Sunday, December 23, 2007

Random Film Thought: Spencer & Tracy and my Old Person whining

Today I was lucky enough to stumble onto a TCM airing of George Cukor's Pat and Mike, I decided to stick around and watch as I'm a fan of Adam's Rib which features the same stars, writers and director. Those stars in question are of course Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, a classy celebrity coupling that, to my estimation, outdoes any combination of Bennifers, Brangelinas and Filliam H. Muffmans (sigh, I miss you Stephen Colbert). Though both actors did sterling work individually, together they possess a chemistry the likes of which is almost impossible to find on-screen.

What helps is that Hepburn though very attractive is not a conventional beauty and that Tracy is about seven years her senior. This prevents them from looking too perfect and unattainable in their coupling. You could believe that Tracy won over Hepburn with his charm, decency and gruff exterior, while Hepburn, well...there was simply no actress in Hollywood, in the world really, like Hepburn. Bryn Mawr educated, athletic, with a blistering wit and razor sharp timing, Hepburn had no equal. Well served in both comedy and drama, to my mind the couple was never better than when they were in romantic comedies where affection pours between the seams of every scene. Even when their characters bicker they're just so damn sweet. Tracy might throw Hepburn a look or Hepburn might crinkle her nose at a particular remark and it's glorious, even in my cropped TV version they're practically glowing at each other.

The reason I bring this up is because I was chatting with some folks at a Christmas party the other night and the issue of romance in relationships came up. At some point I maintained that while you have to put some effort in romance never completely fades away and there's nothing wrong when occasionally manufacturing some when it's needed. Maybe I'm just a hopeless optimist and romantic but I think watching any Hepburn and Tracy pairing more than proves my point even if it is only a movie.

Do you have any onscreen pairings that you thought transcended the story and really made you believe they were in love? Jon Cusack and Ione Skye in Say Anything? Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge!? Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally (thanks for the reminder Scott)? Put 'em in the comments. Oh please, please do, I'll be your best friend.


Rose said...

It's all about Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. I mean, I know they were actually in love, so it's kind of cheating, but they were so damn wonderful in all four films they did together. And you'll never beat the chemistry in "To Have and Have Not." To my mind, that beats even Tracy and Hepburn.

El Gigante said...

Pretty solid choice Rosie, though in part is requires getting over the signifcant age break between the couple. I mean she was UBER young in that film, but you're absolutely right the two of them are scorching.