“I don’t think you’ve ever been properly handled.”
A shady sports promoter (Spencer Tracy) offers to help manage the professional career of a gifted female athlete (Katharine Hepburn) who finds herself strangely flummoxed whenever her professor-fiance (William Ching) watches her compete.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy’s seventh joint film was this jaunty romantic comedy situated within the cinematically unique world of women’s sports. The film’s unusual setting serves as its calling card, as we’re provided with a refreshingly ethnographic look at this milieu, with a handful of real-life female athletic stars (such as Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Alice Marble) appearing onscreen in “competition” with Hepburn. Hepburn was a gifted athlete in her own right, and is 100% believable in her role here; indeed, screenwriters Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon — friends of Hepburn and Tracy — wrote the script with her talents in mind. Meanwhile, her rapport with Tracy (having fun playing a somewhat morally dubious character) is as predictably solid as always, and William Ching is fine in a humorous role as her jinxing beau. The storyline itself, while slight, is drolly witty, and nicely handled by director George Cukor; I’m especially fond of scenes involving Tracy’s hoodish “colleagues”, who are disappointed by his decision to go straight with Hepburn — watch how Hepburn defends “her man” against them…
Note: Hepburn reportedly named this as her favorite film made with Tracy.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Katharine Hepburn as Pat
- Spencer Tracy as Mike
- A fascinating glimpse at ’50s “women’s” sports
- Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon’s Oscar-nominated script
Yes, as a most enjoyable Tracy/Hepburn flick.