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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Kate! [5 Things]

Another birthday! Another Hepburn's birthday!



Katharine Hepburn behind the scenes of The Philadelphia Story, 1940

Happy Birthday, Kate!

There has been no one, before or after, like Katharine Houghton Hepburn. Mean as a snake, dear as an angel— she is one of the great humans, better than the legend. She isall she appears to be, with a face for Mount Rushmore.
- John Bryson [Photographer//Friend]

#5: Susan Vance (and an assortment of other characters)
I like so many of the characters Katharine Hepburn played: Tracy Lord (The Philadelphia Story), Tess Harding (Woman of the Year), and Amanda Bonner (Adam's Rib) are a few of my favorite Kate roles that represent much of the characters Kate played in her career. Free-spirited, liberated, independent woman who wore pants and told the men what to do; not the other way around - and this was the 1940s. Its one of my very favorite things about Kate. But my all time favorite character isn't one of these feminists, but, in fact, a zany screwball heiress named Susan Vance. Susan hails from Bringing up Baby (1938), my favorite Kate film - though it's hard to pick just one.  Susan, with her notoriously high pitched giggle that I adore to imitate, is the exact opposite of the traditional Kate character, probably the sort that would tick a traditional Kate character off to no end. (Can you imagine Tess Harding & Susan Vance meeting?). And still, it's my favorite. Bringing up Baby (1938), was one of my very first classics, and my very first Kate film, and I instantly fell in love with her. Perhaps a lot of it had to do with adorable Susan, who won my heart from the moment she took Cary Grant's golf ball. (We're watching the film in one of my classes, because of me, and I'm afraid to say that one of my friends asked me in all seriousness, "Does Susan have a mental problem?")


#4: Her voice
I hear people complain about Kate's voice all the time, and I'm like, "WHAT?! ARE YOU DEAF?!" Oh, well, each to their own. I however beg to differ. Kate's voice was one of the first things that made me love her. It honestly just adds this to underlying quality of adorableness she has, and it makes me adore her even more. If you haven't noticed lately, I gush over voices a lot: lusting after Greer Garson's, wanting an Ingrid accent of my own, and forever noting Cary Grant's particular way of saying "hell-o!". Well, Kate is right up there with the three of them. I'm positively in love with her "Bryn Mawr accent", which also brings me to add, to those that may disagree: she didn't choose her voice, it was just the accent that she happened to have, like anyone else picks up one.


#3: Her looks.
A lot of people don't think Kate Hepburn was beautiful, and once more I must disagree. Katharine Hepburn was not the conventional beauty, she was certainly "different looking", but she was still quite gorgeous in that particular way of hers. When I first saw her on the screen as a little girl, I thought she was absolutely stunning and couldn't get over how pretty she was! Now I can understand that while perhaps she isn't the traditional beauty, she was still indeed beautiful: I mean, those cheekbones, that smile, the carefully sculpted features? So no, I just don't get it when people say she wasn't beautiful. Oh well. Once more, each to their own.

#2: Kate & Spence.
Perhaps, I believe, my favorite couple - next to Lucy & Desi, I mean. And they weren't even married! I think the wonderful thing about the great old Hollywood unions were, in addition to giving us the pleasure over swooning over them as a couple, they also gave us great performances together. Kate & Spence are certainly a testament to that. I recently watched Sea of Grass (1947), and therefore, I can proudly say that I have seen all nine Kate & Spence movies. Gosh, they're just simply wonderful together. On screen and off. As for on screen, my favorite is likely either Woman of the Year (1942) or Adam's Rib (1949). As for off screen, I suggest you watch this. (And yes, you will need your Kleenex).


#1: Kate just being Kate.
This one is kind of hard to describe. I get it's just a summarization of Kate being Kate. Because, Katharine Hepburn was just generally the definition of an awesome person. She did all her stunts in films, did headstands when she was in her eighties, swam in the Venice canals each morning whilst filming Summertime (1955), and didn't give a damn about what anyone else thought. She was never willing to change herself for anyone. I admire that quality about her so much, that persistence to always be herself and keep her character. She stuck with that her entire life, I think. Katharine Hepburn was really quite honestly an amazing human being. I just don't know how to put it into words, but there is simply this aura about her. It usually results in people either completely hating or completely loving her. To me, it turned out to be the latter. In my definition of "Katharine Hepburn", she is one of the best actresses to have ever graced the screen and a simply wonderful person with an incredible personality, whose self-confidence I hope to have myself one day.

3 Rules by Katharine Hepburn to live by:
"1) Never quit
2) Be yourself
3) Never put too much flour in your brownies."

six favorite photos of katharine hepburn asked by frivolouswhim


Kristen said...

Happy birthday Katherine! I stayed in and watched Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Adam's Rib, and Bringing Up Baby (three of my favorite films of hers)

LĂȘ said...

Oh, Kate, my favorite actress and role-model as a woman! My favorite character is Tess Harding, but it's difficult to pick one!
It's great that you've watched all the nine movies she did with Spencer. I couldn't watch "Guess who is coming to dinner" yet because I think this would be so sad, being Tracy's last movie.
Have you ever heard about Kate's brownie recipe? I tried it on Christmas of 2009 and, even not putting too much flour, I let it overbake :(
Here's the recipe:

KimWilson said...

Kate was a great actress. I think the fact that she ages on screen sometimes takes away from how beautiful she was when she was younger--this also comes into play with the development of her famous voice. It got a bit too trembly later in life.

Anonymous said...

great post on katherine hepburn, a great actress and woman. and yes she was beautiful as well.

alyssa, australia

Dani said...

Hard to imagine, especially after seeing that first picture, that anyone would find Kate anything but gorgeous. I really love her, as she was one of the first actresses I fell in love with (from the golden era) and I thought this was a lovely birthday post :)

Rianna said...

Lucky you! I had to go out somewhere so I could only catch a a little bit of Bringing up Baby. Those three are some of my all-time favorite Kate movies too.

Rianna said...

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" is definitely a bittersweet film. The last scene is so moving; Spence is giving a speech about racial equality and love, and Kate's eyes are just filled up with tears while she's watching him. It's a wonderful movie, I hope you can bring yourself to watching it!

I did know that her recipe was somewhere, but I'd never hunted it down. Thank you SO much for the link! I absolutely adore baking so I'm going to give this a try, and might even do a blog on it! Hopefully mine won't over bake. ;)

Rianna said...

Yes, I agree. I think a lot of the tremble in her voice later on came from an inherited essential tremor, the medical condition that basically made her head shake (as she said, "it shakes, but it's not going to fall off!"), therefore making her voice tremblier.

Rianna said...

Hi Alyssa, I'm happy you agree with me. She was a beautiful, inspirational, actress & role model!

Rianna said...

I know right, isn't she absolutely gorgeous in that first photo? That's why I chose it. ;) When I first saw her on screen I thought she was just incredibly stunning and was surprised when I read someone say that Kate wasn't much of a looker. I know our idea of beauty changes as we get older but I still agree Kate was lovely looking. Thanks, Dani, I'm glad you liked the post!

Margaret Perry said...

Love this endearing post about my favorite Katharine Hepburn! You've definitely caught the essence of her style and strength of presence. I would love to hear you feedback about my Katharine Hepburn blog! I'm just starting out and could use any advice you've got!
I look forward to following your blog and would love it if you'd follow mine!

Martin Turnbull (the Garden of Allah novels) said...

Great post, Rianna. I think we can all take a leaf out of Kate's book on how to live your life your way, with honestly and belief in yourself. It certainly worked well for her!

Marcela Costa :} said...

Wonderful post! I can relate to Katharine a lot, and she's my favorite actress ever by far! I'm just very sad she died when I was nine, and I never got the chance to see her in person :(

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