Wednesday, May 21, 2014

C&LM: Katharine Hepburn A Hollywood Yankee

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For this week's Cinema and Literary Musings  post I quickly finished by this wonderful biography of Katharine Hepburn by Gary Carey. I took it with me on my trip to Rochester over the weekend for the car ride. I love Katharine Hepburn and her movies and this book really made me realize just how many of her movies I haven't seen! It starts with her childhood and the tragic death of her brother. This made her a very shy girl and she had trouble connecting with classmates. This is when she decided to become an actress. Hepburn was in many small theater productions, then Broadway, and finally films. The book goes in chronological order, and each chapter is broken down by whichever film or play was her largest production of the time.

Katharine had a very strong personality and it is evident throughout the book. If she didn't like the direction a director was taking a scene, she would fight to get it changed or even just play it her way. Many directors wrote parts specifically for her, since her mannerisms and voice were so strange and unchangeable even through many years of coaching. I personally am glad that they didn't erase all of her unique quirks, those kinds of little extras really bring more to a person's acting and she was definitely not a cookie cutter actress. There was also a bit about her romances; her one and only marriage to Ludlow Ogden Smith, Howard Hughes, and Spencer Tracy. There weren't many details into these relationships, just what the gossip columnists would know, or just the relationship during work in the case of Tracy. 

Hepburn kept a pretty private life, as much as she could. Early into her career she refused to talk to most reporters and would deny fans autographs in an attempt to keep some privacy. This really shows in terms of the actual biography because it is very focused on her career and her actions on sets. I actually like it better that there isn't so much of the gossipy news that we so so often with many celebrities. I liked that it focused mainly on her career, her acting style, and her accomplishments.

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