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« Happy New Year! | Main | Interlinker »
Wednesday
Dec312014

A Year with Kate: Epilogue

Epilogue - In which we rank films, learn Life Lessons, climb Mount Hepburn, and wrap this up with the party it deserves!


Happy New Year, everybody! Before 2014 and A Year With Kate officially end, I wanted to give us all a proper send off. If Kate got 9 more years after she retired in 1994, consider this our own ride into the sunset, complete with gifs, gifts, and thank yous.

At the beginning of A Year With Kate, I set some unofficial goals. The most obvious was to watch all 52 films chronologically. In order to do this, I started building a stack of research that I dubbed “Mount Hepburn.” It changed size and content a bit thanks to library deadlines and a lot of late nights on ebay. To the right is a picture of Mount Hepburn at present, having outgrown my table and moved to the floor. It stands just about 3 feet tall. (I actually bought another Katharine Hepburn biography after taking this picture because I do not know how to stop.)

My second goal was to better understand a movie star that I loved. This happened in a way I didn't expect. Week by week, we watched each of Katharine Hepburn’s films add to her star image like pieces in a puzzle. She developed from prickly unformed actress in the 1930s, to glamorous star in the 1940s, to "spinster" and great actress in the 1950s, to living legend in the 1960s. From the 1970s on, Katharine Hepburn the star slowly eclipsed Katharine Hepburn the woman. Watching and writing every week, I discovered that it was that myth of Hepburn that I'd initially fallen in love with, not the person. There's nothing wrong with that. We need myths to look up to. Even after Katharine Hepburn passed away in 2003, her myth lives on. It inspires actresses, audiences, and occasionally a series like this.

As for that Major Life Lesson I was supposed to learn should Hollywood ever decide to buy the movie rights: I actually did learn something life-changing this year. Watching Katharine Hepburn age like good wine over 62 years, I learned about time. Life is short, but life is very large, too. With help and determination, you have the potential to fill your life extraordinary things. You might make mistakes. You might make Spitfire. But think of how much more there still is for you to do. That’s a pretty incredible thing, the depth of a life. I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what else I can do with mine.

Speaking of which, as a thank you to the amazing TFE community, and in answer to those of you who’ve asked: A YEAR WITH KATE IS BECOMING A BOOK!

 

A Year With Kate the book will expand on the series, with full entries on every film, updated Box Office charts, and even some fun trivia and lists. We're kicking around a few different ideas for how best to get A Year With Kate into your hands and onto your e-readers, but know that it will happen in 2015. For now, you can sign up for email updates using this form (Facebook account not required).

Last, but not least, here is my Top 10 List. Please note that this is a carefully thought through list based on months of research and personal bias. I tried to take into consideration career placement, iconic status, acting skill, and just plain fun. Post your list in the comments below!

Anne Marie’s Top 10 Katharine Hepburn Movies

1. Long Day’s Journey Into Night

2. The Philadelphia Story

3. The Lion in Winter

4. Bringing Up Baby

5. Suddenly, Last Summer

6. Woman of the Year

7. Little Women

8. Holiday

9. Alice Adams

10. Morning Glory & Stage Door

Thank all of you lovely readers for watching the movies when you could, commenting even when you couldn’t, and providing insight, humor, and conversation every week. You made 2014 a truly life-changing year. Here’s to 2015, and the possibilities ahead.

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Reader Comments (29)

...and thank YOU, Anne Marie, for always writing so thoughtfully and wittily for the entire year of this series! It has truly been a pleasure to read.

Apparently I really need to watch Long Day's Journey Into Night. Given my obsession with the process of adapting stage works to the screen, I can't believe I haven't seen it yet, but it's just that O'Neill is SO. HEAVY. that it keeps getting pushed down my list. Otherwise I still see Lion In Winter as her finest performance, followed by Bringing Up Baby and Philadelphia Story. "Glamorous Movie Star" Kate is my favorite iteration of her various personas.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

It's such a joy to talk about the thinks you love with people who love the same things!

Many thanks Anne Marie and have a very Happy New Year!

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradelutza

Excellent news to hear about the book. It'll be incredible, I'm sure.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

denny - You're right. A Long Day's Journey into Night is the heaviest of the heavy O'Neills. It tops my list because it is so unlike anything else Katharine Hepburn put to film. Blew me away and challenged everything I thought I knew about Hepburn's acting. Just... queue up something happy for when you finish it.

Glenn & adelutza - Thank you! Happy New Year!

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

I loved this series for its information, analysis, humor and consistencey, even though I was able to watch very few of the films along the way. A book seems like a great resource for when I finally get around to seeing that Moth Dress in action for will first time.

Congratulations, Anne Marie. What a great success!

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Thank you so much. I loved this series and look forward to the book and any further insight you bring. I thought you had the perfect touch to make the films interesting without pandering or getting so intellectual that it became a chore. Whomever follows with the next retrospective has a lot to live up too.

And thank you most for always finding something nice to say about each film even when that was a struggle.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

A Yeatr with Kate book?! I will buy it!

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStina

Marvelous! I was also kind of expecting an entry on The Aviator and how her treatment on that movie conforms to the reality of her filmography.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

Congratulations on a successful (and enjoyable) project!

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

What an incredible project. You inspired me to visit Katharine Hepburn's final resting place in Hartford, Connecticut. I hope that doesn't sound too morbid, but I thought of your incredible work while I visited. Thanks for the terrific tribute.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

Pedro - That's a fantastic idea that I'd love to touch on in the future (possibly in the book). We were hemmed in by the one post/one movie format of AYWK, but there are many fictional Hepburns I'd love to poke at a bit and discuss, most prominently Cate as Kate, a performance I love in a movie I'm ambivalent about.

Patryk - Wow. That's really touching. Thank you! Someday I hope I can pay my respects as well.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

huge round of applause and may i say that "Mount Hepburn" looks so tidy! I can't imagine what a mess i'd make of such a research pile.

December 31, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Thank you so very much for your work on this! And Congratulations on the book! I'll be getting a copy too!

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Don't you all think that the Mourning Becomes Electra cycle is even heavier than Long Day's Journey (and not nearly as masterful)?

Thanks again, Anne Marie, for a great ride! I'm a Bette Davis freak, but Kate is the Boss. Can't wait to see the book.

My Top 10:
Holiday
The Philadelphia Story
Long Day's Journey Into Night
Bringing Up Baby
Woman of the Year
The Glass Menagerie
Love Among the Ruins
Suddenly, Last Summer
The Lion in Winter
Adam's Rib

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Thank you so much for all of the work you put into this fine series on the great Katharine Hepburn. I found your articles very insightful when it came to examining a woman who was part actress and also part "Hepburn persona" or myth.
Sarah Bernhardt (a redhead) was the icon of stage actresses, and Hepburn remains the red headed icon of the screen.
Kate Hepburn is an icon who will continue to inspire all women who are lucky enough to have seen her films. Good luck with your book.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Anne Marie, what's your feeling on Catherine O'Hara's take on Kate in The Man Who Would Be King Who Would Be Pope Who Would Be Both King and Pope? An SCTV classic. Congratulations on all your success!

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Anne Marie,
It's been a wonderful series and that's great about the book. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. I was hoping to see how you'd rate all 52 to see where some of the more variable titles would land, perhaps in the book! I was a bit surprised to see Long Day's Journey Into Night at the top, I expected it to be either Philadelphia Story or Lion in Winter, until your explanation to Denny. It is a revelatory performance.

I did my take on all 52, intermingling the TV films with the theatrical. I'm sure this wouldn't be everybody's ranking since I placed them on my enjoyment level of the films.

One question though Anne Marie, which of her films would you rank as the worst? I think I know but I was wrong about number one!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!!

Great:
1. Holiday
2. The Lion in Winter
3. The Corn is Green
4. Bringing Up Baby
5. Desk Set
6. Stage Door
7. Suddenly Last Summer
8. Long Day's Journey Into Night

Very Good:
9. State of the Union
10. Adam's Rib
11. The Philadelphia Story
12. Summertime
13. Love Among the Ruins
14. Woman of the Year
15. Little Women
16. The Glass Menagerie

Good:
17. Alice Adams
18. Rooster Cogburn
19. Without Love
20. The Rainmaker
21. A Woman Rebels
22. Stage Door Canteen
23. The African Queen
24. A Bill of Divorcement
25. Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry
26. On Golden Pond
27. This Can't Be Love

Middling:
28. Undercurrent
29. Pat and Mike
30. Song of Love
31. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
32. Morning Glory
33. A Delicate Balance
34. The Sea of Grass
35. Keeper of the Flame
36. Break of Hearts
37. One Christmas
38. Christopher Strong
39. Laura Lansing Slept Here
40. The Man Upstairs
41. Quality Street-Saved from being truly bad by the supporting cast

Bad:
42. Mary of Scotland
43. The Little Minister
44. Sylvia Scarlett
45. Love Affair
46. Olly, Olly, Oxen Free
47. The Madwoman of Chaillot
48. The Trojan Women

The Worst:
49. Dragon Seed
50. The Iron Petticoat
51. Spitfire

Unseen:
Grace Quigley

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

brookesboy - I'd never heard of Catherine O'Hara's spoof! I just watched it for the first time. Oh my goodness! The whole sketch is great, but is she sucking on helium? Doesn't make much sense for later career Kate, though she nailed the mannerisms. It actually reminds me of the high-pitched Kate caricature in the cartoon "Mother Goose Goes To Hollywood," which is wonderful until it gets really, really racist. "I'm Little Bo Peep. I've lost my sheep. Reahlly I have."

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

joel6 - I was wondering where you were! That is a heck of a list, bravo. I won't give you the full 52, because I want to save it for later, but I will give you my Worst 3 Films list as a gift between friends:

50. Grace Quigley
51. The Iron Petticoat
52. Dragon Seed

That's right. Three films beat Spitfire to the bottom. It was a tight race, though.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

Anne Marie-I was mistaken again! But I was sure that the wretched Iron Petticoat and the horrid Dragon Seed would be hanging around the lower rungs.

Spitfire is the worst for me I guess because while in Dragon Seed everyone is making a fool of themselves in Spitfire Kate sinks the movie almost single-handedly, though the script is of no help to her at all. I cringe thinking of her trying to make lines like "I better rustle up some vittles." sound believable while her natural accent creeps in.

Yikes! Grace Quigley ranked so low, not surprising, and that's all I have left to see. That doesn't inspire me to search too diligently for it.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

it was the longest "how i became a lesbian" essay i ever read, but that doesn't mean i didn't enjoy it! congrats on the book

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Just wanted to say that of the many additions to the TFE family over the past few years, Anne Marie is by far the one whose contributions I look forward the most! I love her writing, her insights and her sweet humor! This was a massive project to undertake, and she carried through wonderfully. The Kate Hepburn podcast with Nat and Nick was also my favorite of the year. Congratulations on the book, I will definitely support it once it comes out, and hopefully 2015 will be another great year for the TFE and for Anne Marie especially.

December 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

No wonder that Joel came to view A Year With Kate as his personal property when he can expect tokens of love that include "I was wondering where you were! That is a heck of a list, bravo." and "a gift between friends". Don't forget to dedicate the book to him.

In conclusion, I seriously wonder why you didn't make your collaboration official by letting Joel write half of the series. That certainly would have been better than enduring his lengthy and redundant "contributions" and your public love letter.

As a side note, Kate's filmography may be not nearly as strong as I once thought it is, but I just cannot believe that it is so bad that one has to include Morning Glory in a Top 10 list.

January 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

Anne Marie, Many congratulations on the completion of your year-long series. I've learned loads about Ms Hepburn and her films. And that's great news about the book!

January 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Anne Marie - absolutely loved this series! always looked forward to it every Wed. such an amazing project that you should definitely be proud of! and so excited for the book! cheers!

January 1, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterabstew

Thank you Anne Marie for a wonderful year.

I grew up in a time when movies were ONLY a shared communal experience; where the sharp intake of breath or scream or laughter was universally shared in the audience.

Though I am not of an age that is altogether accustomed to social media, I have enjoyed this site, your column and ALL of the comments as a way to re-create that environment.

You have been limited to fewer words than were required on my high school book reports, so I have read all of the comments, the passions, corrections and the wit as a sort of class discussion. After a year, you and some of us do know each other well.........or too well, even though we have screen names and are miles away from each other and scattered between coasts.
I look forward to the book........a good question .......will comments be included? I must admit on the site, I don't read every blog but Nathaniel's comments du jour will bring me to a post not previously read.

Best Wishes and Happy New Year to all of you and particularly to you .......Anne Marie

January 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie19

Thx Anne Marie for this wonderful series!! A Year w Kate sounds like a great book!!

Am a bit sad that Summertime is nowhere to be found in yo top 11 (declaring a tie to sneak in one more pic?? sneaky!! lol).

And metink Adam's Rib is a much betta Tracy-Hepburn collab than Woman o the Year

Here's my top 10 fav Kate's movies:
1) The Philadelphia Story
2) Alice Adams
3) The Lion in Winter
4) Suddenly, Last Summer
5) Summertime
6) Long Day's Journey into Night
7) Holiday
8) Little Women
9) Adam's Rib
10) Stage Door

Looking fwd to yo book =)
Hapi New Yr!!!

January 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

I think my Top 5 are the five movies in a row that redeemed a lot of the earlier dreck:

Stage Door
Holiday
Bringing Up Baby
The Philadelphia Story
Woman of the Year

The rest of the Top 10 would be the highlights of the later years:

The Glass Menagerie
Love Among The Ruins
Summertime
The African Queen

and a special mention to Long Day's Journey which I've never seen but based on Anne Marie's terrific taste, would no doubt make my Top 10.

January 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

par - When I read your comment I laughed so hard that I almost spilled my organic tea on my Tegan & Sara sweatshirt. Glad you enjoyed the series!

Dave & Claran - Great, great lists!

Leslie19 - I would love to incorporate the comments in some way, but I don't know how exactly that would work yet. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated!

Carmen Sandiego et all - Thank you so much. I love writing for TFE because of you (and Nathaniel). See you all in a month!

January 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

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