Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Kate and Maggie at the BFI

The British Film Institute is now doing a two part retrospective on Katharine Hepburn during February and March, but in fact are showing about half of her output - 27 titles out of 52!  
The Maggie Smith two-parter was about similar, but included all her main items (apart from DEATH ON THE NILE), 
but then, apart from her acknowledged classics, Smith did a lot of lesser stuff one does not need to see now (KEEPING MUM anyone? or that feeble 2012 QUARTET). The BFI also showed the contents of that MAGGIE SMITH AT THE BBC boxset: their "Plays of the Month" THE MILLIONAIRESS, SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (plus MEMENTO MORI) and those 1960s interviews with her and Kenneth Williams. Great to see again her sparring with Rex Harrison, Burton, Rod Taylor, and working for Susan Hayward (THE HONEYPOT, left) like she did with Bette, below, and her star turns in ROOM WITH A VIEWTHE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE etc - as per reviews at Smith label. 
The Hepburn retro covers all the usual main titles, ignoring her lesser seen ones now - surely her 1944 DRAGON SEED where she plays an Eurasian is worth discovering now? (but as my pal Daryl says "There are movies that are better forgotten") - review of it at Hepburn label. But none of her offbeat choices in the '70s: the flop MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT, Cacoyannis's THE TROJAN WOMEN in 1971, or A DELICATE BALANCE where she is teamed with Scofield in Edward Albee in '73; and none of her later work after ON GOLDEN POND - do we really need to see that again or GUESS WHO'S .... I like some of her later TV films - that Cukor THE CORN IS GREEN set in Wales, in 1978 - or the amusing LAURA LANSING SLEPT HERE; still, it may be nice to go see SUMMERTIME and THE LION IN WINTER on the big screen again, and as for the extended run of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, I just don't like it that much! 


  1. Both sound fascinating. Having just spent the last year following a wonderful series called A Year with Kate on the blog The Film Experience and re-watching all her films, except the elusive Grace Quigley which remains the only one of her films I'm missing, there are surely ones worth seeing again, Holiday-my personal fave, Lion in Winter and many others however the ghastly Dragon Seed isn't one of them. It would be in my bottom three of her films along with the horrendous Iron Petticoat and my choice for her worst, Spitfire. I adore her version of The Corn is Green and think it's far superior to the Bette Davis take on it.

    For Maggie there's lots of great stuff but would love to see The V.I.P.S and The Honey Pot with my beloved Susan Hayward on the big screen.

  2. The Honeypot is on dvd and is fascinating now, Rex in his element, Maggie on the rise, slinky Capucine and funny Edie Adams. Susan only has a few scenes, her husband back in Georgia died while she was on location in Venice, and old pal Mankiewicz may have shortened her part and released her early so she coud return home. Its really her last major movie apart from that legendary role as Helen Lawson in Valley of the Dolls ! We love Susan here too, I did as a kid, relishing her in those 20th Century Fox adventure dramas ....

  3. I know that Kate blog and look it on it regularly. Terrific stuff.