Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Great On Screen Couples: Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

Katharine Hepburn made her first performance with Spencer Tracy in the film, Woman of the Year (1942), directed by George Stevens. A romantic comedy film. The movie is about a independent woman, who is chosen "Woman of the Year" and her co worker-turned-husband try to find a life of happiness.

Woman of the Year won an Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Behind the scenes the couple fell in love and would soon become one of Hollywood's most famous romances. Even though Tracy was married at the time.

When Joseph Mankiewicz, first introduced them, Hepburn, was wearing heels said, "I'm afraid I'm too tall for you, Mr. Tracy." Mankiewicz said, "Don't worry, he'll soon cut you down to size." As The Daily Telegraph observed in Hepburn's obituary, "Hepburn and Spencer Tracy were at their most seductive when their verbal fencing was sharpest: it was hard to say whether they delighted more in the battle or in each other."

Keeper of the Flame (1942). A dramatic film. Hepburn plays the widow of a famous civic leader who, just before his death, was planning against the government of the United States. Tracy plays a former war correspondent who is planning to write a biography, only to learn about his evil plans. The film was directed by George Cukor. Katharine Hepburn, wanted to add some romance to the film. She went to producer Victor Saville, about this but he ignored her comments, so Hepburn went directly to Mayer, who was happy to make the film into a Hollywood romance.

Without Love(1945). Romantic/comedy. Directed by Harold S. Bucquet. The story begins when a lonely widow Jamie Rowan, marries a military research scientist, Patrick Jamieson, who has set up his lab in her house. They both believe that a marriage can be a success without love. But as a romantic comedy goes... you know what happens.

The Sea of Grass(1947). Western/drama film. It was directed by Elia Kazan and based on the novel of the same name by Conrad Richter. Kazan was reported so embarrassed by the film that he urged people not to see it. Hepburn, plays a woman from St. Louis moving to New Mexico to marry a rancher, who does not want other ranchers using the government-owned range at all costs.

State of the Union(1948). Directed by Frank Capra. The story is about how Kay Thordyke loves Grant Matthews and helps him become Republican nominee for President. The Republicans, begins to worry as Grant begins to speak for himself...

Please click here to view State Of the Union(1948) movie review.

Adam's Rib (1949). Directed by George Cukor. Judy Holliday, in her first substantial film role. The music was composed by Miklós Rózsa, except for the song "Farewell, Amanda", which was written by Cole Porter. The story begins when, Prosecutor Adam Bonner, is assigned the case against a woman who tried to scare her adulterous husband and his lover by shooting at them, hitting him in the shoulder. Bonner's wife, Amanda, also a lawyer, decides to defend the woman in court. As the two try and win the case, the courtroom battle continues on at home..

Pat and Mike (1952). Comedy. The movie was directed by George Cukor, who also directed The Philadelphia Story and Adam's Rib. The story is about Pat Pemberton, is a talented golfer, except when her over baring fiance is around. He wants them to get married and forget her golf career, but she cannot give up on her dreams. She meets up with Mike Conovan, sports promoter and before they know it they become involved with mobsters and a jealous boxer.

Desk Set (1957). A romantic comedy film, directed by Walter Lang. The film begins at the "Federal Broadcasting Network". With Bunny Watson, is hard at work researching and answering questions on all types of subjects. The network is merging with another company, but.. is keeping it secret until the network head ordered two computers. Richard Sumner, the inventor of the computer, is brought in to see how the library works. The employees jump to the conclusion that the machines are going to replace them when they all receive pink slips.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), for which Hepburn won her second Academy Award for Best Actress. The story begins when, Joey Drayton brings her fiance, Dr. John Prentice, home to meet her parents.

After a romantic period, it became, a close friendship. But, when Tracy became ill, Hepburn took five years off from her career, following completion of the film, Long Day's Journey Into Night, to care for him. Out of consideration for Tracy's family, Hepburn did not attend his funeral. She was too heartbroken to ever watch the film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.


  1. Tracey and Hepburn are the benchmark for any great on screen couple for me.
    I've lost count of the times I've used the phrase "their chemistry is on a par with Tracey and Hepburn!" in my blogposts.
    Nice job Dawn.

  2. What a screen couple! I think my favorites of their movies are "Pat and Mike", "Adam's Rib", and "Desk Set". "Desk Set" is high on my list of all-time favorites -- great supporting cast, perfect screenplay, and of course the dynamic duo!

    "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" holds a special place in the hearts of many who love Tracy. One of the most poignant scenes in any movie is near the end, when Tracy talks about his feelings for his wife, and gives a long and loving look to Hepburn, whom he loved in real life.

    Wonderful article, Dawn!

  3. Paul, Thank you.. I know what you mean. I often say the same thing :)

    Becky, Thank you. "Adam's Rib" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", are my all time favorite Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy movies.


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