March 4, 2017
Woman of the Year.
Review #911: Woman of the Year.
Spencer Tracy (Sam Craig), Katharine Hepburn (Tess Harding), Fay Bainter (Ellen Whitcomb), Reginald Owen (Clayton), Minor Watson (William J. Harding), William Bendix ("Pinkie" Peters), Gladys Blake (Flo Peters), Dan Tobin (Gerald Howe), Roscoe Karns (Phil Whittaker), William Tannen (Ellis), and Ludwig Stössel (Dr. Lubbeck) Directed by George Stevens.
It has been a long time since I covered a Tracy-Hepburn film. In fact, the one I covered (#139 - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner) was the last one, so it only seems fitting that after over 800 reviews, I cover the first movie to pair the two actors together. As it turned out, the two would make nine films together in 25 years of work, while this film won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and it is easy to see why. Almost immediately, the chemistry between Tracy and Hepburn comes out beautifully on screen, with Tracy's no-nonsense attitude and levelheadedness meshing with Hepburn's wit and tenderness that is always interesting. Whether by acting or how it was written (done by Ring Lardner Jr. and Michael Kanin), they just click. There's a good amount of lines (both romantic and comedic), in part due to the execution by Stevens and a pretty good cast as well. Bainter and Watson are pretty good together, and Bendix provides a good chuckle or two along with Blake. This is just a movie that has a good time with its main two actors controlling the show with grace and charm, with an acceptable pace of 114 minutes. The movie earns a good payoff, and it does that for the most part, with the conflicts being believable, and the climax being somewhat serviceable. The ending was one that came about due to the reaction to the original ending shown to test audiences, in order to give Tess her "comeuppance". The ending (done over the objection of the screenwriters along with Hepburn) doesn't derail the movie, though this bit of irony (if you want to call it that, though I can't make waffles either) I guess makes the movie go full circle in a weird way. Regardless, the movie is a fine classic that I can recommend without any doubt in my mind due to the way that it is crafted.
Overall, I give it 9 out of 10 stars.