Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WOMAN OF THE YEAR


WOMAN OF THE YEAR (1942). Director: George Stevens.

Tess Harding (Katharine Hepburn) and Sam Craig (Spencer Tracy) are columnists for the same newspaper but don't know or care very much for each other. That changes when they actually meet and fall in love -- but can Sam deal with the fact that Tess, eventually named "Woman of the Year," is always on the go and is more celebrated than he is? Frankly, Woman of the Year, while a good and entertaining movie, sort of ducks the question of Sam's ego, making it more about Tess' lack of domesticity and maternalism, and despite some attempt at the end to arrive at a compromise, the movie comes off now as rather dated. For a moment it even turns into one of those "woman with amazing career will give it all up to become a devoted wifey" kind of movies. Still both of the stars, in their first pairing, are excellent, as are Fay Bainter as Tess' Aunt Ellen, Minor Watson as her father, and Edith Evanson as her maid, Alma. [Although she was frequently uncredited, Evanson had a long career, and appeared in such films as Journey to the Center of the Earth, Rope and Marnie.] Little George Kezas has a nice turn as Chris, the boy refugee, as does Sara Haden as the head of the home where he resides. Funniest scene has Kate trying to make coffee!

Verdict: On its own 1940's terms, not bad at all, but boy what it could have been! ***.

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