“Alice Adams” (1935) starring Katharine Hepburn  » Movies  »
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  • The list of actors and directors who worked at RKO features the best to have worked in Hollywood

    • by tfedge

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      The 1935 “Alice Adams” was produced in black and white by RKO. The movie is based on the novel by Booth Tarkington. “Alice Adams” runs 99 minutes which is a little too long as parts are slow. The beginning twenty minutes and the ending twenty minutes make the movie more than worthwhile however. Gee Whiz!

      climbing young woman who is ashamed of her family, life, and home. Alice Adams is only at all likeable in comparison to her mother, played by long-time character Ann Shoemaker. Their ambitions plague head of the household Virgil Adams (played by Fred Stone), an honest man who is finally nagged into acting against his moral standards by his wife. Despite her pretensions she manages to find a man who loves her

      as she is, not as she wants to be.

      Katharine Hepburn in “Alice Adams” is not the mature, adult woman she became in later movies in the 1940s and 1950s when she starred as one of Hollywood’s top actress opposite Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, and Cary Grant. Nor is she the older, wise, sophisticated woman she became in later years when she starred opposite John Wayne in “Rooster Cogburn” and opposite Henry Fonda in “On Golden Pond.” In “Alice Adams” Katharine Hepburn is a young beautiful woman, she was twenty-eight when it was released, who seems frightfully small when dancing with Fred McMurray. Hepburn won four Oscars as best actress. First in 1934 for the RKO production of “Morning Glory,” then in 1968 and 1969 for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “The Lion in Winter.” In 1981 she won her final award for “On Golden Pond.” In between the first and last win she had eight nominations. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) lists her as having won twenty-five awards and twenty-seven other nominations.

      Fred McMurry is probably best known to Baby Boomers as Steve Douglas in the long-running television show “My Three Sons.” Before that he was a staple in movies beginning in 1929. He appeared in the ilm noir classics such as “Double Indemnity” in 1944). McMurry played a feature role as Lt. Keefer, the taciturn would-be writer who instigates mutiny against Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) in the 1954 “The Caine Mutiny.”

      George Stevens won two Academy Awards for Best Director.

      He won for the 1951 “A Place in the Sun” starring Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters, and Montgomery Clift. In 1957 he won for “Giant” starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean. Other nominations include one of my favorite westerns, “Shane” starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, and Van Heflin.

      Alice Adams” was produced by RKO Pictures. Radio-Keith-Orpheum pictures was one of the big five studios during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Katharine Hepburn was under contract to RKO throughout the 1930s where she starred in such movies as “A Bill of Divorcement,” “Little Women,” and “Morning Glory.” The list of actors and directors who worked at RKO features the best to have worked in Hollywood.

      The movie “Alice Adams” was nominated for an Academy Award as

      Best Picture. It lost out to “Mutiny on the Bounty” featuring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable. Katharine Hepburn was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar but fell short to Bette Davis in “Dangerous.”

      When Alice first talks about Arthur Russell (Fred McMurry) her mother asks if he wasn’t engaged to the Lamb girl. Alice responds, “he didn’t seem like an engaged man to me. At least, not so terribly.”

      The dinner seen is both sad and amusing. Katharine Hepburn struggles to save the dinner, served in great heat by the reluctant, hired-for-the evening maid. Meanwhile Fred McMurry sweats mightily throughout.

      I liked this movie, but more for the historical perspective of a young Katharine Hepburn than for the movie itself. I give the movie an 85% or a B.

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