“It’s a pity how easily people can be fooled.”
A journalist (Spencer Tracy) intending to write the life story of a recently deceased national hero encounters unexpected resistance from the man’s widow (Katharine Hepburn), who may have something unsavory to hide.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- George Cukor Films
- Katharine Hepburn Films
- Spencer Tracy Films
- Widows and Widowers
Often cited as MGM’s variation on Citizen Kane (1941), this intriguing wartime mystery — scripted by Donald Ogden Stewart, who also wrote The Philadelphia Story (1940) — afforded Hepburn and Tracy an opportunity to radically diverge from the roles they’d played the previous year in Woman of the Year (their first joint film). In this second onscreen collaboration, they don’t play lovers per se (though romantic chemistry certainly lurks as a constant possibility). Instead, all narrative energy is focused on Tracy’s relentless attempts to uncover the truth behind Hepburn’s deceased husband’s legacy; Tracy repeatedly puts his life in danger (this is wartime, after all!), and we’re never quite sure whether Hepburn will emerge as friend or foe.
Atmospheric cinematography and fine performances (by leads and supporting actors alike) make this one worth a look, though it’s only must-see for Hepburn/Tracy completists. Don’t read too much about it online if you’d like to remain surprised by its outcome.
Note: Check out this Wikipedia entry for a detailed overview of the film’s complicated production history and mixed reception.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Katharine Hepburn as Mrs. Forrest
- Spencer Tracy as Steven O’Malley
- Atmospheric cinematography
No, though it’s definitely worth a one-time viewing.