THE PHILADELPHIA STORY Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Best Actor Academy Award winner James Stewart star in the tale of a faultfinding, bride-to-be socialite who gets her come-uppance. George Cukor directs this screen p... more »innacle of sophisticated romantic comedy. BRINGING UP BABY When scatterbrained heiress Katharine Hepburn meets mild-mannered museum curator Cary Grant, the results are riotous. Howard Hawks directs a giddy romp thats been hailed as the most glorious laughter-inducing movie ever! ADAMS RIB Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn play a married prosecutor and defense attorney assigned to the same sensational attempted-murder trial in this clever courtroom battle of the sexes. Judy Holliday co-stars and George Cukor directs. WOMAN OF THE YEAR Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn show what chemistry is all about as George Stevens directs this witty Oscar winner about the bumpy romance of a meat-and-potatoes sportswriter and a world-renowned political pundit.« less
"This is one of 27 sets of four movie packs that Warner Home Video plans to release in the next few years. Their purpose is to introduce classic film to people previously unaware of these films via very affordable bare bones versions of these movies. This set has four very good films, all featuring Katharine Hepburn. Woman of the Year (1941) - The film that introduced Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and sparked a long relationship both on and offscreen. Here Hepburn plays an early feminist who goes around collecting causes. Spencer Tracy is the sportswriter that loves her. They marry, but things go downhill quickly since Kate is really already married to her causes.
Adam's Rib (1951) - Ten years have passed and Hepburn and Tracy have aged a bit, but the spark and the chemistry is still there. This time the pair are married lawyers. He is a prosecutor and she a defense attorney. Problems arise when Hepburn defends a woman who shot her husband when she caught him cheating on her and Tracy is the prosecuting attorney in the same case.
Bringing Up Baby (1938) - One of the original screwball comedies. Stars Cary Grant as an anthropologist who gets mixed up with a very dizzy young woman played by Hepburn. The plot involves a tame leopard - Baby - and a dinosaur bone buried by a dog - the exact whereabouts are unknown.
The Philadelphia Story (1940) - Reteams Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant as a divorced pair of socialites. Hepburn's character is about to marry a man of the people who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, and also happens to be one of the most annoying people who has ever lived. James Stewart oddly won a Best Actor award for what is essentially a supporting role. It is especially odd when you think about all of the other great performances in which he was the undisputed lead and he wasn't even nominated.
The only drawback to this set is that - if you want all the extras - you might want to consider Classic Comedies Collection (Bringing Up Baby / The Philadelphia Story Two-Disc Special Edition / Dinner at Eight / Libeled Lady / Stage Door / To Be or Not to Be) in the case of Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story. Hepburn and Tracy fans might want to consider The Hepburn & Tracy Signature Collection (Woman of the Year / Pat and Mike / Adam's Rib / The Spencer Tracy Legacy). However, both of these sets are considerably more expensive than this basic four-pack, and low cost is really the point of this set in the first place."
Delightful movies, HORRIBLE LABELING
Craig Hartley | Houston, TX USA | 01/30/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, these delightful romantic comedies from yesteryear are a bargain. That said, I've got to be one of those jerks that nitpick, because there is a real problem.
The only labels on the DVDs are the microscopic writing around the spindle hole. I've got to use a powerful light and a magnifier to see which movie is which on these two disks. "
Four Kate the Great Classics Show Off Her Nimble Comic Talen
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 03/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"TCM (Turner Classic Movies) could not have chosen four better examples of classic golden-era romantic comedies, and it's no coincidence that Katharine Hepburn stars in all four. At the same time, it makes you wonder why they simply didn't call this DVD set the Katharine Hepburn Romantic Comedy Collection. After all, there's an equally reasonable case to include classics from the likes of Carole Lombard, Irene Dunne or Rosalind Russell. To allow for the bargain price offered, the four films are presented on two double-sided discs. The print conditions are gratefully clean for the most part.
Director Howard Hawks, a master of this genre as well as many others, guided 1938's Bringing Up Baby (*****) and catches Hepburn and Cary Grant at their zenith in buoyant comic energy and youthful vigor. Amazingly, this wacky 1938 screwball classic was her first real foray into farcical comedy, and she makes her exasperating character Susan Vance the definitive madcap heiress. Cross-pollinating the pratfall wackiness of Lucille Ball with the Fifth Avenue glamour of Carole Lombard, Hepburn filters it all through her braying, haughty New England manner. Grant is her perfect match as David Huxley, the befuddled, bespectacled paleontologist, who aptly describes his inadvertent relationship with Susan as "a series of misadventures from beginning to end". Together, they keep up with the breathless pace Hawks sets with a hair-brained plot involving an elusive research grant, a pet leopard that can only be soothed by one song ("I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby"), a mischievous dog with a yen for a missing intercostal clavicle (i.e., a dinosaur bone) and a gallery of comic character actors who make the mistake of trying to make sense of all the shenanigans. The veteran supporting cast is incomparably stellar, in particular, May Robson as no-nonsense Aunt Elizabeth, Charlie Ruggles as the likeably pompous Major Horace Applegate and Walter Catlett as the perennially confused Constable Slocum. With the crack timing of the comedy, the movie is filled with wonderful sight gags, and the sharp script (written by Dudley Nichols and Hagar Wilde) has an abundance of clever lines and witty asides. Director Peter Bogdanovich, who paid tribute to this film with his partial remake, What's Up, Doc?, provides insightful commentary on an alternate track.
Hepburn was born to play imperious Main Line socialite Tracy Lord in 1940's The Philadelphia Story (*****). On the eve of her second marriage, Tracy is surrounded by three men who lay claim to her. With whom she ends up is no surprise, but the journey there contains all the biting wit and human insight that one could hope for in what is essentially a drawing room comedy. As Tracy's ex-husband, the pretentiously named C.K. Dexter Haven, Grant plays the most grounded character in the story, a romantic in cynic's clothing, watching others get caught in the fear of commitment and a gauzy haze of indecision. As the third point, a young and refreshingly cynical James Stewart portrays Macauley "Mike" Connor, a tabloid reporter covering Tracy's nuptials. Connor turns out to be a talented author, which Tracy finds immediately attractive. What is so refreshing about this triangle is that it never reduces itself to some heroic duel to win the damsel. In fact, both men have understandable reservations about Tracy's high-and-mighty stance and her inability to tolerate others' weaknesses. Further complications ensue with Mike's unspoken relationship with Liz Imbrie, his smart-mouthed photographer sidekick who of course, pines for him. As you can imagine, it all ties up beautifully, and all these complications come through with a great deal of humanity thanks to the wonderful, sometimes surprisingly edgy dialogue in Philip Barry's original play and Donald Ogden Stewart's screen adaptation. It is fair to say that the rest of the cast is fine but overshadowed by the three superb and fully embodied leads. A major portion of the credit for this first-class production needs to go to estimable filmmaker George Cukor, who is completely in his element here guiding his players to their peak. There is an informative albeit rather enthusiastic commentary by film historian and critic Jeannine Basinger.
Having already established the headstrong aspect of her screen persona, Hepburn added a worldly intellect and beguiling sexual ardor in her portrayal of multilingual political journalist Tess Harding in 1942's Woman of the Year (****) directed by George Stevens. In her first teaming with lifelong off-screen partner Spencer Tracy, she sets off palpable sparks with the normally taciturn actor, who plays sportswriter Sam Craig working at the same newspaper. Written by Ring Lardner Jr. and Michael Kanin, the plot is about the characters' whirlwind courtship from an immediate sexual attraction to an impulsive marriage, all the while struggling with each other's priorities. Needless to say, given that it's a product of its era, it becomes a matter of time before Tess bends to Sam's will but not until some intriguing observations are made about sex roles in a basically fractious relationship. However, rather than the comic fireworks generated by their later collaborations, this film treads in unexpectedly sentimental melodrama, especially in the episodes where Tess has to let go of a Greek orphan she wants to adopt and in the climactic scene when she tearfully recognizes her wifely responsibilities as her aunt Ellen marries her father. Still, the pair's familiar bantering occurs when Sam explains the rules of baseball to Tess and in the final feminist reversal as she fails miserably in her attempt at domesticity. Intriguingly, for a Tracy-Hepburn vehicle, it feels much more like her movie than his, and consequently their rapport is not quite up to their normal standard here.
Seven years into their screen partnership, Tracy and Hepburn made what is arguably their best effort together, 1949's Adam's Rib (*****), the sixth of nine movies they made together. The zingy repartee and old-shoe comfort in their relationship are in full bloom here as directed by Cukor. Written by the legendary husband and wife writing team of Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon, the plot focuses on a headline-grabbing court case involving Doris Attinger, a dim-witted wife who shoots her philandering husband Warren just as he is caught with his blowsy mistress Beryl Caighn. Representing the wounded husband is Assistant DA Adam Bonner who is looking for a quick conviction of the wife. However, his proto-feminist attorney wife Amanda sees the alleged crime as an act of justifiable defiance and decides to defend the wife. This potentially tense set-up leads to a trial where Amanda sets out to prove that a double standard exists for women and that Doris was merely defending her family and home. Adam, however, believes that the law is the law no matter the gender of those involved and that a murder was indeed attempted. Consequently, the story is not so much about Adam's inherent sexism as it is about Amanda's single-minded determination to prove her point even as the case degrades into a media sideshow. Hepburn plays such a convincing litigator that her case actually sounds persuasive at times, and Tracy brings his unique combination of sympathy and combustible bluster to a man who respects his wife deeply but becomes increasingly disillusioned with her unlawful stance. As Doris, Judy Holliday delivers in her first significant screen role, bringing a deeper pathos to the scorned wife than you would expect. Tom Ewell plays Warren for the smarmy, sexist cheater that he is, while Jean Hagen expertly plays Beryl as a media-hungry floozy. As the Bonners' next door neighbor Kip, David Wayne acts rather fey for someone who supposedly wants to run away with Amanda, but I suppose the approach was intentional to ensure nothing would really threaten the Bonner marriage except the case. However dated some of the sexual politics feel, the film is still one of the most smartly played of romantic comedies."
Great Movies for a Great Price
Debra T. Starling | NC | 02/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this set of movies at wal-mart. (Sorry Amazon!!)This is a WONDERFUL set of classic romantic comedies at a GREAT price! I have always wanted BRINGING UP BABY but have found that it is rather expensive by itself. It's a hilarious comedy with Katherine Hepburn & Cary Grant. Grant is a palentologist waiting on the last bone to complete a dinosaur exhibit. Hepburn is a socialite who "runs into" Grant on the golf course, who just happens to have a leopard named "Baby". Needless to say, Grant & Hepburn stumble through crazy shenanigans to fall hopelessly in love. The other movies are just as good or better. Jimmy Stewart & once again, Cary Grant come to review the social highlight of the year. The marriage of Hepburn to one of society's finest, most eligible bachelors. Grant, happened to be Hepburn's first husband, reviewing the marriage in the society pages, along with Stewart. Well the reviews lead to a rekindling of an old flame. Needless to say, Grant has to write his "own" review. Loaded with LOTS of laughs!!ADAM'S RIB is Hepburn & Tracy at their finest as huband & wife lawyers. Hepburn comes to represent a woman who shot her philandering husband caught in the act. Tracy is the District Attorney who she has to defend her client against. Tracy & Hepburn's "magic" is evident in this funny, romantic comedy.WOMAN OF THE YEAR is Hepburn & Tracy's first movie together. The screen sizzles as Hepburn a political pundit, battles Tracy a sports writer. Fortunately, all the sparks that fly kindle a romance. This is a great way to introduce yourself or your teenagers to "classic movies"!!! I love this set at such a wonderful price! You can't go wrong with this set."
Fairly satisfied with TCM's classic collections
Rockland Mosby | 02/15/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Amazon's prices for these classic collections is very reasonable, and the product delivers what it claims. Good quality classic film collections. The four movies in the collection we purchased were contained on 2 double-sided DVDs. My only compliant is that the DVDs are not well labeled, although as the DVDs are double-sided, there's really no way to put a 'stick-on' label on them. The titles of the movies on each side are noted in VERY small letters close to the spindle hole of the DVD."