Monday, June 30, 2003

Kate: For Hepburns, I've always been an Audrey man. (If you want to read something warm about Kate, go here.) No doubt Katherine was a fine actress, as long as you wanted a Katherine Hepburn role in your film. Thus, I'd dispute the claims of her versatility. In fact, I find the storied Bringing Up Baby nearly unwatchable. Nevertheless, she was great in The African Queen. An interesting pairing, Kate and Bogie (one of my favorite actors). I think of them as similar in many ways, and perhaps this will help clarify why I'm not putting down Hepburn. Neither of them was a great actor, a terribly versatile player, or a real innovator (although Hepburn's private life was quite in the vanguard). But both were, above all, screen presences in a very real, very palpable way. Both had odd features, not textbook good looks, but both were compellingly attractive in films. Is that an insult, to say that one was a screen presence -- a star by accident rather than talent? I don't think so.

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