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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Woman Of The Year [1942]
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on 11 June 2017
If you've read my review of Katherine Hepburn's biography, you'll know I don't rate Spencer Tracy much as a human being. He was a moral and physical coward and an abusive drunk. However, even I can't deny that he was a great screen actor, and here both he and Hepburn deliver what I regard as their finest hour. He plays Sam Craig, a down-to-Earth sports reporter (a bit like Bulldog in "Frasier") while Hepburn is Tess Harding, a sort of Eleanor Roosevelt who speaks every language, knows everyone important and moves in the most exalted circles as a matter of routine. They meet and, despite their differences, quickly fall in love. However, as Montherlant said, "Happiness Writes White", and the real story unfolds as they struggle to maintain their love in the face of their manifest and growing differences.
The script, by Ring Lardner Jr., is a case-study in how to write beautiful, witty and truthful prose. The wit is so deft and fluent that it's easy to miss. For instance, at one point, Sam and Tess are being driven somewhere in a taxi. In the back seat they declare their love for each other, each engulfed in the rapture of the moment. Then the taxi stops, and the driver says "This is it". Sam replies "It sure is". Another time, when Sam meets Tess's father for the first time, he nervously says "I've been dreading this moment for days". Her father replies "I've been dreading it for years".
I've never regarded Hepburn as a particular beauty, having always thought her, like Leni Riefenstahl, as more striking than lovely. However, here she is both striking and beautiful, with the camera capturing her fox-like, angular face at its perfect best. The chemistry between Tracy and Hepburn is almost tangible, and it comes as no surprise to find that this is the film in which they first met and then fell in love (like Bogart and Bacall in "To Have and Have Not"). For some reason, this film is probably the least known and regarded of the nine films they made together over the years, and it beats me as to why this should be the case, as it's one of the finest films I've ever seen. If you haven't seen it, or have been put off doing so by indifferent reviews elsewhere, trust me and watch it - it's wonderful.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 April 2012
This delight from director George Stevens was the first Tracy/Hepburn collaboration and as we all know by now, they fell in love.

That the film doesn't always portray them as a loving couple is down to their superb acting - they had to act as though they hated each other at times.

Back at the time, during WW2 (film was released in 1942) and with women having more and more general employment, due to the men having been conscripted, many could see possibly a situation where the woman wore the trousers, to coin an outdated expression. We have Ms Hepburn, running here and there - the film starts with press releases telling us that she is interviewing Winston Churchill - she is a very important and much in demand person.

Similar in a way to their later 'Adam's Rib', we have in the other corner, an everyday bloke, set in his ways and here he is someone who has a very male-dominated profession - that of a sports correspondent. Naturally, Tess (Hepburn) who's extremely intelligent and inquisitive, wants to know the ins and outs of baseball. She tries to enter and understand his world.

Naturally, this all causes slight havoc. She's always got her personal assistant hanging round her. She never knows which senior politician is going to phone her up - or when. Then, she is voted "Woman Of the Year". Her fiance, Sam (Tracy) should be delighted. But isn't. The dreams he had of a normal, happy marriage slips further away from him....

The narrative flow IS a bit lumpy - there are scenes - the final kitchen scene is in real-time and we just let it unfold naturally - but that's what life - and love - is often about. I rather like the way it is broken up by changing tempos and situations, being more natural and as a result, the pair seem very real to us.

Some fans of the two actors believe that this is their best pairing, others think Adam's Rib is. I'm going to go for the second, myself, as it is slightly cleverer and the story is a touch stronger. Never-the-less, this is still extraordinarily good film-making and a fine movie.

I watched the DVD as part of the Tracy/Hepburn 4 disc boxset.
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on 19 August 2015
Well, I was really surprised by seeing the reviews from the UK costumers. Trust the ones from the US I guess. At least in my opinion!! I LOVE this movie!! It's so, so much fun!! It was my first movie with both Tracy and Hepburn, and I laughed so much! And such a charming romantic comedy. The chemistry between ST and KH is really the greatest always, but I really think it's at its best in here. And also, you won't find romantic interactions between the two like in this movie in any of the others. This is where truly their chemistry goes va-va-woom, and made them king and queen of the MGM lot. Incredibly great actors, who could also do comedy. Along with this movie, my favorites of the couple are Adam's Rib and Guess who Coming to Dinner. Oh and this movie was directed by George Stevens, one of my favorites - talented director for comedies before the war. Great dramas after, like Shane, A Place in the Sun, Giant and The Diary of Anne Frank. But great talent for comedies as well!
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on 22 August 2011
Have to say I was very dissapointed in this particular flick. I love the films of these two, the scripts, humour, pathos and of course that chemistry. Unfortunately there wasn't really any of that here. There was something missing, whether it was the script or editing, it just didn't sparkle and the pace of the film didn't really flow.
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on 12 November 2009
This is the first of the nine movies Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn made together. The on-screen romance was carried over into their private lives that lasted 25 years. New York Times in its obituary column wrote "Her life and career were dominated by her love affair with Spencer Tracy, which created one of the great romantic legends and brilliant movie pairings of their day." Katharine Hepburn's independent life and strong-willed movie characters made her a role model for generations of young women for more than 60 years. Hepburn and Tracy became one of Hollywood's most recognizable couples. Hepburn had an agile mind and distinctive New England accent, which was complemented by Tracy's machismo

Woman of the year is a light hearted romantic comedy, which examines the lives of professional couples and how it affects their private lives. As you can guess there is certain amount of drama in the midst of a love story. The beautiful, brilliant and independent journalist Tess Harding (Katharine Hepburn) and the macho sportswriter Sam Craig (Spencer Tracy) clash over whether athletic events should be suspended for the duration of the war. She insists that sports column be abolished during war, but Sam believes that it is essential for morale. The editor brings them together to make peace but the pair when they see each other for the first time, they fall in love! When they start dating, things don't go easy on them. When Sam takes her to a ball game, Tess like the game, but when Tess introduces Sam to her international friends, he is not too thrilled. Nonetheless, they marry, but he quickly discovers she is so busy with her profession and that she has no time for him. When she adopts a war orphan without discussing with him, he realizes a drastic step must be taken, because she has no idea of being a wife and mother.

There are some very funny scenes in the movie; one of my favorite is when Tess drives back to Sam's apartment while he is sleeping; she decides to prove herself as a wife and a good cook. Using a recipe book she prepares his breakfast, which awakens Sam, and he silently watches as everything goes wrong for Tess, she breakdown when coffeepot and waffle iron both overflow, and the kitchen get messy. Sam then embraces her and says he doesn't want to change her; he merely wants their marriage to come first. The ending is somewhat discomforting for modern day feminists as it sounds too anti-family to be an independent professional woman. After all, this movie was made for audience of the year 1942, and they wouldn't have a liked it any other way than a woman learns a lesson, finally, that she has to be a caring wife, and not just a professional journalist and a political activist.

1. Spencer Tracy / Katharine Hepburn - Signature Collection : Keeper Of The Flame / Woman Of The Year / Adams Rib / Pat And Mike (4 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
2. Spencer Tracy And Katharine Hepburn Collection [DVD]
3. State Of The Union [DVD] [1948]
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on 8 June 2016
They really don't make them like this anymore!! Absolutely superb performances by two of the greatest stars of the golden age of film making.

Great story, wonderful chemistry between Hepburn and Tracy. I heartily recommend!!
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on 31 August 2015
very good
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on 20 April 2015
Not good
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