8.3/10
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12 user 1 critic

Katharine Hepburn: All About Me (1993)

Katharine Hepburn talks about her life from the start, through all her film years, her relationship with Spencer Tracy, and what she does with her time currently.

Director:

David Heeley
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Katharine Hepburn ... Herself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dorothy Arzner ... Herself (archive footage)
Lauren Bacall ... Herself (archive footage)
John Beal ... Himself (archive footage)
Pandro S. Berman ... Himself (archive footage)
Humphrey Bogart ... Himself (archive footage)
George Cukor ... Himself (archive footage)
John Ford ... Himself (archive footage)
Cary Grant ... Himself (archive footage)
Leland Hayward Leland Hayward ... Himself (archive footage)
Howard Hughes ... Himself (archive footage)
John Huston ... Himself (archive footage)
Natalie Paley Natalie Paley ... Herself (archive footage)
Barry Pinto Barry Pinto ... Birthday Party Guest
Steven Pinto Steven Pinto ... Birthday Party Guest
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Storyline

Katharine Hepburn talks about her life from the start, through all her film years, her relationship with Spencer Tracy, and what she does with her time currently.

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 January 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hepburn: Todo sobre mí See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Featured on the 2-disc Special Edition DVD of The Philadelphia Story (1940). See more »

Quotes

Katharine Hepburn: I'm not afraid of death. Must be nice, like a long sleep.
See more »

Connections

Features Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Her star dips with this gloss-over of her past
17 January 2016 | by SimonJackSee all my reviews

There's no doubt that Katherine Hepburn was a great actress – among the very best of the first century of the silver screen. Some people tend to idolize her. But, with her background, Kate Hepburn was no different than many of us. She was well into her career before she showed her human side and some humility. She demanded huge, unheard of salaries for her earliest films, and was called Katherine of Arrogance. She had a series of movie flops in the late 1930s that led to her being called "box office poison." Of her record four Oscars for best actress, three were earned for roles played in her senior years, at ages 61, 62 and 75.

During an affair with Howard Hughes in the late 1930s, Hepburn returned to Hollywood to try to salvage her career. She starred in a play written specifically for her by Phillip Barry. "The Philadelphia Story was a huge success, and Hughes bought the movie rights to the play as a gift for Hepburn. It was to be her salvation and return to stardom in 1941 (the movie came out after Christmas of 1940). Later that year, she co-starred with Spencer Tracy in the first of their nine films together and began a 26-year affair with the married actor that ended with his death in 1967.

So, when Turner Pictures made this TV film about Katherine Hepburn, with the star as the narrator and storyteller, one could hope that she would be open and forthright about her past. After all, it was 1992 (it aired January 18, 1993), and Hepburn was now 85 years old. She gave a little background on her family and her "progressive" parents. Her mother was a friend of Margaret Sanger and campaigned for women's rights and birth control. She told about finding her older brother, Tom's body after he committed suicide by hanging when he was 15 and she 14.

But, unfortunately, Hepburn was silent about or danced around the sordid things about her life. So, the character gloss-over continued, and this documentary became mostly a catalog of her movies with vignettes about the various people with whom she worked. She talked about her husband of five years (1928-1934), Ludlow Ogden Smith, and their lasting friendship. She talked about her relationship to Hughes as a friendship, period. She discussed her long relationship with Spencer Tracy as the love of her life. But she never referred to it as an affair or adultery. She mentioned once that he was married. Tracy fell dead of a heart attack in their kitchen, and she said simply that she didn't attend his funeral because of the family.

Indeed, the Tracy-Hepburn affair was probably the biggest Hollywood cover-up and secret. Understandably, MGM and the other studios were worried that a scandal of that nature would hurt their box offices big time. I don't know if any of the Hollywood gossip sources ever said anything about it, or were part of the silence. But, things like that can't be kept secret for long. I recall in the mid-1950s when my mother told me about the Tracy-Hepburn affair. So, halfway into their nearly 26-year affair, the public knew about it and Hollywood's attempt to keep it quiet. So much for the integrity of Hollywood, I then thought, in my teens.

Hepburn lived to be 96 and died July 29, 2003. Earlier that month, her biography, "Kate Remembered" came out. The author was A. Scott Berg, her friend of 20 years. In the book, Hepburn recalls much more about her relationship with Howard Hughes. They swam together naked in Long Island Sound. Berg said it was "the lustiest relationship of her life." Hughes wanted to marry her, but she told Berg that she thought it would interrupt her road to stardom. She said, "I was thinking all about me, me, me."

On the making of "The Philadelphia Story," in this documentary Hepburn says that she wanted Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable as her co-stars. She got Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, and that was OK. But she didn't say anything about the star billing for the film. It was her film, her comeback vehicle, and she took second billing to Cary Grant. But, she didn't say why. Well, on the movie DVD I have, film historian Jeanine Basinger does the voice-over for the background version. Basinger says, that in order for MGM to get Cary Grant for the film, he had to have three things. MGM agreed, and Hepburn agreed. The three things were: (1) Grant would get first billing over Hepburn, (2) his salary would be $100,000 (a huge some for a movie in 1940), and (3) Grant's salary would be donated to the British War Relief. This was the only film they were in together in which Grant got first billing ahead of Hepburn.

Since she was following a string of movie flops, and Cary Grant was a top box office draw, and considering the negative publicity that might result for not supporting the British War Relief, one can see why Hepburn would give in on her usual demand that she have first billing for a film. It's too bad after so many years later – at age 85 in this documentary, that Hepburn couldn't comment on that event for its positive aspects.

An interview and biographical documentary film doesn't have the usual things of a movie on which to judge it (plot, editing, acting, etc.). So, one has only the substance of the background and openness of the subject in telling of her or his past. Katherine Hepburn wouldn't speak openly and frankly about some of her tarnished past. Had she done so, she could have brightened the luster of her idol. So, I give this film five stars.


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