Author Topic: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon  (Read 10025 times)

verbALs

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Re: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2010, 11:19:27 AM »
Great write-up! And really interesting connection between Duvall and Tracy - I'd not thought of it before, but they do have a similar sort of presence and the same sort of wryness in the way they deliver their lines.


I avoided putting in Mad Mad World because he really is just standing there looking bemused during the whole film, but I do love it; slightly better than the remake( that film with Rowan Atkinson, Seth Green is a remake isn't it?)
Yes, Mad World probably doesn't exactly fit, but I'm glad you love it. :) (I haven't seen or heard of a remake?)

Thanks for the comment. Rat Race maybe not a remake but its the same idea.
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Adrienne

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Re: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2010, 04:28:12 PM »
Just watched Adam's Rib again. When are you reviewing it?

Beavermoose

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Re: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2010, 05:16:51 PM »
tracy and hepburn=win

verbALs

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Re: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2010, 08:34:22 AM »
Just watched Adam's Rib again. When are you reviewing it?

Wanted to watch Captain's Courageous first. I have the Tracy-Hepburn box set now so I'll watch these next I'll make Adam's Rib the first of them in the next few days.
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sdedalus

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Re: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2010, 12:54:02 PM »
It's good, but Cabin Boy is better.
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verbALs

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Re: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2010, 06:41:45 AM »
Pat & Mike (1952); directed by George Cukor



PAT AND MIKE [1952 TRAILER]

Spencer Tracy as Mike Conovan

Plot Synopsis-  Sports promoter and all round-sharp operator, Mike Conovan, discovers sporting superwoman, uppercrust Pat Pemberton (Katherine Hepburn, natch) playing great golf until she is put off by her jinx of a fiancee. Pemberton goes on to excel at tennis and other sports. Conovan arranges contests for Pemberton, his boxer Hucko (Aldo Ray) and his horse Little Nell all the while trying to dodge the fiancee, and his ‘business partners’ including Charles Buchinski as gangster no.1.



Mike Conovan: That's all, honey, that's all, say no more. Of course there's always a chance you could be an escaped fruitcake. But if there is something in what... as a matter of fact, if there is anything in what you say, I am going to promote you into the King of the World! Queen, I mean. Let's go.


General comments on the film- There are extensive sporting clips showing Hepburn’s natural sporting talent, which reduce the actual storyline to about a round hour. Since this hour consists of Tracy/Hepburn at their finest, it is a non-stop chucklefest (TM).
Gratifyingly that battle of the sexes formula bubbles in the background as the major conflict, here, is between Hepburn’s Corinthian sporting ethics and Tracy’s fight fixing sharp practices.
It is impressive that, by this time, this duo had starred in a string of films, but there is very little complacency. Instead you get a perfectly paced by-play. Hepburn is at her most consistently relaxed and least frenetic, still very much the superstar uber-frau, with Tracy orbitting her star; scheming and struggling to control his ‘sporting property’.
You don’t doubt the pair’s attraction and chemistry, but it succeeds in wasting no time showing them coming together- that’s a given. It complicates the relationship by having Hepburn doubt Tracy’s motives and affection for her. The film does this by making it seem Tracy is only looking after her to protect his financial interests. All masterfully handled and played.
The stand-out moment occurs in a jail after Pemberton has attacked and disarmed two gangsters (one of them is Buchinski/Bronson). Chuck Connors as the police captain asks them to explain what happened. Hepburn re-enacts the attack. During a wonderful piece of physical comedy reminiscent of the Marx Brothers, Pemberton grabs Buchinski by the ankles and flattens him to get him off of the bewildered looking Tracy, all the while describing the move in her cut-glass accent. In a later scene Tracy tries the same move on the troublesome fiancee and manages only to remove his shoes. By which time I was crying with laughter.



Mike Conovan: I don't think you've ever been properly handled.
Pat Pemberton: That's right... not even by myself.



Comments on Tracy’s Performance- Such a competent actor; starring opposite a friend and long-time co-star might be expected to ‘phone-in’ his performance. He is very relaxed in this role and there is that feeling that within the Hollywood system, the stars were expected to deliver familiar performances to keep people coming back to see what they know and love already. As with Adam’s Rib you sense that the other cast members are expected to carry the comic weight and the surprises in the script. Judy Holliday did this in Adam’s Rib and Aldo Ray, as the boxer/ polooka is first class here. Tracy especially does a lot of reacting to the madcap antics around him and my attention was usually on him. You start to gauge the tone of a scene by what Tracy is thinking; and you know what he is thinking because of his facial expression.
This is the fifth film in my marathon and I am very conscious of repeating previous observations. I have seen Tracy’s repeated mannerisms quite a bit now. However, it isn’t getting tired and it is still great to watch an awesome actor doing what he does best. The natural composure and perfect comic-timing are still evident. I think I would have been one of those lining up to see yet another star vehicle at the time it was released.



Overall impressions- Pat & Mike and Adam’s Rib are a matched pair (actors/director/scriptwriters). Adam’s Rib wins because of Judy Halliday and P&M’s extensive (time-wasting?) sports scenes. Pat & Mike’s best scenes match anything in AR or any of the great Hollywood comedies.
Grade- A-. Hepburn/Tracy. Colossal, pantheon pairing. Levels of wonderful conflict and great support from Ray & Buchinski.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2010, 06:57:52 AM by verbALs »
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

Adrienne

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Re: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2010, 03:04:52 PM »
I'm muchly enjoying these reviews verbALS.

The one little thing I have noticed in the Tracy/Hepburn combo is that she always seems to give a little as the films progress, which somehow disappoints me, seeing how she starts off so spunky...

verbALs

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Re: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2010, 09:20:24 AM »
Perhaps there is the seed of a Hepburn marathon in your thought. Between Bringing up Baby and Pat & Mike there is a definite seasoning in her performances (I wouldn't use the phrase 'change of gear' or 'maturing'). I wonder if you go back further to earlier movies she was even more the irresistible force. Some time soon I'll be watching The Philadelphia Story (seen) and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (unseen) so I'll see where they fit.

I always felt with Hepburn she was doing very little acting, that was just how she was. I used to read a lot of actor-biographies (Mitchum's story is fun) and H seemed to live a parallel real & movie life.
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art; I don't do that so much anymore. - Banksy

Adrienne

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Re: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2010, 10:26:19 AM »
I read Baby I Don't Care a while ago and loved the peek into his life.

But I did come away feeling that, whilst I think he's a stonkingly attractive man and actor, he wasn't a very nice person.

sdedalus

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Re: verbALs Spencer Tracy- the Oscar Years Marathon
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2010, 01:43:48 PM »
Theory is that after she was labelled "box office poison" in the late 30s (after Holiday and Bringing Up Baby) Hepburn consciously went after projects in which her uppitiness was punished by the end of the film.  She would get her feminist message out in the beginning by playing strong, active, intelligent characters, but make it palatable for the audience in the end by demurring to the male protagonist (often Spencer Tracy, of course).  You see this dynamic play it in most of her 40s films, from The Philadelphia Story to The African Queen.
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