Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by亚博主页Nathaniel R.Gemini,Cinephile,Actressexual.All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member ofour teamas noted.

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!

"Great Moments in Horror Actressing"SIGOURNEY WEAVER in COPYCAT

Comment Fun


"AbsoluteYES!Queen Saoirse is coming for her Oscar!"-Wesley

"Look,I understand what Gerwig is trying to do but this is much moreNOthan "yes"for me.Much more."-H

"MAYBE SOI think I would have preferred Gerwig's take on a modern retelling."-Pam

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for500...no461 Patron Saints!If you read us daily,please be one.Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference.Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience亚博主页



Directors ofFor Sama

Lulu Wang(The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra(Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes(Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu(Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke(Ash is Purest White)

What'cha Looking For?
« Best Shot: Batman (1966)| Main| you wouldn't be able to do these awful things to me if i weren't still in this Blog | But cha'aar,Link,ya'aar!»
Jul 09 2014

A Year With Kate: Pat and Mike (1952)

Episode 28 of 52:In which Katharine Hepburn proves hitting like a girl is a good thing.

Guess what!My dad met Katharine Hepburn.Decades before I was born,unfortunately,which seems like poor parenting on his part.Anyway,my dad was a professional tennis player in the early 1970s.Since he looked cute in shorts and was charming company (two traits I inherited from him along with his humility),he'd get invited to parties before tournaments in LA and Las Vegas.At one such party,he met Kate the Great.Dad's words:

"I recall her as being very petite,wonderful husky voice,would look at you directly when speaking… Like so many actors,actresses etc.,incredible charisma… Incredible spunk but not an outstanding athlete...By the then Hollywood standards,she may well have been great."

Please keep in mind that this meeting was twenty years afterPat and Mike,so it's possible my dad's opinion may have been different if he'd seen her play in her prime.And have no doubts,Katharine Hepburn may have been 45 when she picked up a tennis racket and a golf club forPat and Mike,but she was definitely still in her physical prime.Pat and Mike,Kate and Spencer Tracy's seventh film together,is a showcase for KHep's mad sports skills.

Pat and Mikereunited the team that had createdAdam's Ribjust three years before: Director George Cukor,Oscar-nominated writers Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon,and Spencer and Kate (all together nicknamed the Entente Cordiale).It's fluffy comedy designed to highlight its stars strengths.Kate,sporting the first of the iconic high collars and updos,plays a WASP-y PE teacher at a girls' college who turns pro in golf and tennis.Spencer Tracy in not-so-iconic loud suits plays her two bit tough guy manager.

The plot goes thusly: Kate and Spencer bicker adorably.Kate plays golf.Kate and Spencer bicker adorably.Kate plays tennis.Rinse,lather,repeat,and throw in a young Aldo Ray for a bit of background color.The film grants more time to Kate's athletic stunts than it does to her budding romance with Tracy.Take for example the famous driving range scene.

The comedy comes from Kate's self-righteous golf swings and her ex-partner's shocked expression.But rather than giggles,this scene usually elicits praise for Hepburn's ability.I'm all for praising lady athletes,but I think that as a comedyPat and Mikeis only so-so.Without the sly sexuality ofWoman of the Yearor the silly subversiveness ofAdam's Rib,Pat and Mikefeels filmically flat.Maybe this time they tipped too far in Kate's favor.Like the film says,Kate and Spencer need to be 50/50,totally balanced.Unfortunately,Pat and Mikewas the last film the Entente Cordiale made together.While the balance is off,the film still exemplifies how they could take an aspect of Kate's image and craft a film around it.

One of the unique aspects of Katharine Hepburn's star image has always been that she was athletic.She played golf!She swam every day!Sheboxedat Bryn Mawrplayed tennis till she was 90!She was what wasso vulgarly referred to as "outdoors-y."* Kate's athleticism was tied to every other admirable part of her image.Her spirit,discipline,stubbornness and lust for life all manifested in sports and in acting.The same yearPat and Mikeopened,Kate performed GB Shaw'sThe Millionairessin Manchester.Between playing pro sports onscreen and classic theater onstage,she was proving what we now know to be true: Katharine Hepburn has no expiration date.

One more thing before I wrap this up.See this ordinary looking staircase Kate is walking down?

That's my alma mater,Occidental College!I took Japanese History in the building Kate exits offscreen left.I dropped it for Intro to Film.I think we can all agree I made the right choice there.

*Yes,I've been saving that reference for 28 weeks!

Previous Week:The African Queen(1951) - In which Kate goes to Africa with Bogart,Bacall,and Huston,and almost loses her mind.

Next Week:Summertime(1955) - In which David Lean's beautiful romantic classic gives Katharine Hepburn an eye infection and me a head ache.(Available onAmazon)

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (10)

The only thing I liked about this movie was Aldo Ray and that's only because he's nice to look at.

July 9,2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I have been waiting for this for 28 weeks because this is my favorite Tracy Hepburn movie.For those of us before Title IX,there were no women visible in sports except those girls in twirly skirts every 4 years on the ice.Here was a woman who was both smart AND athletic.....I never knew you could be both.And the plot complication comes right out of the high school years..........Kate gets nervous (and sometimes blows it ) under the critical eye of her boyfriend.What 14 year old can't relate to that!?
This movie was a generation before me.Gussie Moran ( of the famous lace panties) Alice Marble,and Babe Didrikson and others are in this film,recognized in way uncommon for women athletes of this or any time.
And I disagree about Tracy being out of balance in this film.His character (like many he played ) is one of few words.And to command the scene,all you have to do is hear him say : "Cherce"

July 9,2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie19

Kate's last MGM film under her contract,and one of her best,I can't understand the faint praise!

July 9,2014 | Unregistered CommenterUK Joe

Leslie19 -- Hey now!Don't put words in my mouth.I didn't say Tracy was out of balance.I said his dynamic with Kate is.I think we're both arguing the same point though.Even though I don't love the film for itself,I do love Smart and Athletic Kate,and this movie is entirely in service to her.

July 9,2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

It's kinda like what Adam Sandler does today,except Kate Hepburn's "I wanna make a movie about tennis because I like tennis so why not"movie is better than anything Sandler does on his tax-write off vacation movies.

The story about your father was amazing!

July 9,2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Spencer's rough Kate's tough and it all goes down as expected but there's something missing from this.It's still miles better than Sea of Grass or Keeper of the Flame but it's not one of the pairs best.Odd considering the talent involved.Oh and Aldo Ray is quite the delectable piece of beefcake.

Loved the story about your father.It's very cool when you're watching a film and landmarks that you're familiar with show up.It pulls you into the movie a little more.

July 9,2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Kate in tennis whites!Kate in athletic shorts!I swoon!

Might not be the meatiest but..but...Title IX!!!

July 9,2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Another great entry,Anne Marie.Look forward to reading why there was a three year gap between this and Summertime.

July 9,2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Catching up with this one way too late,but I loved that opening anecdote and had to thank you for sharing it.

Also,PERFECT summary of why everything just kind of doesn't do anything as a comedy.It was,I think,the first Hepburn/Tracy film I saw (at any rate,def before Adam's Rib),and I remember being really confused why they was considered such an all-time great screen pairing if something this blandly nice and totally unmemorable was typical of what they could do.

July 11,2014 | Registered CommenterTim Brayton

I agree with Margaret and Anne Marie that the main pleasure of this film is watching Kate the athlete.But I don't find this such a step down,mainly because this film was so much against the grain of the 50's preoccupation with women as wives or sex bombs.Doris Day and Marilyn Monroe were the big box office draws,and most Hollywood films were about putting independent career women back in their places.Pat & Mike was all about him helping her build a career,that was a radical feminist philosophy in the 50's.So I feel a little more warmly towards this film than some.

July 16,2014 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: