When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.
At best, actress Hepburn is a matter of taste. Here director Cukor gives full reign to her most troublesome habit—sheer staginess. For Tracy (Hepburn), there's no such thing as a simple movement; instead, every inflection is an exaggeration of some sort. Just as bad for the movie, Grant is not allowed his usual superb comedic skills; instead, he gets to look on in a rather wooden manner, a not unreasonable reaction. Unfortunately, this is another example of MGM's Louis Mayer's infatuation with the idle rich and well-housed.
One of the film's few positive notes are the many subtle innuendoes. In fact, the strategic use of such innuendoes as 'intact' made me wonder if the Grant-Hepburn marriage had ever been consummated. Then again, why any man would warm up to such a bitchy "goddess" remains perhaps the movie's biggest conundrum. On the other hand, the supporting cast, particularly Hussey and Weidler, furnish what there is of the movie's meager amusement. Too bad it's only in support.
To me, the movie's exalted reputation is likely the result of Hollywood's promotional arm working overtime. After all, if the production's got this many illustrious names, it's got to be a classic. For a revealing contrast, catch the Grant-Hepburn-Hawks genuinely funny Bringing Up Baby, made only two years earlier. At least, Hawks knew how to edit a scene without letting it drone on and on. Here, Stewart's adaptation of the Barry play may have looked good on paper, but on screen it's quite a different matter, despite all the hoopla.
- Mar 2, 2014