A minor television movie keeps Katharine Hepburn busy in her
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Four-time Academy Award winner Katharine Hepburn was in her early 80s when she made this television movie in 1988. After she won her fourth Oscar for "On Golden Pond" (1981) she did nothing for three years until she made "The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley" (1984), and then a couple of years later she started making movies for television periodically. "Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry" (1986), "Laura Lansing Slept Here" (1988)," "The Man Upstairs" (1992), "This Can't Be Love" (1994) and "One Christmas" (1994). In between those last two she made her last theatrical film, when she upstaged Warren Beatty and the luminous Annette Benning in "Love Affair." None of these television movies matched Hepburn's earlier efforts on the small screen, such as "Love Among the Ruins" and "The Corn in Green," but they gave the legendary actress something to do.
Hepburn plays the title character, a wealthy and world famous novelist who is shocked when she is told that her publisher has turned down her latest book. Her agent (Lee Richardson) suggests that she should retire because clearly she has lost touch with her readers. Lansing thinks otherwise and makes the bet that she can live with a typical family in the suburbs for seven days. If she cannot survive such a mundane existence then she will give up writing forever. So the great Laura Lansing shows up at the home of Walter (Joel Higgins) and Melody Gomphers (Karen Austin), and immediately takes over the place. Having spent decades being waited on hand and foot, she expects the Gomphers to do the same.
However, when she is informed she cannot have the bathroom all to herself because it is the only one in the house, she shows she is willing to be accommodating by drawing up a strict schedule assigning everybody a specific time they may have it use. Meanwhile she refuses to let anybody watch any television, will not let the kids listen to their music, and threatens the baby when he dares to cry in her presence. Of course, this is only the first part of the story, where the unwanted guest turns the life of the entire Gomphers family upside down. But in the second act she will start helping them with their various problems, including the fact that Walter is paying attention to the Xerox girl at work while Melody dreams of the sexiest man on soaps (Nicolas Surovy), who just happens to be a friend of Laura's. Will this jeopardize her bet or simply given Laura Lansing the material for her best novel in years?
That was a rhetorical question. "Laura Lansing Slept Here" is a pretty predictable, but Hepburn must have liked screenwriter James Prideaux because he wrote the script for not only this television movie but also "Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry" and "The Man Upstairs" (writing television movies for Katharine Hepburn is not a bad gig). All three movies were directed by George Schaefer as well, so there must have been a high comfort level. Unfortunately none of the cast is anywhere near the same level as Katharine Hepburn, although Austin is certainly game (her character faints on meeting Lansing, not because she had read any of Lansing's books but because she has seen the writer on talk shows and she scares here).
The most interesting scenes are between Hepburn and Schuyler Grant, who plays the Gomphers daughter Annette. Some will recognize Grant from the "Anne of Green Gables" mini-series or even from "All My Children," but she also happens to be Hepburn's great-niece (Hepburn's sister Marion married Ellsworth Grant, and their children included Katharine Houghton [Grant], who was with her aunt Kath in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," and Jack Grant, Schuyler's father). Maybe it is just me, but it sure seems that Hepburn saves her best moments for her scenes with her great-niece and you end up wishing that there was more for the two of them to do together because it would have made for a much better movie. But the early scenes where Lansing takes over just strike me as more mean-spirited than funny, so I end up rounding down on content myself with knowing there are a whole lot of better Katharine Hepburn movies out there.
With the release of "Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry" and "Laura Lansing Slept Here," my collection of Katharine Hepburn movies is now complete. The rest of her television movies have previously been released on video, and while not all of her theatrical movies are still available I have copies of all of them (yes, even "The Iron Petticoat," the travesty she did with Bob Hope). "Mrs. Delafield" is the better of the two, helped by both a more intelligent script and the interesting choice of Harold Gould as Hepburn's leading man. But for fans of Hepburn the thought of not having something in our movie collection is unthinkable and these DVDs are reasonably priced. However, there are no extras and the scene selection menu is one screen with the titles of chapters appearing around Hepburn's picture."
A Feel Good movie!!!
viewer | US | 08/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The wonderful,legendary Katherine Hepburn rules in one of her later roles as a disillusioned novelist trying to find her way.It's a feel good movie that's finally on DVD!!!!!!!"
For a Hepburn Fan
C. A. Rider | 05/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a Hepburn fan I really enjoyed this film. Hepburn as usual plays herself, and having read many books about this wonderful actress I realised just how much like herself is Laura Lansing. But then I believe the part was written especially for her."