Katharine Hepburn, The Lion in Winter

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Katharine Hepburn's Oscar-winning performance in The Lion in Winter (in a tie with Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl) has been slammed by many of her admirers, including Pauline Kael, who concluded her review saying something like, "...It's self-exploitation, and it's horrible."

Although the movie itself won the Best Film award from the New York Film Critics, several critics temporarily (for less than an hour, as I recall reading) resigned over its selection. I'm a little indifferent about the movie, but not about Hepburn, so Ethan Mordden's appreciation of her in his book Medium Cool: The Movies of the 1960s is very welcome.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ethan Mordden

"....[Peter O'Toole's] romping, bellowing, larger-than-death Henry II in The Lion in Winter is one of those rare movie performances that would seem just as big live on stage. On the other hand, when you've got to confront Katharine Hepburn's Eleanor of Aquitaine, it doesn't do to stint yourself. If Spencer Tracy simplified Hepburn's mannered style in their MGM 1940s and 1950s, O'Toole reliberated it; Hepburn's Eleanor is a last look back at her wild youth at RKO, when to be mannered was sport; and who cared what Hollywood thought?"

Ethan Mordden
Medium Cool: The Movies of the 1960s (1990), p. 74