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Recommend A Year with Kate: Undercurrent (1946) (Email)

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Episode 22 of 52 ofAnne Marie's chronological look at KatharineHepburn'scareer.

In which Katharine Hepburn's terrible fashion sense almost kills her.

I'll admit my bias up front: this movie is a sore spot for me.For probably understandable reasons,I'm not big on movies about tomboys named Ann who are accused of being frumpy.Undercurrentis a noir-esque melodrama directed by Vincente Minnelli,a director best known for the Technicolor musicals starring his sometime wife Judy Garland and/or Gene Kelly.Minnelli did spread out in genre on occasion,with great filmsThe Bad And The Beautifuland not-so-great films,likeUndercurrent.Our heroine inUndercurrentis a plain woman named Ann (Kate) who is unexpectedly wooed by a tall dark and handsome scientist (Robert Taylor).After a whirlwind romance ending in marriage,Ann begins searching into her husband's troubled past.She uncovers an empty house,a paranoid ex-lover,and a brother (Robert Mitchum) who should dead--and who may end up being her soul mate.

But before Ann is drawn into the mystery,she spends the first act of the movie stomping around her father's laboratory wearing this:

HIDEOUS.I know.I can almost hear the fashion bloggers crying for justice and tearing at their vintage blouses in despair.Honestly,it's not a terrible look.It's very Kate.Really the only things I take issue with are the socks with sandals (fortunately spared in this publicity photo),but that's because it's an Embarrassing Dad-level fashion faux pas.(That's Marjorie Main with her,by the way,in a criminally small role.) Anyway,while this ensemble is notthe worst thing Kate's worn,it is nonetheless a Big Problem,or so the film tells us.It isn't until Kate,as Ann,gets swept into the mysterious,glamorous life of her husband that she is shamed into dressing the part of a worldly,wealthy wife and a beautiful MGM star.


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