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TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection :: Katharine Hepburn

by Ed Tapper
Contributor
Thursday Mar 15, 2012
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Feisty, trailblazing actress Katherine Hepburn is rarely absent from the Turner Classic Films network for any stretch of time. The Hollywood legend is saluted, analyzed, discussed and remembered, and her many films are aired with frequency. TCM already selected four from their vaults for the "Romantic Comedies" DVD collection, and this week will release a new mixed bag of Kate’s best entitled "Greatest Screen Legends: Katherine Hepburn."

The four titles chosen for the new box set have all been released before, so there are no surprises. As is the case with the other TCM collections being introduced this week, the discs are lifted directly from prior Warner editions, and rather inhumanely stacked on a single prong; nor is there a booklet or annotations. Hardly the last word in lavish packaging, the Hepburn set does contain some undisputed treasures.

The earliest of the films included is the 1933 "Morning Glory" in which she portrays a young, stage-struck actress, aided in her quest for stardom by savvy impresario Adolphe Menjou. Some may find her performance glowing with youthful vigor; others, impatient with voluminous dialogue delivered in an affected nasal twang, torturous. Produced the same year, "Little Women" has the advantage of George Cukor’s direction, and ideally cast supporting players. Hepburn is the embodiment of Jo, and this slice of Americana remains one of the Hollywood’s finest literary adaptations.

In the comic realm, the wonderfully gay "Stage Door" features a restrained Hepburn playing opposite tough cookies Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball and Eve Arden, her cynical roommates in a theatrical boarding house. The set concludes with the talky, sporadically amusing "The Philadelphia Story," with Kate perfectly cast as a capricious socialite. The film is not to everyone’s taste, but, like the new collection itself, is certain to please the avid Hepburn fan.

TCM Greatest Classic Legends Collection: Katherine Hepburn
DVD
$27.99
www.shop.tcm.com

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