In March, there’s a blogging thing going on in which you post a list every day. Lists are
easy entertaining, so while I may not post 31 of them I’ll chip in with a few.
Lately I’m spending an inordinate amount of time crashed on the couch, watching movies. There are certain movie stars whose films I’ll watch without a moment’s notice, and there are others I refuse to watch. I write a lot on this blog about what I like, so let me do a bit of outlining of that which I don’t.
Beloved Movie Stars Whose Appeal Escapes Me
Spencer Tracy: Stodgy. Still can’t understand how he and Katherine Hepburn were a couple.
John Wayne: Ponderous. Paternalistic.
Gary Cooper: I agree he’s tall, but that’s about it.
It’s a short list, but my animosity is concentrated.
Ok–in defense of my beloved Kate/Spencer, yeah, visually Spencer isn’t a looker in the way, say, William Holden was. In their earlier films, the age mismatch is *almost* squick. And yet, and yet…their chemistry on the screen is *practically* undeniable. It’s hard to watch a film like “Adam’s Rib” and not see them as an honest-to-god couple. His appeal is in his humour, his eyes, and definitely in how he lit up in any scene with Kate. And if you watch Kate with other co-stars over the years, she’s never as electric as she is with Spencer. Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart–neither can touch the magic that is Kate/Spencer.
(and I’ve probably made you ill just contemplating it-sorry!)
Amie, it’s not to do with looks. Humphrey Bogart was a short, lumpy man with an oddly large head, and he’s one of my most favorite actors.
I can agree with you that Tracy and Hepburn play well together. I think the only one of their movies I’ve seen is “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” and the relationship they portrayed in their characters worked well. And he gave a strong performance.
I really, really like the movies with Hepburn and Cary Grant. “Bringing Up Baby” is just goofy fun, but the two of them sparkle. And there are so many sparks between them in “Philadelphia Story.”
So maybe I just haven’t seen the right Spencer Tracy movie. Sounds like “Adam’s Rib” is the one you’d suggest for the Hepburn connection. Not “Woman of the Year”?
In any case, I realize and acknowledge that he’s a fine and beloved actor. But for some reason, he doesn’t thrill me. It’s strange, but true.
It’s been years since I’ve given “Woman of the Year” a proper re-watching. My go-tos for Kate/Spencer are usually the aforementioned “Adam’s Rib” or “Pat and Mike” although I agree, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” does show them as a very natural couple.
As for Kate with others, as much as I love “Bringing up Baby” and “Philadelphia Story” her chemistry with Grant, while good, isn’t as tangible as her best moments with Spencer. But that being said, one pairing that IS on par with her best with Spencer is her with Henry Fonda in “On Golden Pond” which is simply magnificent.
Out of curiosity, maybe you’d like Spencer better without Kate? Perhaps in “Father of the Bride” which I think is him at his comedic best…
(and hey, it’s cool if he doesn’t thrill you. I am probably slightly biased against Cary Grant myself. Don’t dislike him, just don’t get his overwhelming appeal)
Amie, I fear we’re fated to disagree. I have seen Father of the Bride (both the Tracy and Steve Martin versions). It’s the kind of movie I just do not enjoy much. I seem not to like to have my heart warmed.
I have never made it through On Golden Pond. I like some Henry Fonda movies, and I like a quite a number of Jane Fonda’s movies, but that particular film doesn’t work for me at all.
And perhaps that’s key to our difference of opinion. Cary Grant is my ideal, while Spencer Tracy is yours. But it may really be the kinds of roles they play and the kinds of films in which they appear that we each are drawn to.
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