Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures
Distributor: RKO Radio Pictures
Top Billed Actors: Katharine Hepburn, Fred MacMurray, Fred Stone
IMDb Rating: 7.0
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 0 Oscars
Nominated for 2 more:
Best Actress - Katharine Hepburn
Plot: A lower-middle-class woman finds a man who loves her and returns the favor by continually lying to him about her family.
And boy did the spotlight shine bright. Hepburn single-handedly carries this movie from start to finish. She completely understands how to interact with each member of her family and with her romantic interest. She has a different air about her when in conversation with each character. It is most fun to see her relationship with her brother, played by Frank Albertson. Albertson doesn't have a big role, but he is downright funny in the few moments he has. This is also the second movie to have the score composed by Max Steiner. It is not as good as The Informer (1935), but it does the job. There are a few instances where the music appears to be the score, but is then shown as source music (either on a record or live musicians in a restaurant). There is also a sequence with no music at all, which is very effective for the scene. I am referring to the very awkward dinner with Hepburn, her love interest, and her parents. Hepburn's constant lies about her family leads to this dramatic night, and the heat of the night becomes palpable in the awkward silence.
Fortunately and unfortunately, this movie is merely a vehicle to demonstrate Hepburn's talent. Other than the aforementioned Albertson, there are no other acting performances to note. On the contrary, the love interest, played by Fred MacMurray, and the father, played by Fred Stone, are not very good at all. MacMurray has no charisma and is trampled in in every scene with Hepburn. Stone seems to remember his lines in chunks and can't pull his weight in nearly every scene (although he is great in the dinner near the conclusion). It's a shame the acting is not up to snuff, because the plot isn't riveting to make up for it. After Hepburn and MacMurray fall in love, the only thing driving the story is having MacMurray figure out the truth. The conclusion is predictable, contrived, and uninspired.
Overall, Hepburn's performance lets this film tread water long enough before the other actors and the unimaginative story pulls it under. The atmosphere of the final dinner scene is real enough to not let it drown.
My Score: 6/10