while the viewer only hears some mono dialog exchange between her and Chris before she turns off the lights, leaving something to the viewer's imagination. By today's standards, this is nothing compared to what Hollywood would make of this particular scene today. I won't reveal any more about the plot, but this is early Kate Hepburn as the liberated woman with carefree ideas that come back to punish her. Maybe casting Hepburn in this type of role was RKO 's way of trying to develop her into a tragic heroine like MGM's own Greta Garbo. Worth a look, however, especially seeing Colin Clive in something other than that as Dr. Henry Frankenstein, his most famous performance(s) in Universal's FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935). CHRISTOPHER STRONG, which formerly played on the American Movie Classics cable channel prior to 2001, can be seen occasionally on Turner Classic Movies. It was once available on video cassette through the Nostalgia Merchant and RKO Home Video, but presently, it's out of print. Look quickly for future Warner Brothers actress Margaret Lindsay appearing in a small role as a girl who wants to get Cynthia's autograph. Not a box office success when released, but better roles for Kate in 1933 would soon follow with MORNING GLORY and LITTLE WOMEN. (**1/2)
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