Today I've spent the better part of my day watching Katharine Hepburn movies. I started with Stage Door (1937) then The Philadelphia Story (1940), Pat and Mike (1952) and now Woman of the Year (1942).
I love Katharine Hepburn. In her movies she always seemed to play the hard-headed, take all risks, pre-Feminism feminist, stand on her own two hands type of woman. In her life she'd battled against the big boys of the Film Industry and won more times than she lost. She was outspoken, brash, crude, athletic, lithe, sharp tongued and seemed glamorous even when being foolish.
What's bothering me is her relationship with Spencer Tracy. Here is a woman who seemed to have it all and all was hers for the having and yet she devoted the better part of her life to a man she could never have. Knowing Tracy, a devout Catholic, would never divorce his wife she still seemed content to be the other woman, second fiddle, the never-would-be. A lot of people look at the Tracy/Hepburn affair as one of the greatest love stories ever told and yet I have to wonder why? True, they were in love but it was a love kept in a closet of sorts. And she seemed content with that. Why? Why not let yourself have all you can in love? Why did she settle for meek, dark cornered, submissive love when she deserved brash, outspoken, hard-headed, light-of-day love?
Maybe for Hepburn having just a part of happiness was better than none at all. As I get older I have to wonder if it's better to settle and compromise to get a part of happiness or stick to my guns and risk no happiness at all.