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Entries in Dragon Seed (2)


Podcast: Katharine with a side of Bette!

In this special edition of the podcast, Nathaniel welcomes two Katharine Hepburn buffs Nick Davis and Anne Marie Kelly to talk about their (shared) first Actress Obsession. Naturally Kate the Great isn't the only diva that finds her way into the conversation. Expect supporting roles or cameos: Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, Tennessee Williams, Deborah Kerr, Spencer Tracy, Audrey Hepburn, George Cukor and more...

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments.

00:00 Intro. Plus Middle School drama: Hilariously "intense" early obsessions
13:00 Types, Genres, and Suddenly Last Summer
17:00 Her autobiography and films she loathed like Dragon Seed
22:00 Chemistry and co-stars
33:00 Revisiting unsatisfying movies -- raise a cocktail to this peculiar cinephile habit
40:00 The Spinster & The Magic Penis
47:00 Bette Davis and why we compare them. Silliness before the sign off.

Further Reading
Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Summertime 
Nick's Hepburn Oscar Profile
A Year With Kate: Pat & Mike
A Year With Kate: Dragon Seed 
A Year With Kate: Christopher Strong
Me: Stories of My Life (Book)
The Making of the African Queen (Book)
Alex Von Tunzelmann & Self Styled Siren (Twitter) 

Kate with a side of Bette


A Year with Kate: Dragon Seed (1944)

Episode 20 of 52 of Anne Marie's chronological look at Katharine Hepburn's career.

In which Katharine Hepburn dons yellow face for the war effort.

Did you celebrate Kate’s birthday on Monday? Early in my Hepburn idolatry, I used to bemoan the fact that I missed sharing her birthday by just two days. This year, however, I was excited. “My birthday is on a Wednesday this year,” I thought gleefully to myself. “I can celebrate both our birthdays with A Year With Kate!” Turns out the joke was on us. Happy Birthday, Kate and Anne Marie. Let’s talk about racism.

When you are a fan of the Studio System Era, you learn to live with certain uncomfortable truths about Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age. Films were overtly racist, sexist, and homophobic in ways that thankfully would never be tolerated now. As a modern viewer, how do you make peace with it? The answer, at least for me, has been to acknowledge (though not forgive) the various forms of bigotry that run rampant through these films. However, my attempt at benevolent righteousness stalls when confronted with Katharine Hepburn in all her yellowface shame and glory in Dragon Seed. This is a movie that is not only overtly racist with its cast of white actors in “Oriental” makeup, but--more dangerously--subtly racist in its attitudes towards both the evil Japanese soldiers and the good Chinese farmers. Dragon Seed is proof that good intentions do not make up for terrible bigotry. 

[More after the jump if you dare...]

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